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Epica Guide Series

Singapore Personal Income Tax Guide

Know more about personal taxation regime in Singapore. All your questions answered here.

Singapore'sincome tax rules and regulations make it one of the most lucrative destinations for the business community. Singapore’s law offers various incometax incentive at the corporate and individual level, based on a progressive structure. So, one must ask,what are those incometax inventive? which type of income is taxable? And does these laws affect the residents of Singapore only? What if you are a non-resident in Singapore, how then the incometax laws apply to you?All these and many other questions will be addressed in the ensuing paragraphs.

This article will answer all possible queries about Singapore's personal income tax rate, rules and regulations. So, once you have read through this article, you will have all the information on Singapore's personal income tax system in detail.

Singapore Personal Income Tax Rate

Singapore offers one of the lowest Personal income tax rates in the world. If you want to determine the income tax liability of a person in Singapore, you are required to determine the tax residency and the amount of assessable income first and then apply the resident Singapore personal incometax rate to it. Some key points to understand the personal income tax rate in Singapore are as under:

  • Below S$320,000 annual income, Singapore follows a progressive resident tax rate varying between 0 – 22 %.
  • Singapore has no inheritance tax or capital gain tax.
  • Personal income tax applies to the income of the individual that he has earned in Singapore. The income that has been acquired by the individual while working outside Singapore is not subject to the personal income tax barring few exceptions.
  • Depending upon the tax residency, rules for Personal Income Tax rate for an individual may differ.
  • Personal Income Tax is calculated on the basis of the preceding year.
  • April 15 is the due date for the individuals to file their personal income tax files in Singapore.

Basic Concept - Glossary of Personal Income Tax Terms

Personal Income Tax - Year of Assessment

In order to understand the Singapore Personal Income Tax system in a better way, it is imperative to learn about the basic terminologies, correspondence and the functions that are directly related to the tax system. Below is a list of the terms that help you understand the personal income tax system in Singapore.

Year of Assessment

The period of one year in which income tax is calculated and charged is called 'Year of Assessment' (YA). The assessment is done for the income that has been earned in the preceding year commencing on 1 Jan and culminating on 31 Dec.

Example: For instance, for YA 2019, the income that has been earned between 1 Jan 2018 and 31 Dec 2018 will be assessed.

Personal Income Tax - Basis period

Basis period

An income period which is relevant to the YA is called ‘Basis Period.’ The basis period is always for the year preceding YA.

Example: For instance, the basis period for YA 2019 will be the period of time from 1 Jan 2018 to 31 Dec 2018.

The basis period may be different if you receive business income , and your accounts have been established for a date other than 31 Dec.

Case 1. Employment Income

Mr. X has an employment income from 1 Jan to 31 Dec 2018. Therefore, the basis period for this would from 1 Jan to 31 Dec 2018. Consequently, it will be calculated in the year of assessment (YA) 2019.

Case 2. Business Income

Mr. Y is the owner of a business and a sole proprietor. His financial year ends at 31 Mar 2018. The basis period for his business income will be 1 Apr 2017 to 31 Mar 2018; therefore, will be assessed in the YA 2019.

Personal Income Tax - Notice of Assessment

Notice of Assessment (NOA)

The term Notice of Assessment indicates your incometax bill. It depicts the type of income and the amount of income that is subjected to Tax. It calculates the incometax amount that you are required to pay, the deductions (like expenses, donations, reliefs) given, and the credit balance that is expected to be refunded to you.

Assessable Income

Personal Income Tax - Assessable Income

The total income that remains after the deduction of allowable expenses and approved donationsis called ‘Assessable income.' The total income comprises:

  • trade income of the accounting year
  • employment incomeand / or
  • other incomes like royalties, commission and rental income etc.
  • Example
    • Employment income is the net amount that remains after deducting the employment expenses.
    • The property income is the net amount that remains after deduction of the related expenses.

Personal Income Tax - Personal Reliefs

Personal Reliefs

The deductions which help you in saving tax are referred to as 'Personal reliefs.' The reliefs and rebates are applicable only if:

  • You are resident of Singapore and a tax resident
  • You meet the conditions that are required to be eligible for personal reliefs

IRAS offers many reliefs like, working mother relief, Educational Courses Relief, Donation Relief, Handicapped Child relief etc. The detailed list of these reliefs for personal income tax is available on the IRAS website.

Personal Income Tax - Chargeable income

Chargeable income

The part of income that remains after the deductionof personal reliefs and is assessable is called ‘Chargeable Income.

What is Taxable and Non-Taxable Income?

