Taxman pulls in $52.4b in FY2018/19, up 4.4% from year ago

Going forward, analysts expect tax collection, in areas such as corporate income tax and stamp duties for property sales, to slow given the current economic slowdown. ST FILE PHOTO
Going forward, analysts expect tax collection, in areas such as corporate income tax and stamp duties for property sales, to slow given the current economic slowdown. ST FILE PHOTO

Taxpayers, both corporate and individual, contributed more to the Government's coffers on the back of a healthy economic expansion last year, but economists caution that the pace could moderate for this year.

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) collected $52.4 billion in taxes in the fiscal year 2018/19, 4.4 per cent more than a year earlier, according to its annual report released yesterday.

Iras chairman Tan Ching Yee said: "Singapore's economy expanded by 3.1 per cent in 2018 and unemployment rate remained low at 2.1 per cent. The favourable economic performance contributed to higher tax collections in FY2018/19, which will support the Government's programmes."

Iras' collection accounted for 71.1 per cent of government operating revenue. This amount represented 10.6 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic product, or economic output.

Going forward, CIMB Private Banking economist Song Seng Wun expects tax collection, in areas such as corporate income tax and stamp duties for property sales, to slow given the current economic slowdown.

Singapore has slashed its full-year growth forecast to zero to 1 per cent, the slowest growth rate in a decade.

OCBC economist Selena Ling said: "Given the onset of the US-China trade war from July 2018 and the escalation one year on, global growth prospects and business and consumer confidence have been increasingly impacted. As such, the tax collection pace may moderate further."

The bulk of Singapore's tax revenue comes from income tax, comprising corporate income tax, individual income tax and withholding tax. It amounted to $29.4 billion, or 56 per cent of Iras' collection for the 12 months ended March 31.

Income tax grew 7.9 per cent over the previous fiscal year.

Individual income tax collection rose 9.2 per cent to $11.7 billion due to the introduction of an overall relief cap of $80,000 per year of assessment (YA) in YA2018 and the cessation of one-off personal tax rebate in YA2017.

Corporate income tax climbed 7.3 per cent to $16.1 billion year on year.

 

The next biggest category of tax revenue was the goods and services tax, which made up 21 per cent of the total collection. It increased by a slight 1.6 per cent to $11.1 billion, in line with the growth observed in private consumption expenditure in 2018.

More taxpayers in Singapore earned more than a million dollars for the period.

The number of those earning assessable income above $1 million rose 6.9 per cent to 5,600. Their combined assessable income was $10 billion, and they paid about $2.03 billion in income tax.

Another 18,491 people had an assessed income of $500,000 to $1 million each, up from 18,141 the previous year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 03, 2019, with the headline 'Taxman pulls in $52.4b in FY2018/19, up 4.4% from year ago'. Print Edition | Subscribe