Understanding Corporate Tax in Singapore

Jul 10, 2023News

Singapore is renowned for its business-friendly environment and attractive tax policies, making it an ideal location for companies to establish their presence. As a business owner or an individual interested in understanding corporate tax in Singapore, it’s important to grasp the key concepts, regulations, and benefits associated with this aspect. This article will provide you with a comprehensive overview of corporate tax in Singapore, highlighting its significance and the considerations businesses need to keep in mind.


Singapore’s corporate tax system is designed to foster economic growth and attract investments. It offers competitive tax rates, generous incentives, and a transparent regulatory framework. Understanding how corporate tax works in Singapore is crucial for businesses to optimize their tax obligations and remain compliant with the law.

What is Corporate Tax?

Corporate tax refers to the tax levied on the profits earned by companies operating in Singapore. It is based on the company’s chargeable income, which is the assessable income after deducting allowable expenses and tax deductions. Corporate tax is imposed on both local and foreign companies that have a presence in Singapore.

Corporate Tax Rates in Singapore

Singapore adopts a progressive corporate tax rate system. Currently, the headline corporate tax rate stands at 17%. However, certain qualifying startups and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) can enjoy preferential tax rates, ensuring a lower tax burden during their initial years of operation.

Tax Exemptions and Incentives

To encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, Singapore offers various tax exemptions and incentives to eligible companies. For instance, newly incorporated companies can enjoy full tax exemption on the first S$100,000 of chargeable income for their first three consecutive years of assessment. Additionally, companies can benefit from tax deductions on expenses incurred for research and development (R&D) activities.

Tax Filing and Compliance

Companies in Singapore are required to fulfill their tax filing and compliance obligations with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). Annual tax returns, financial statements, and supporting documents must be submitted within the stipulated deadlines. Non-compliance may result in penalties or legal consequences.

Transfer Pricing

Transfer pricing refers to the pricing of transactions between related entities within the same multinational enterprise group. In Singapore, transfer pricing regulations are in place to ensure that transactions between related parties are conducted at arm’s length and reflect market conditions. Companies must maintain proper documentation to support their transfer pricing policies.

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Goods and Services Tax (GST)

Apart from corporate tax, companies operating in Singapore may also be subject to the Goods and Services Tax (GST). GST is a consumption tax levied on the supply of goods and services in Singapore. Businesses with an annual turnover exceeding the GST registration threshold must register for GST and charge GST on their taxable supplies.

Double Taxation Agreements

Singapore has an extensive network of Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) with many countries. DTAs aim to avoid double taxation on income earned in one country by a resident of another country. These agreements provide clarity on the taxing rights of each jurisdiction and offer tax relief through mechanisms such as tax credits or exemptions.

Avoidance of Double Taxation

In addition to DTAs, Singapore offers the unilateral tax credit and the foreign tax credit schemes to avoid double taxation. Unilateral tax credit allows companies to claim a tax credit in Singapore for foreign tax paid on income derived from overseas. The foreign tax credit scheme enables companies to claim a tax credit in Singapore for foreign tax paid on income received in Singapore.

Withholding Tax

Withholding tax is a tax imposed on certain types of payments made to non-residents. In Singapore, payments such as royalties, interest, and services provided by non-resident companies may be subject to withholding tax. The withholding tax rate depends on the nature of the payment and the tax treaty, if any, between Singapore and the recipient’s country.

Tax Planning Strategies

Businesses can employ various tax planning strategies to optimize their tax position in Singapore. This may involve structuring investments, utilizing tax incentives, adopting appropriate transfer pricing policies, and engaging in effective tax planning in line with the regulatory framework. It is crucial to seek professional advice to ensure compliance and maximize tax benefits.

Recent Developments in Corporate Taxation

Singapore continually reviews and updates its tax policies to adapt to changing global economic conditions. Recent developments include enhanced tax deductions for intellectual property registration and acquisition, initiatives to support digitalization and innovation, and efforts to combat tax evasion and aggressive tax planning.


Understanding corporate tax in Singapore is essential for businesses to navigate the tax landscape effectively and make informed financial decisions. By comprehending the tax regulations, exemptions, and incentives available, companies can optimize their tax liabilities, promote growth, and remain compliant with the ever-evolving tax regime in Singapore.

Get expert guidance on navigating corporate tax in Singapore with Accruplus, your trusted financial advisor.


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