Enhanced IRAS-Tax Agent Relationship Framework

IRAS recognises tax agents as our partners in administering the Singapore tax system and in facilitating tax compliance. As tax agents work closely with their clients, they also glean valuable insights into the business needs and concerns of their clients. They serve as a valuable channel of feedback for IRAS in the formulation and refinement of tax policies and practices.

Given that IRAS and tax agents share the same objectives of encouraging maximum voluntary tax compliance and facilitating business growth and wealth through sound and effective tax policies, IRAS has formulated the Enhanced IRAS-Tax Agent Relationship Framework to support closer partnership and collaboration between tax agents and IRAS, particularly in the area of training and improving the competence of tax agents.

Principles and Strategies

The Enhanced IRAS-Tax Agent Relationship Framework is built on 3 principles:

  1. Mutually beneficial – Both parties stand to gain from the enhanced relationship.
  2. Balanced – Both parties are committed towards enhancing the relationship and achieving the common goals of the partnership. Both parties contribute towards the success of the relationship.
  3. Underpinned by openness, transparency and trust – Both parties should be open and transparent in their practices and dealings with each other, and trust that neither will attempt to exploit the other’s vulnerabilities when such areas are exposed.

It is supported by these 4 strategies:

  1. Profiling Tax Agents – Understanding Tax Agent’s practices and needs
  2. Facilitating Growth of Competence – Improving Tax Agent’s capabilities
  3. Improving Communication and Service – Enable greater value to be delivered to taxpayers and Tax Agents
  4. Consulting and Collaborating – Facilitate Tax Agent’s greater contribution to the tax system

Both IRAS and tax agents can take the following actions towards fulfilling these strategies:

Strategy Actions by IRAS Actions by Tax Agents
a. Profiling Tax Agents

IRAS will improve its understanding of Tax Agents’ businesses and needs through:

  • Setting up a Tax Agent Database, which is a repository of business profile of Tax Agents
  • With this database, email updates and latest tax information can be disseminated to Tax Agents easily
  • Participate in this initiative by completing this form (PDF, 74KB) and emailing it to us at [email protected]
b. Facilitating Growth of Competence IRAS will assist Tax Agents in improving their capabilities by conducting seminars and workshops for Tax Agents.
  • Recognise the importance of training and set aside time and budget for constant upgrading of own technical competency
  • Keep up-to-date with tax changes and developments
c. Improving Communication and Service 

IRAS will aid Tax Agents in delivering greater value to their clients by:

  • Maintaining a Tax Agent webpage for easier access to information and improve depth and breadth of information available to Tax Agents
  • Facilitating use of digital services
  • Improving service delivery to Tax Agents
  • Be receptive to and take up new digital services
  • Take part in pilot testing of digital services to help improve digital services
d. Consulting and Collaborating

IRAS will actively engage Tax Agents on the following via surveys, consultations and focus group sessions:

  • Designing of policies
  • Refining of rules
  • Crafting of legislation
  • Provide inputs on tax rules and policies through consultation documents, focus groups, etc.
  • Be proactive in engaging IRAS in resolving technical or compliance issues

Expectations of IRAS and Tax Agents under the Enhanced IRAS-Tax Agent Relationship Framework

IRAS Tax Agents
  • Recognise that Tax Agents have a commercial relationship with their clients and will always put their clients first
  • Handle tax matters with fairness and integrity
  • Be competent and act ethically and professionally when dealing with Tax Agents and taxpayers
  • Conduct their practice with integrity
  • Be competent and act ethically and professionally in providing quality service and advice to their clients
  • Provide tax advice within the letter and the spirit of the tax laws
  • Be compliant in their own tax matters

Consequences of Non-Compliance by Tax Agents

IRAS will not hesitate to take action against errant accountants or tax agents who are non-compliant in their own tax matters or provide objectionable tax advice to their clients. Heavy penalties will be imposed for assisting others to defraud the Government or citizens.

Examples of past cases concerning non-compliance by tax agents and the actions taken by IRAS include:

S/N Date Summary
1 Jun 2019 Tax agent to pay more than $80,000 in fines and penalties for assisting client in avoiding GST registration
2 Apr 2015  CPA sentenced to 6 Weeks' Jail for Tax Evasion 
3 Apr 2012 CPA fined for under-reporting income
4 Feb 2011 First CPA charged for assisting company to evade tax
5 Apr 2009 First practising Certified Public Accountant jailed for tax evasion

Contacting IRAS

Tax agents who require assistance can contact IRAS via one of the following channels:

To facilitate communication between IRAS and the tax agents, please provide the direct number of the tax advisor and/or tax manager handling the tax matters concerned in your correspondences with IRAS. This will help our officers respond to the right contact in the relevant tax agent firm.

Accreditation for Tax Professionals

Singapore Institute of Accredited Tax Professionals (SIATP), the first accreditation body for tax professionals in Singapore, was set up in year 2010 by the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) in partnership with the Tax Academy of Singapore. The body celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2020 with a new milestone of being an independent body and is now known as the Singapore Chartered Tax Professionals Limited (SCTP). SCTP (formerly known as SIATP) aims to promote the standards of tax practice and raise the technical competence and capability of tax professionals.

IRAS partners SCTP to improve industry standards and we collaborate on seminars and dialogue sessions to discuss tax policies and issues. For example, the SCTP's SME Tax Committee, which focuses on tax-related issues of SMEs, represents SCTP in regular discussions with IRAS on initiatives, consultations and clarifications that SMEs and their tax consultants may face in the areas of tax compliance and administrative procedures. In addition, certain tax compliance initiatives under IRAS, such as the Assisted Compliance Assurance Programme (ACAP) and Assisted Self-help Kit (ASK), can only be performed by SCTP accredited tax professionals.

Tax professionals who have acquired the necessary training and practical experience may apply to SCTP for accreditation. Accredited tax professionals can enjoy greater professional recognition and more opportunities for skills development through priority access to SCTP's events and a wide range of courses by different organisations. Accredited tax professionals also have exclusive access to SCTP's technical articles, research services and IRAS’ collection of tax resources, as well as opportunities to network with other accredited tax professionals.

Learn more about SCTP's programmes at their website. You may also refer to SCTP's online directory for a list of accredited tax professionals.

Corresponding with IRAS during COVID-19

Due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, IRAS and tax agents are implementing telecommuting. As a result, there may be delays in sending/ receiving hardcopy letters.

To ensure taxpayers and tax agents representing them can continue to communicate with IRAS in a timely and secure manner, IRAS has put in place additional temporary arrangements to enable electronic communications between IRAS and tax agents during COVID-19. Learn more about the additional arrangements (PDF, 480KB).

Information on Filing Matters

Corporate Income Tax Introduction to Corporate Income Tax
GST Introduction to GST
Individual Income Tax Introduction to Individual Income Tax
Property Tax Introduction to Property Tax
Stamp Duty Introduction to Stamp Duty