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Parliamentary Replies

Income of Top One Percent Income Earners In Singapore

12 Nov 2012

Date: 12 November 2012

Parliamentary Question (for Written Reply) by Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song:

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance for each of the past 10 years, what is the average income and total income (including income from employment, trade, dividends, interest, property rental, royalties, estate/trusts and capital gains) of the top 1% of income earners in Singapore.

Reply by DPM and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam:

Data on the incomes of the top 1% of individual income earners is only collected by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). However, individuals are only required to declare income that is taxable in their income tax returns. Income that is not taxable such as capital gains need not be reported to IRAS. 

At different points over the past 10 years, certain types of income have been exempted from tax. Comparison of declared incomes over the 10 years is hence not meaningful, as the income base would in fact differ.

As the main exemptions from tax were introduced prior to Year of Assessment (YA) 2009, incomes from the past 4 years allow for a better comparison.

Based on IRAS’ records, the number of income earners in the top 1% grew from 29,524 in YA 2009 to 32,285 in YA 2012. The average taxable income of this group was $0.7 million in YA 2009 and YA 2012. Please refer to table below for the average income of the top 1% of income earners from YA 2009 to YA 2012. 


Number of individuals in top 1% of income earners

Average Taxable Income of top 1%

YA 2012


$0.7 million

YA 2011


$0.7 million

YA 2010


$0.6 million

YA 2009


$0.7 million