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Parliamentary Replies

Measures Against Insider Gifting of SGX-listed Shares and Unit Trusts to Approved Charities for Tax Deduction

03 Oct 2022

Parliamentary Question by Mr Murali Pillai: 

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance whether the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore has in place procedures and policies to detect and deal with cases of insider gifting that involve gifts of public shares listed on the Singapore Exchange, or of units in unit trusts traded in Singapore, to approved Institutions of Public Character by individuals who possess price sensitive information at the material times to obtain tax deductions.

Parliamentary Reply by Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister for Finance Mr Lawrence Wong:

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) has processes to review high-value donations, including donations of shares and unit trusts, before the tax deductions are applied. Where there is reason to believe that the arrangement leading to the donation was made for the purpose of tax avoidance, including cases involving insider gifting, IRAS will not hesitate to investigate and will work with the relevant agencies such as the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Where appropriate, IRAS will take action under Section 33 of the Income Tax Act, which empowers the Comptroller to disregard or adjust the tax deduction claims, and impose relevant tax surcharges against the donor.

In order to attain Institution of a Public Character (IPC) status, charities must have in place robust internal processes of transparency and accountability. This includes carrying out proper due diligence checks on their donors.