Total income tax – comprising corporate income tax, personal income tax and withholding tax – accounted for more than half (57%) of the total collection. The S$30.8 billion collected in the 19/20 financial year was 4.8% more than the total income tax in the previous year.
Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection for the 2019/20 financial year increased “slightly” by 0.2% to S$11.2 billion. The GST accounted for 21% of total tax revenue.
READ: Consumption taxes like the GST are needed to reduce the burden on workers in an aging population: Indranee
While property tax collection has increased, stamp duty collection has fallen by almost 9%. IRAS attributed this to a decrease in the number of real estate transactions.
“The cost of tax collection has been kept to less than one cent, at 0.78 cents for every dollar collected,” IRAS said.
“The tax arrears rate remained low at 0.79%. Current year arrears for income tax, GST and property tax fell to S$357 million, compared to S$373 million for the financial year 2018/19.”
SUPPORT DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
IRAS said it continued to support the government in its administration of assistance programs – the wage credit scheme, the employment support scheme, the government cash grant and the growth incentive for employment. Through these programs, S$18 billion in grants have been disbursed so far this year.
These grants “help businesses and Singaporeans through this time of economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19,” IRAS said.
In its report, the tax authority also drew attention to an increasing use of digital services to “make paying taxes more transparent and hassle-free”.
IRAS said for last year’s tax assessment, around 1,600 taxi and private car hire drivers used a chat drop-off system involving question-and-answer forms with “conversational language”. , as well as interactive chatbots.
“The conversational approach to chat filing helps simplify the e-filing process for less digitally inclined taxpayers…(it) mimics the experience of having an agent walk them through their filing,” said IRAS.
“70% of sample users surveyed found tax filing with the chatbot more intuitive and said they spent 60% less time filing their tax returns.”
IRAS also highlighted several other initiatives aimed at simplifying tax filing: an interactive property tax bill (i-Bill), presented as an “upgrade” to the current electronic bill, as well as a Simpler tax reporting process for companies, the result of an IRAS collaboration with the Accounting and Business Regulation Authority and several accounting software publishers.
About 200,000 businesses are expected to benefit from this initiative, IRAS said.
Going forward, most paper notices and letters will be scanned by default, IRAS added. This will take place from May next year.
“IRAS continues its digital transformation with vigor, driven by our goals of providing taxpayers with excellent service and improving tax compliance,” said Mr. Ng Wai Choong, CEO and Commissioner of Taxation.