Every type of income that has been earned or generated in Singapore is liable to Personal Income Tax in Singapore. Generally , the income that is collected from overseas is not liable to personal income tax since after 1 Jan 2004barring a few exceptional circumstances.

Sources of Income

Personal Income Tax - Sources of Income

Income earned in Singapore that is liable to personal income tax may come from various resources as mentioned below:

  • Employment
  • Property or Investments
  • Trade, Business, Profession or Vocationand
  • Other Sources of income like annuities, royalties, winnings or estate or trust income,etc.

Income tax on income from Employment

Personal Income Tax - Employment income
  • Salary, Bonus, Director's Fee, Commission and Others
  • Gains from the Exercise of Stock Options
  • Income Received from Overseas
  • Pension
  • Retrenchment and Retirement Benefits

Income tax on income from Trade, Vocation , Business, or Profession

Personal Income Tax - Trade, Vocation, Business, or Profession
  • Income earned as a self-employed person or a sole proprietor like commission agent, freelancer, taxi driver, hawker etc.
  • Income earned and received in shape of the virtual currencyReceived inthe Form of Virtual Currencies
  • Income earned and received from abroad
  • Income earned and received through partnership

Income tax on income received in shape of Government Grants

Personal Income Tax - Government Grants
  • Wage Credit Payout
  • Special Employment Credit
  • PIC Bonus

When the payouts are received, these grants by the government are taxable in the Year of Assessment. Only PIC Bonus and Wage Credit Payout will be auto-included in the tax return for self-employed taxpayers.

Income Tax on income earned from the property and Investments

Personal Income Tax - Property and Investments
  • Dividends
  • Interest
  • Rent from Property
  • Gains from Shares, Sale of Property & Financial Instruments

Other Taxable Income Sources

Personal Income Tax - Other Taxable Sources
  • Annuity (recurring annual payments)
  • Estate / Trust Income
  • Charge (alimony, maintenance payments…)
  • Royalty
  • National Service Recognition Award (NSRA)
  • Winnings (Toto, 4D...)
  • Withdrawal from Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS)

Personal Income Tax Rate in Singapore

The residents of Singapore are taxed as per the progressive resident income tax rate mentioned below. It is mandatory for a resident to file a personal income tax or the resident tax if the income is more than S$22,000 a year. If the annual income is less than S$22,000, you are not liable to pay any tax. However, you may have to file a tax return if informed by the Singapore tax authorities to do so.

Singapore Personal Income Tax Rate Chart

Chargeable Income

Rate (%)

Gross incomeTax ($)

On the first 20,000

On the next 10,000





On the first 30,000

On the next 10,000





On the first 40,000

On the next 40,000





On the first 80,000

On the next 40,000





On the first 120,000

On the next 40,000





On the first 160,000

On the next 40,000





On the first 200,000

On the next 40,000





On the first 240,000

On the next 40,000





On the first 280,000

On the next 40,000





On the first 320,000

In excess of 320,000




Personal Income Tax – Singapore Residents

Who is a Tax Resident of Singapore?

As per the Singapore Tax Law, you will be considered as a tax resident in the following cases:

Personal Income Tax - Tax Resident
  • If you have physically stayed or worked in Singapore for at least a period of 183 days or more than it in the tax year.
  • Please note, your visa status – whether you are Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident does not matter here. If as a Singapore citizen you have stayed out of the country for more than 183 days, then you will still be considered as non-resident in Singapore for tax purposes.

How to Determine the Chargeable Income for Personal Income Tax of Residents?

The tax residents of Singapore pay resident tax as per the table given above. However, the income that is subject to taxation, i.e. Chargeable income is determined as under:

Personal Income Tax - Total Income

Total Income includes

  • profitsor gains from carrying on any trade, business,vocation or profession either as a partner in a partnership or sole proprietor
  • profits or gains from employment (any type)
  • Income or gains from the interests, dividends, investment
  • Income or gains from the royalties, rents, premiums and other kind of profits arising from the properties
  • Exclude the income that has been gained overseas

What do Expenses include?

The qualified expenses related to the employment

The qualified expenses related to the rent

What do Donations include?

Amount given to the charitable institutions that are qualified as per the law

What is meant by Personal Relief?

special personal reliefs such as earned income relief, parent relief, eligible course fees, etc.

So, the chargeable income is the income that is adjusted after the deduction has been made ( as shown in the picture above).

