Category Archives: Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore

Income Tax Treatment for entities adopting Financial Report Standard (“FRS”) 116


The Accounting Standards Council issued FRS 116 on 30 Jun 2016 and SFRS(I) 16 on 29 Dec 2017. FRS 116 / SFRS(I) 16 applies to entities with effect from annual reporting periods beginning on or after 1 Jan 2019. Early application is permitted with application of FRS 115 / SFRS(I) 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers. 2.2

With the adoption of FRS 116 / SFRS(I) 16 for accounting purposes, the Comptroller of Income Tax (“CIT”) will apply the following tax treatment:

Lessor

With the adoption of FRS 116 / SFRS(I) 16 for accounting purposes, where the lease concerned is regarded as an operating lease (“OL”), the lessor can continue to elect to be taxed on income from the OL as determined using the effective rent method under FRS 116 / SFRS(I) 16 (referred to as “FRS 116 / SFRS(I) 16 tax treatment”).

This is subject to the condition that the application of the FRS 116 / SFRS(I) 16 tax treatment is made consistently every year and across for all OLs.  The FRS 116 / SFRS(I) 16 tax treatment is applicable to all leases, including leasing of an asset which is not regarded as a machinery or plant, such as leasing of an office space.


Lessee

A lessee is allowed tax deductions on the contractual lease payments incurred, except under circumstances where a sale is regarded to have taken place.

Where a lease arrangement giving rise to a Right-Of-Use (“ROU”) asset meets the definition of a finance lease under Section 10D(3) of the Income Tax Act (“ITA”) and is to be regarded as a sale agreement, the lessee is eligible to claim interest expense and capital allowances (“CA”) on the relevant asset instead of a deduction on the contractual lease payments.

To determine if a finance lease for tax purposes is to be regarded as a sale agreement, reference should be made to the conditions in paragraphs (a) to (e) of Regulation 4(1) of the Section 10D Regulations.


Withholding tax

Withholding tax obligations would continue to be determined based on the legal characterisation of the payment, and subject to the provisions in Sections 12(6) and (7) of the ITA, notwithstanding the change in the accounting treatment.

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Income Tax – Boss of interior design firm to pay penalty of more than $400,000 for under-declaring income


It was reported on IRAS’ website on 5 October 2018 that Lim Hong Hee, a proprietor of Classic Furniture Design and Renovation Works (“Classic”), an interior design firm, has been convicted for filing incorrect income tax returns for Years of Assessment (YAs) 2006 to 2009 and 2011, which had resulted in $293,977 in taxes undercharged.

IRAS detected anomalies in the declarations made in Lim’s income tax returns during one of its regular audit programmes. Investigations revealed that Lim did not report a total of $1,772,704 of Classic’s trade income in his income tax returns for YAs 2006 to 2009 and 2011. Instead, Lim paid himself a salary from Classic and only declared that employment income to IRAS for the relevant YAs, which was significantly lower than Lim’s actual trade income from Classic. This resulted in $293,977 in taxes undercharged.

Lim used Classic’s trade income for his own household expenses, as well as to purchase properties and shares. This included an investment by Lim of $845,000 in shares between 12 January 2009 and 3 October 2011.

Lim faced a total of five charges of filing incorrect income tax returns for YAs 2006 to 2009 and 2011. He pleaded guilty to two out of the five charges, involving a total of $210,673 in taxes undercharged, with the three other charges being taken into consideration for the purposes of sentencing. The Court sentenced Lim to a total fine of $10,000 ($5,000 per charge) and a penalty of $421,347, which is two times the amount of tax undercharged.

What does this mean to you?

IRAS takes a serious view of non-compliance and tax evasion. There will be severe penalties for those who wilfully evade tax. Taxpayers are ultimately responsible for the information declared in their income tax returns. The authority will not hesitate to bring offenders to court. Penalties for tax evasion can be up to four times the amount of tax evaded. Jail terms may also be imposed.

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Income Tax – Sole-proprietor to pay penalty for omission of income


It was reported on the IRAS’ website on 17 September that Tan Siew Hoon Pauline, the sole-proprietor of Staffing Network which provides recruitment services, pleaded guilty on 30 July 2018 to 5 charges of understating her income without reasonable excuse for Years of Assessment (YAs) 2009 to 2013.

IRAS’ Investigations revealed that Tan had only declared $444,633 in her income tax returns for YAs 2009 to 2013 when the net income earned was $1,748,058.  Further, Tan did not notify the Comptroller of GST when the taxable turnover of Staffing Network had exceeded $1m in Year 2009.

Tan was the sole signatory of Staffing Network’s bank account and she personally managed and prepared the accounts of Staffing Network. She tracked the revenue payments from her customers, made payments for Staffing Network’s operating expenses and banked in customers’ cheques into Staffing Network’s bank account.

The court sentenced Tan to pay a penalty of $344,522, which is 2X the tax undercharged of $172,261, and a fine of $17,500.  One other charge of failing to notify the Comptroller of Goods and Services Tax of her liability to be registered for GST was taken into consideration for sentencing.

What does this mean to you?

IRAS takes a serious view of non-compliance and tax evasion. There will be severe penalties for those who either give incorrect returns or wilfully evade tax. Penalties for tax evasion can be up to four times the amount of tax evaded. Jail terms may also be imposed.

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Income Tax – Country-by-Country Reporting (Third Edition)


The IRAS has issued the third edition of the Country-by-Country Reporting e-Tax Guide on 7 August 2018 by amending the answer to Question 11 of the FAQ.

Question 11: Can rounded figures be reported in the CbC report?

Companies can report rounded figures in their CbC report if the source data from which those amounts have been obtained consist of rounded figures.

Companies should ensure that the rounding does not have a material impact in terms of understanding the CbC report.

When rounding off to the nearest thousand, companies would still have to show the figures in full. For example, if the rounded figure is S$1,126,000, it should be entered in the CbC report as S$1,126,000 and not S$1,126.

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Income Tax – Sole proprietor convicted for PIC sham


It was reported in IRAS’ website on 3 August 2018 that Lim
Mei Lee, who is a sole proprietor of Wahla Balloon, has been convicted and sentenced for abusing the Productivity and Innovation Credit (“PIC“) scheme by giving false information to illegally obtain PIC cash payouts and bonuses for Wahla Balloon.

Investigations by IRAS revealed that Lim gave false information to the Comptroller of Income Tax (“CIT“) by stating in Wahla Balloon’s PIC application forms that the business had incurred qualifying PIC expenditure when no such expenditure had been incurred.

The forms were submitted between November 2013 to July 2014 to claim $11,953.80 in PIC cash payouts and $13,269 in PIC bonuses for the purported expenditure of $19,923 to purchase items such as balloon inflators and to attend balloon making workshops.

Lim thus committed an offense by giving false information to illegally obtain PIC cash payouts and bonuses that she was not entitled to.

Lim faced a total of 8 charges of giving false information to the CIT to illegally obtain PIC cash payouts and bonuses. She pleaded guilty to 3 proceeded charges, involving a total amount of PIC cash payouts and bonuses of $13,204.60, with the other 5 remaining charges being taken into consideration for the purposes of sentencing. The Court ordered Lim to pay a fine of $9,000 and a penalty of $26,409.20, 2X the amount of cash payouts and bonuses illegally obtained, and sentenced her to 23 weeks’ imprisonment in default of payment.

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