The Singapore Income Tax Department was created in 1947 to administer the Income Tax Ordinance enacted during that year.

Actual assessing of tax only began in November 1948. In the first Year of Assessment, about 40,000 individual tax returns and 1,000 corporate returns were received. The total tax collected for the period 1 January 1948 to 31 December 1949 was $33.2 million.

Following self-government in 1959, the Inland Revenue Department was formed in 1960 when various revenues administered and collected by a number of separate agencies were brought together.

When Singapore attained independence on 9 August 1965, substantial changes were made to the Income Tax Act, which came into effect on 1 January 1966.

By 1970, the number of Acts that came under the Department's purview had increased to twelve. That year also saw the appointment of the first local Commissioner, Mr Hsu Tse-Kwang.

From the 1970s, substantial resources were devoted to staff training. In 1972, microfilming was stepped up to save space and reduce file handling. Property tax billing and collection were also computerised.

IRD's ever-expanding role, together with the rapid increase in the number of taxpayers, resulted in an acute staff shortage. There was a very large backlog of tax not assessed and tax not collected. In addition, IRD staff were highly sought after by the private sector because of their specialised training and skills. IRD needed a new direction to overcome this problem.

Incorporation of IRAS

On 1 September 1992, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) was established by legislation as a statutory board under the Ministry of Finance. With this conversion, IRAS was incorporated by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore Act to take over the functions previously performed by the Inland Revenue Department.

The conversion gave IRAS the autonomy and flexibility to manage its personnel and financial resources. In other words, the conversion marked more than a change in name or a change in organisation. It was a change towards achieving excellence in service to the nation and its people in the area of tax administration.

Our Milestones

2019
  • IRAS joins the Bureau of the OECD Forum on Tax Administration (FTA), enabling us to jointly steer the work of the FTA and contribute thought leadership on tax administration matters.


    Our electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS) system is refreshed to provide greater convenience to tourists, by allowing them to use their passports as tokens to make GST refund claims at the self-help kiosks in the airports. 


    Interactive Property Tax Bills (i-Bills) are sent to residential property owners to offer greater convenience, personalisation and seamless payment. 

2018
  • Virtual Assistant “Ask Jamie” on the IRAS website is enabled with Singpass authentication to provide case-specific self-help assistance for taxpayers.


    An interactive on-boarding tool (“New Company Start-up Kit”) is introduced to provide tailored, bite-sized information on corporate tax to new companies.


    Taxpayer and Business Service Centre now houses service counters from ACRA and Enterprise Singapore, as well as provides Corppass application services for a more convenient Whole-of-Government service experience for businesses.


    Ng Wai Choong is appointed as Commissioner of Inland Revenue and Chief Executive Officer of IRAS.


    Singapore’s exchange of information upon request regime has been rated as compliant (the highest overall rating a jurisdiction can achieve) with international tax transparency standards, by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes.

2017
  • IRAS celebrates its 25th anniversary as a statutory board.


    myTax Portal is revamped with Responsive Web Design and user-friendly design features for optimal user experiences on desktop, smartphone and tablet.


    IRAS hosts the 3rd OECD Forum on Tax Administration E-Services & Digital Delivery Workshop and the Brisbane Group Meeting.

2016
  • IRAS embarked on a transformation movement by Leveraging Analytics, Design and Digitalisation (LEA:D) with the aim of transforming the experiences of both the taxpaying community and our staff.


    An enterprise-wide Social Network Analysis tool is implemented to enhance IRAS’ compliance and fraud risk assessment capabilities.


    Smartphone filing for individuals to file their income tax returns on-the-go is introduced.


    An inaugural Hackathon is held to co-create tax solutions with the public.

2015
  • e-Filing of Form C for corporate taxpayers is launched.


    Auto-inclusion of commission income is implemented.


    IRAS hosts the 45th Study Group of Asian Tax Administration and Research (SGATAR) Meeting.

2014
  • A Simplified Record-Keeping (SRK) initiative is introduced to help small businesses lower their compliance cost.


    Tan Tee How is appointed as Commissioner of Inland Revenue and Chief Executive Officer of IRAS.

2013
  • IRAS administers the Wage Credit Scheme, which is part of the Transition Support Package announced in Budget 2013.


    Property Tax rates for owner-occupied homes are made more progressive.


    IRAS Facebook Page is launched in March 2013.

2012
  • Simplified Form C (Form C-S), a 3-page income tax return for small companies, is introduced.


    Small companies with turnover not exceeding S$1 million are not required to file their Estimated Chargeable Income (ECI) if it is estimated to be nil.


    Dr. Tan Kim Siew is appointed as Commissioner of Inland Revenue and Chief Executive Officer of IRAS.

2011
  • The electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS), a common electronic platform that reduces the turnaround time for tourists to claim GST refunds, is launched.


    The Assisted Compliance Assurance Programme (ACAP) is launched to help businesses enhance their tax risk management and strengthen GST internal controls.

2010
  • New e-Stamping website is launched for anyone to e-Stamp their documents and pay stamp duty online.


    IRAS and MOF host the Second Meeting of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes in Sep 2010.


    Follow IRAS on Twitter is launched.


    Casino Tax is implemented in Feb 2010.