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Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore – Income Tax Department

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore is better known as IRAS. IRAS is part of the statutory board of the Singapore government established under the Ministry of Finance and tasked with being in charge of tax collection.

In 1947, the Singapore Income Tax Department was formed in Singapore to be the administer of the Income Tax Ordinance which was enacted in that same year. Actual assessing of taxes however, only began in November 1948 and in the first year of assessment alone about 40,000 individual tax returns and 1,000 corporate tax returns were received by the department. IRAS collects taxes which account for about 70% of the Singapore Government’s operating revenue, which helps to support the government’s economic and social programs. These taxes help to achieve quality, growth and an inclusive society from which all Singaporeans stand to benefit from. IRAS is also responsible for representing the government in tax treaty negotiations, drafting tax legislations and providing advice on property valuation to the government.

In 1959, self-government took place and the Inland Revenue Department was formed in 1960 when various revenues which were previously administered and collected by a number of separate agencies were brought together. When Singapore achieved independence in 1965, the Income Tax Act saw substantial changes take place, all of which came into effect on the 1st of January 1966.

IRAS was officially established by legislation in Singapore on the 1st of September 1992, as a statutory board under the Ministry of Finance and incorporated by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore Act to take over the functions which were previously the responsibility of the Inland Revenue Department. With this conversion, IRAS was given the autonomy and the flexibility to manage its personnel and its financial resources.

IRAS acts as an agent of the government to provide service in the administration of taxes, and advise the government while at the same time represent Singapore internationally on matters which relate to taxation. IRAS’s mission is to be the leading revenue authority in the world and build a dynamic team of competent and committed people, and to be a partner of the community in nation-building and inclusive growth.

IRAS operates based on five core values, which include:

  • Fostering a competitive tax environment which supports inclusive growth for the country
  • To enhance organizational and staff productivity in Singapore
  • Provide excellent service at all times
  • To maximize voluntary compliance and
  • To achieve a high level of staff competence and satisfaction.

IRAS operates with fairness to everyone, integrity to do right without favour in all circumstances, to act with integrity and to behave professionally to serve the nation responsibly.