Singapore has a territorial system of taxation, where income derived from or accrued in (sourced in) Singapore and income received in Singapore, are exigible to tax. While capital gains are generally not taxable in Singapore, all forms of income are taxable. In practice, this has placed a fair amount of strain on the distinction between income and capital gains, which has seen a good number of cases discussing this issue. From 1 January 2024, some forms of foreign-sourced capital gains received in Singapore will also be exigible to tax.
The headline Singapore Corporate Income Tax rate is 17%, but several concessionary rates do exist, covering situations where certain conditions are met. The Personal Income Tax rate is progressive, increasing in tax bands from 0% to a maximum of 24%. The Income Tax Act 1947 is the main statute governing Income Tax in Singapore, with its provisions covering Corporate Income Tax, Personal Employment Income Tax, Personal Self-Employment Income Tax, the income taxation of trusts and Withholding Tax; all under one single statute.
I co-authored a fairly comprehensive introduction to Singapore Income Tax for the Singapore Academy of Law in 2018, which may be accessed here or at: https://www.singaporelawwatch.sg/About-Singapore-Law/Commercial-Law/ch-28-income-taxation.
One of the main legal reference texts for Income Tax in Singapore is Halsbury’s Laws of Singapore (Vol 16(2): Revenue and Taxation- or at Income Tax), (2020) (LexisNexis), which I worked on with Liu Hern Kuan in 2020.
Other articles and publications relating to Singapore Income Tax which I have worked on in recent years include:
- “The Case for Stronger Scrutiny of the Deductibility of Crypto Losses” (2024) Journal of Tax Administration 1-16 (Forthcoming)
- “Administrative Concessions and the Efficient Taxation of Digital Tokens in Singapore” (2023) 39(2) Banking & Finance Law Review 219-237
- “Personal Service Companies and the Tax Avoidance Surcharge in Singapore” (2023) 44(2) Company Lawyer 59-65 (With Ben Chester Cheong)
- “Tax Challenges in Debt Financing Involving Digital Tokens” (2022) 17(4) Capital Markets Law Journal 564-582
– [Supported by the Tax Academy of Singapore Research Grant]
- “The Taxation of Cryptocurrency Gains” (2021) 75(7) Bulletin for International Taxation 323-333
- “A New Structuring Option for Funds: The Singapore Variable Capital Company” (2021) 42(5) Company Lawyer 177-184
- “The Tax Treatment of Haircuts in Financial Reorganizations” (2020) 27 Revenue Law Journal (With Aurelio Gurrea-Martinez) 1-18
- “Taxing All Other Income in Singapore and Malaysia” (2019) 19(2) Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal 204-226
- “Tax Avoidance by Professionals: Where Are We With Wee Teng Yau?” (2021) Singapore Journal of Legal Studies (Mar) 220-230
- “Philanthropic Giving in Singapore: The Tax Landscape” (2023) 109(5) Tax Notes International 595-599 (With Ow Kim Kit)
- “Singapore’s Special Insolvency Scheme for Small Companies” (2021) 102(8) Tax Notes International 1053-1055 (With Aurelio Gurrea-Martínez)
- “Adapting Taxation for the Digital Economy in Singapore” (2021) 27(1) Asia-Pacific Tax Bulletin 1-10
- “Tax Considerations for Funds Structuring in Asia” (2020) 38(1) Journal of Taxation of Investments 49-62
- “The Anti-Avoidance Response to Professionals Incorporating Companies in Singapore” (2020) 26(2) Asia-Pacific Tax Bulletin 1-9
- “Formulating General Principles in a Difficult Area: Justice Phang and Revenue Law”, in Pursuing Justice and Justice Alone – The Heart and Humanity of Andrew Phang’s Jurisprudence, Goh Yihan (ed) (2022) (Academy Publishing) 423-447
- “Tax Law”, in Law and Technology: The Practice and Content of Law in Singapore, Simon Chesterman, Goh Yihan and Andrew Phang (eds) (2021) (Academy Publishing) 451-473
– [Supported by the National Research Foundation Grant (under the Centre for AI and Data Governance)]
- The Straits Times, 7 October 2022, “Making Singapore a Regional Centre for Philanthropy” (With Ow Kim Kit)
- The Straits Times, 4 June 2022, “Made Crypto Losses? Don’t Assume the Taxman Will Subsidise You” (With Liu Hern Kuan)
- The Straits Times, 20 November 2021, “Making Money from Cryptocurrency? The Taxman May Call On You” (With Liu Hern Kuan)
- The Business Times, 16 December 2020, “Artificially Low Salaries and Tax Dodging” (With Liu Hern Kuan)
- The Business Times, 21 May 2020, “Genuine Incorporation or Tax Avoidance?” (With Liu Hern Kuan)
- The Business Times, 17 November 2018, “Shining a Light on Tax Avoidance” (With Liu Hern Kuan)
- “Business Vehicles”, Lexis Practical Guidance- Singapore Tax, (2017)
- “Partnerships”, Lexis Practical Guidance- Singapore Tax, (2017)