Public Consultation on Proposed Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 202111 Jun 2021
1. The Ministry of Finance is proposing 36 amendments to the Income Tax Act (“ITA”) to (i) effect tax measures announced in the 2021 Budget Statement on 16 February 2021 (12 amendments); and (ii) effect changes arising from our periodic review of our tax system such as to revise existing policies, improve our tax administration or enhance the clarity of existing legislation (24 amendments). The Ministry is seeking public feedback on the draft Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2021 which provides for these amendments.
SCOPE OF THE CONSULTATION
2. The draft Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2021 incorporates 36 proposed legislative amendments to the ITA.
Budget 2021 amendments
3. There are 12 proposed amendments to cater for measures announced by the Deputy Prime Minister and then-Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat, in the 2021 Budget Statement. We invite you to comment on the drafting of the proposed legislation. Salient amendments include the following:
i. Extend three measures for another year to continue providing support for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
• The enhancement to the carry-back relief scheme to allow qualifying deductions to be carried back up to three (instead of one) immediate preceding Years of Assessment (“YA”) will be extended to YA 2021;
• The option to accelerate the write-off of the cost of acquiring plant and machinery (“P&M”) over two years will be extended to capital expenditure incurred on the acquisition of P&M in the basis period for YA 2022 (i.e. Financial Year (“FY”) 2021); and
• The option to claim renovation and refurbishment (“R&R”) deduction in one YA (i.e. accelerated R&R deduction) will be extended to qualifying expenditure incurred on R&R in the basis period for YA 2022 (i.e. FY 2021).
ii. Enhance the Double Tax Deduction for Internationalisation (“DTDi”) scheme. To continue supporting internationalisation efforts of businesses amid changes in the business environment, the proposed amendments will enhance the scope of the DTDi scheme to cover more expenses (e.g. qualifying expenses incurred to participate in approved virtual trade fairs). The proposed amendments will also allow expenses for more activities to qualify for 200% tax deduction without prior approval from Enterprise Singapore or the Singapore Tourism Board up to the current annual expense cap of $150,000.
iii. Extend the 250% Tax Deduction for Qualifying Donations. To continue encouraging Singaporeans to give back to the community, the 250% tax deduction for qualifying donations made to Institutions of a Public Character and other qualifying recipients will be extended for another two years, i.e. for donations made during the period 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2023 (both dates inclusive).
4. There are 24 other proposed amendments arising from the periodic review of Singapore’s income tax system. We invite you to comment on the proposed changes and the drafting of the proposed legislation, which will give effect to these policy changes.
5. These proposed amendments include the following:
i. Amend Section 6 to allow persons authorised by IRAS to have access to necessary IRAS records and/or documents for the audit of the administration of public schemes specified in the Ninth Schedule of the ITA. The proposed amendment seeks to allow IRAS to extend access of legislatively protected data to authorised persons, including non-public servants such as private sector auditors, to perform the necessary audits (e.g. on allotment and disbursement files, IRAS’ IT systems) to ensure proper and accurate administration of public schemes listed in the Ninth Schedule (e.g. the Jobs Support Scheme, Wage Credit Scheme).
ii. Provide the tax treatment for cases where trading stock is appropriated for non-trade or capital purposes, and where non-trade or capital asset becomes trading stock.
• Singapore’s tax system has an income tax but not a capital gains tax. Thus, gains that are of a revenue nature are subject to income tax. Conversely, gains that are of a capital nature are not taxed. Likewise, tax deductions are allowed only for losses of a revenue nature, but not for losses of a capital nature.
• At times, trading stock held by taxpayers may be appropriated for non-trade or capital purposes. Conversely, non-trade or capital assets may become trading stock.
• The proposed amendments provide that as and when trading stock is appropriated for non-trade or capital purposes, the market value of the trading stock on the date of appropriation is treated as income that is subject to income tax at that juncture.
• Conversely, if a non-trade or capital asset becomes a trading stock that is subsequently sold, the proposed amendments provide that the cost of the trading stock is its market value on the date the non-trade or capital asset becomes trading stock. The gains from the disposal of the trading stock are then computed accordingly and subject to income tax.
iii. Include a protection of informer provision. The proposed amendment seeks to protect informers by prohibiting the disclosure of information that may lead to the discovery of an informer’s identity, and to thus encourage informers to step forward with information that will enable more effective tax enforcement. The proposed amendment is similar to the provisions for protection of informers in other domestic legislation such as the Customs Act, the Cybersecurity Act 2018, and the Regulation of Imports and Exports Act. Similar provisions to protect informers will also be included in the other tax legislation such as the Goods and Services Tax Act, the Property Tax Act and the Stamp Duties Act.
iv. Align the maximum penalty amounts for non-filing and other related offences under the ITA with those for similar offences under the Goods and Services Tax Act and the Property Tax Act. The proposed amendment updates the penalty amounts under the ITA and ensures that the penalty amounts across tax legislation are generally consistent.
v. Technical amendments. The remaining four proposed amendments are technical amendments.
GUIDELINES FOR SUBMISSION
7. We appreciate your support and participation. Respondents are requested to observe these guidelines:
(a) Please identify yourself and the organisation you represent (if any) so that we can follow up to clarify any comments if needed.
(b) Be clear and concise in your comments.
(c) Focus your comments on how the proposed legislative amendments can be better written to make them clearer and to make compliance easier, or on how the non-Budget tax policy changes can be improved.
(d) Use the prescribed template provided to organise your feedback.
(e) As far as possible, explain your points with illustrations, examples, data or alternative formulations of the amendments.
9. All comments received during the consultation will be reviewed thoroughly and if accepted, will be incorporated in the Bill for introduction in Parliament.
PERIOD OF CONSULTATION
10. The draft Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2021 is available for public consultation from 11 June to 2 July 2021.
11. We request that all interested parties submit your comments using the prescribed template, through email to email@example.com.
SUMMARY OF RESPONSE
12. We will publish a summary of the main comments received on the Ministry of Finance’s website, together with our responses, in August 2021. Please be assured that the identitities of respondents will not be disclosed in the summary.
DOCUMENTS TO DOWNLOAD
13. For reference, please click the relevant documents for this public consultation.
Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2021
- Entire Bill (word)(pdf)
- Clause 1 to 55 (word)(pdf)
- Explanatory Statement (word)(pdf)
- Annex A: Proposed Amendments Announced in the 2021 Budget Statement (word)(pdf)
- Annex B: Proposed Non-Budget Amendments (word)(pdf)
Prescribed Template for Submission of Comments (excel)
Other useful references:
• You may obtain a copy of the ITA at https://sso.agc.gov.sg.
• For more details on the tax changes, you may refer to the circulars on IRAS’s website.