A Growing Trend in IRAS’ Audit and Investigation: What Should Taxpayers Do?


Dear Valued Clients and Friends

2011 will be coming to an end in a fortnight’s time.  As most of our clients will be closing their financial year end this month, we believe that it may be worth to reiterate the growing trend in the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore’s (IRAS’)’ audit and investigation activities.

By now, most (if not all) companies should have already filed their income tax return and computation for the Year of Assessment  (“YA“) 2011.   On 21 December 2011, I will be conducting the final run in this year for the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (“ICPAS“) on the subject regarding common pitfalls of the Singapore income tax compliance process and the aim of this course is to highlight certain common risks associated with incorrect preparation of income tax returns and computations by some companies and at the same time, emphasize the importance of maintaining proper records and documents in the event of IRAS’ investigation.  This is one of the more popular tax courses in ICPAS and the good news is that you are still in time to sign up for this course.  Simply go to our Page “Upcoming Seminars and Workshops” for details.

Some of you are aware that in 2009, IRAS issued an e-Tax Guide concerning the Voluntary Disclosure Programme (“VDP”).  The purpose is to help some taxpayers who might be ignorant or negligent in terms of their tax reporting obligations by encouraging to come forward in a timely manner to disclose errors and/or omissions made in their tax returns. Penalties due to incorrect tax returns may be reduced on a discretionary basis by IRAS.  It should also be noted that this programme applies to both income tax (including withholding tax) and Goods and Services Tax but  does not apply to tax evasion cases,which is a criminal offence punishable under the law.

According to IRAS, the following will become the area of focus in compliance:

  • Classification of income and expenses by companies enjoying tax incentives
  • Related-party transactions and allocation of development cost by real estate developers
  • Income declaration by companies whose principal activities are that of tutoring services or tuition agencies.

As part of its efforts in educating the public and encouraging more taxpayers to participate in the VDP, IRAS has also taken active steps in publishing landmark cases on its website to highlight the manner in which certain taxpayers had attempted to evade taxes and the penalties imposed on such taxpayers after successful prosecution by IRAS.

We trust that the above information is useful to you.

As always, we are pleased to assist you or your company in resolving any potential tax issues.  Please contact us at jack.wong@whm-consulting.com if you would like to discuss any of your/ your company’s concern on tax issues.

Best regards
Jack HM Wong
Founder and Lead Business & Tax Advisor
WHM Consulting Pte Ltd
E-mail: jack.wong@whm-consulting.com


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