CPA Australia and the Tax Academy of Singapore have agreed to jointly develop the Singapore Taxation segment, Singapore Taxation: Policy, Law, and Application, under the CPA Program. This is the first local variant of the taxation segment in the CPA Program. This segment enables individuals to acquire leading-edge specialised training in the area of Singapore taxation. 

The Tax Academy of Singapore is a collaboration between the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, the international accounting firms comprising Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PwC, the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore and the Law Society of Singapore. It was established as a non-profit institution to raise the professional competency of the tax community and to develop Singapore into a regional tax knowledge hub. 

The Singapore Taxation segment is open to all professional level candidates. However, individuals must be able to sit the exam in Singapore. Additionally, valuable tutorials which support this segment are only held in Singapore.

Exam

The Singapore Taxation exam consists of 100 per cent written response questions. The exam for the Singapore Taxation segment is closed book. Individuals can only bring the tax acts recommended in the study guide into the exam hall.

For semester 1 2014 the exam consists of five written response questions.

The total marks available for the exam is 100. 

The Singapore Taxation exam is only held in Singapore.

Segment aims

The aims of this segment are:

  • to provide individuals with an overview of the Singapore tax system, a sound foundation on the principles of taxation of income and a good appreciation of how these principles and the provisions of the Income Tax Act are applied in the taxation of individuals, unincorporated businesses and corporations
  • to provide a good understanding of the Singapore Goods and Services Tax

General objectives

On completion of this segment, you should be able to:

  • apply the principles and concepts of taxation and the relevant provisions of the tax legislation to situations encountered
  • correctly compute the assessable income or tax payable in certain factual situations

Segment content

The Singapore Taxation segment comprises eight modules. A brief outline of each module is provided below.

Module Recommended proportion of study time
1. Overview of the Singapore Tax Regime 3%
2. General Knowledge of Income Tax 18%
3. Income Tax (Corporate) 22%
4. Income Tax (Business) 12%
5. Income Tax (Individual) 12%
6. Income Tax (Others) 3%
7. Withholding Tax 10%
8. Goods and Services Tax 20%

Module 1: Overview of the Singapore Tax Regime

Module 1 provides an overview of the Singapore tax system and the international aspects of income taxation.

Contents: 

  • Taxation and public finance 
  • Singapore's fiscal policy 
  • Taxation in Singapore: History and policy 
  • Introduction to various taxes in Singapore 
  • International aspect of income taxation 
  • Sources of authority and information 
  • Appeals process 

Module 2: General Knowledge of Income Tax

Module 2 explains the scope of tax, basis of taxation, and the general principles governing the deductibility of expenses. It also provides an overview of four specific regimes of deductions and allowances, namely, capital allowances, industrial building allowances, deduction for qualifying renovation and refurbishment expenditure, and deduction in respect of trade losses and donations. The tax treatment for the unabsorbed deductions and allowances will also be discussed. The final part of the module covers the aspect of tax administration. 

Contents: 

  • Scope of taxation 
  • General principles of deduction of expenses 
  • Capital allowances for plant and machinery 
  • Industrial building allowance 
  • Land intensification allowance
  • Donations 
  • Unabsorbed current year capital allowances, trade losses and donations 
  • Tax administration

Module 3: Income Tax (Corporate)

Module 3 focuses on the parts of the Income Tax Act that apply to companies. The first two parts introduce the attributes of a company and the scope of Singapore taxation that a company is subject to. Parts three to ten focus on the topics covered in Module 2 in their application to a company. Parts eleven to fourteen cover the other types of schemes available to a company. The remaining parts provide examples of tax computations and a discussion of some business activities that are subject to specific provisions and regulations and the obligations of a company in relation to its tax affairs. 

Contents: 

  • Attributes of a company 
  • Taxation of companies 
  • Income chargeable to tax in Singapore 
  • Exemptions 
  • Expenses 
  • Capital allowances 
  • Industrial building allowances 
  • Assessable income 
  • Unabsorbed losses and donations 
  • Donations 
  • Group relief 
  • Carry-back Relief System 
  • Research and Development Allowance (YA2010 to 2016) 
  • Cash grant for research and development expenditure for start-up company (YA2009 to 2013)
  • Mergers and acquisitions allowance 
  • Tax reliefs 
  • Tax computation 
  • Businesses subject to specific tax treatment 
  • Filing obligations of a company 

Module 4: Income Tax (Business)

Module 2, General Knowledge of Income Tax, outlined the basis of assessment, the charging sections, badges of trade, outgoings and deductions that form assessable income. 

Module 4 elaborates the tax treatment and rules that are specific to both sole-proprietorship or self-employed and partnership. It also discusses the features and tax treatment of limited liability partnership (LLP) and limited partnerships (LP). 

Contents: 

  • Who is a sole-proprietorship or self-employed person 
  • Deductibility or non-deductibility of expenses incurred by sole-proprietor 
  • Medisave or CPF contributions 
  • Treatment of unabsorbed business losses and capital allowances 
  • Carry-back Relief System 
  • Filing of returns and accounts 
  • Partnership 
  • Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) 
  • Limited Partnerships (LP) 

Module 5: Income Tax (Individual)

Module 5 elaborates on the tax treatment of income derived by individuals from income other than the carrying on of a trade, business, professions or vocation. In particular, it focuses on employment income and tax exemption/concessions given to individuals for other types of income such as Singapore-sourced investment income and royalty. It also discusses the conditions for claiming personal reliefs or rebates. The module also includes the preparation of tax computation for an individual by applying the knowledge put together in the module. 

Contents:

  • General 
  • Employment income 
  • Taxation of other types of non-trade income applicable to individuals 
  • Personal relief 
  • Tax rates and tax computation 
  • Requirement to file an income tax return

Module 6: Income Tax (Others)

Module 6 examines how clubs or similar institutions, trade associations, management corporations, town councils, trust and charities are dealt with under the Income Tax Act.

Contents: 

  • Principle of mutuality 
  • Clubs or similar institutions 
  • Trade associations 
  • Management corporations 
  • Town council 
  • Trust 
  • Filing obligations 
  • Charities 

Module 7: Withholding Tax

Module 7 provides an overview of the deeming provisions of the Income Tax Act and the general rules relating to withholding tax. 

Contents: 

  • Deeming Provisions – section 12 
  • Withholding Tax Rules – section 45 
  • Appointment of agents 

Module 8: Goods and Services Tax

Module 8 gives an overview of the major provisions of the GST Act and Regulations which deal with the conceptual components that make up the GST system in Singapore, the various Schemes granting GST relief to import and export of certain goods and services as well as the important GST administrative requirements.

Contents: 

  • Scope of tax, supplies, place of supply and imports 
  • Time of supply 
  • Value of tax 
  • Exempt supplies 
  • Input tax 
  • Imports 
  • Import GST suspension schemes 
  • Zero-rating: Exports and international services 
  • Other GST schemes 
  • Registration and De-registration 
  • Records, tax invoices and receipts and Comptroller's power 
  • Return, payment and assessment 
  • Objection and appeals; Offences and Penalties