Personal Income Tax for Singapore Non-Residents

Personal Income Tax - Non-Residents Personal

If you are a foreigner and have stayed or worked for less than 183 days in Singapore; you are considered as a non-resident for personal tax purposes as per the Singapore Tax Law. So, being a non-resident, you will be taxed as under:

  • If you are in Singapore for short-term, 60 days, or less in a year, your employment income is exempted from tax. This tax exemption does not apply if you are a public entertainer, a director of a company, or are exercising a profession in Singapore. Professionals include foreign speakers, foreign experts, trainers, coaches, consultants, and queen’s consultant.
  • If you stay and work in Singapore for a period between 61 days to 182 days in a year, you will be liable to pay tax. However, you can claim donations and expenses to save upon tax. But you are not eligible to claim personal reliefs. Your income will be taxed at a rate of 15% or the progressive resident tax rate (as per the table above), whichever is more in amount.
  • The director fees,consultant fees, remuneration, and all other types of incomes are charged with the personal income tax rate of 15% to 22%.

Filing of the Personal Income Tax Returns

It is an obligation for every eligible taxpayer to file a Personal Income Tax return. All the documents and completed incometax returns are to be submitted with Singapore tax authority by April 15 every year.

Personal Income Tax - Filing Tax Returns

The residents of Singapore are taxed as per the progressive resident tax rate mentioned below. It is mandatory for a resident to file a personal income tax or the resident tax if the income is more than S$22,000 a year. If the annual income of yours is less than S$22,000, you are not liable to pay any incometax. However, you may have to declare zero income in your incometax return and submit by due date that is 15 April for filing of hardcopy and 18 April for e filing.

In order to file a Personal Income tax return online, the forms are made available every year by 1 March.

  • Form B1 – For individuals who are tax resident
  • Form B – For self-employed
  • Form M – For the non-residential individuals

For late filing or not filing, you will be subject to penalties. Individuals who do not file the Personal income tax return or do not pay the tax are subjected to legal actions by IRAS.

From May to September, after you have filed your returns, you will receive your Notice of Assessment or tax bill. The amount of incometax that you are required to pay will be indicated in the tax bill. If you donot agree with the amount of tax, you are required to inform the tax authorities within 30 days of the issuance of the tax bill alongwith the reason for objection.

After receiving your Notice of Assessment, you are required to pay the full amount of incometax within the 30 days regardless of the fact that you have file an objection or not. Any incometax that is outstanding after 30 days is liable to penalty.

IRAS also allows to pay taxes in installment by a GIRO arrangement. In this case your tax will be deducted from your bank account in 12 monthly installments.

Personal Income Tax on the Income Earned Overseas

As per Singapore law, any income received in Singapore on and after 1 Jan 2004 is not taxable. This includes the overseas income that is paid in a Singapore bank account. You are not required to declare anyforeign income that is not taxable in Singapore.

Personal Income Tax - Overseas Earned

However, there are few exceptions as mentioned below when the overseas income is liable to tax:

  • If the income is received in Singapore through the partnerships that are based in Singapore.
  • Your overseas employment is because of your actual employment in Singapore. That is, you have to travel overseas as part of your work / employment in Singapore.
  • You are an overseas employee on behalf of the Singapore Government.

You are required to disclose the qualified taxable overseas income under the employment or other income, whichever is applicable.

Income Tax Rate on Employment Benefits – Fringe Benefits

Unless specifically exempted from income tax or are covered by an existing administrative concession, profits and gains derived by you in respect of your employment are taxable. This include all perks and benefits whether in cash or otherwise, paid or given to you in respect of your employment. Examples of taxable benefits that are received from the employer are mentioned below.

Personal Income Tax - Fringe Benefits
  • Housing and accommodation allowance
  • Car that has been provided by the employer
  • Reimbursements of dental and medical treatments of your dependent other than your immediate family (your spouse and children)
  • Payments received for overtime
  • Per Diem allowance: an allowance that is given to the employees on overseas trips, out of Singapore, for business purposes, if the amount exceeds acceptable rates
  • Mileage that is reimbursed on private cars and the fixed monthly allowance for transport
  • Monthly fixed allowance for meal

Note: For executives,a properly structured compensation package (i.e., salary plus benefits in kind) can reduce their individual incometax liability in Singapore. Because some of the non-cash benefits (e.g. accommodations) are taxed using special formulas thus resulting in a lower taxation on these benefits-in-kind.

Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax, andEstate Duty

The investment income that is accrued in relation to real assets like financial assets (shares, bonds), property and intangible assets like goodwill is called Capital Gains. Singapore does not levy capital gains tax.

The tax that is paid on the financial estate that you leave behind after death is called Estate Duty in Singapore. Since 2008, estate duty has been abolished by the Singapore Government.
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