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$41.6 billion – record high amount of taxes collected

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In its annual report for the Financial Year (FY) 2013/14, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) has announced a record tax collection of S$41.6 billion.

This is 0.5 per cent higher than what the IRAS collected in the last financial year.

Several factors have contributed to the rise in collection, including on-time tax returns by taxpayers, levies on consumption, property taxes and stamp duties, the Goods and Services Tax (GST), and “sin” taxes from gambling.

Also, tax arrears fell to a record low of just 0.77 per cent of the total net tax assessed.

“On-time tax filing improved from 94% to 95.6% for individuals, and 80.9% to 82.5% for companies. More GST-registered businesses also filed their tax returns on time, with a high on-time filing rate of 93.9%,” the IRAS said in a statement on Monday.

It added:

“IRAS’ continual efforts to make things simple and convenient for taxpayers have helped raise the voluntary compliance level of Singapore’s taxpayers. IRAS expanded the No-Filing Service (NFS) to 1.23 million taxpayers, including 15,000 first-time taxpayers, for the 2014 tax filing season.”

Despite the record collections, there were nonetheless declines in collections in other areas, namely in corporate, individual and withholding taxes:

-          Corporate income tax fell 1.1 per cent to S$12.7 billion

-          Individual income tax fell 0.4 per cent to S$7.7 billion

-          Withholding tax dropped 13.8 per cent to S$1.15 billion

Here are some other key numbers:

-          GST collection grew 5.3 per cent to S$9.5 billion

-          Property tax grew 10.6 per cent to S$4.2 billion

-          Stamp duty fell by 8.8 per cent to S$3.9 billion

-          “Sin” taxes (4-D, Toto, Big Sweep) rose 3.2 per cent to S$2.4 billion.

The IRAS also reported that more people have made it to the million-dollar club, with 4,231 earning assessable income of more than S$1 million, a rise from the 4,220 people who made the cut last year.

This group of people contributed S$1.48 billion in taxes from their combined income of S$8.04 billion.

IRAS said its efforts to simplify the system for taxpayers to pay their taxes have resulted in a rise of voluntary compliance. Still, some 15, 233 non-compliant cases were discovered by the tax authority which recovered about S$387 million in taxes and penalties.

“While we actively promote voluntary compliance, we continue to deter non-compliance and establish a strong presence,” IRAS said. “By balancing tough measures to recover outstanding taxes with softer methods to encourage voluntary compliance, we help the majority of taxpayers in Singapore pay their fair share of taxes. Through these measures, we seek to maintain the public’s trust in IRAS as a strong and fair tax authority.”