Accounting and Tax

How to Calculate Income Tax as a Sole Proprietor in Singapore?

20 December 2023
Grof Writer
4 Minutes Read
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Entrepreneurs and small business owners in Singapore face a series of challenges, and understanding income tax obligations is undoubtedly one of them. But fear not! We're here to cut through the fog and guide you step by step.  

In this comprehensive guide, we aim to demystify the process of calculating income tax as a sole proprietor in the Lion City. Whether you're a seasoned business owner or just starting out, this guide will equip you with the knowledge needed to navigate Singapore's tax landscape effectively. 

Ready to get tax-savvy? Let's dive in! 

Tax Filing Obligations of Sole Proprietor 

Understanding the ins and outs of income tax filing is a vital first step for any sole proprietor in Singapore.  

Sole proprietors and partners registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) are typically classified as self-employed. Additionally, if you earn an income through a trade, business, profession, or vocation, you are also regarded as self-employed. 

This requires you to personally report and pay taxes on your business income. In other words, you need to treat your business earnings as personal income and report them accordingly during the tax filing season, unlike other business structures. 

It's crucial to keep up with IRAS regulations and deadlines to ensure timely and accurate reporting. Keeping a well-organised record of financial transactions will not only facilitate the tax filing process but also assist in identifying eligible deductions. 

How To Calculate Taxable Income in Singapore 

When prepping your tax return in Singapore, the first step is to calculate your total business income. To calculate income, start by adding up sales. Then, include investment income, such as interest or rent. Next, add any premiums and royalties. Finally, sum up all other forms of revenue. 

However, not everything counts towards taxable income. Some income types and capital gains, like those from foreign exchange on capital transactions, are excluded under the Income Tax Act. These do not count towards taxable income. 

Next, you'll focus on your chargeable income, which is your business's net income after deducting allowable expenses. Start by finding your net profit, which is what's left after subtracting business expenses from your total revenue. 

Allowable expenses are those directly linked to your business operations. Think rental, utilities, staff salaries, and office supplies. Deducting these from your gross income reduces your chargeable income and, thus, your tax liability. 

Good record-keeping is crucial for accuracy. It helps to use accounting software or consult a professional accountant to ensure you're capturing all allowable expenses and optimising your taxable income. This approach not only makes the process smoother but also reduces the likelihood of errors. 

Tax Rates for Sole-Proprietors 

Singapore employs a progressive tax rate system. Your taxable income, as a sole proprietor in Singapore, undergoes the application of personal income tax rates. These rates vary based on income levels, ranging from 2% to 22%. Understanding the tax brackets and how they apply to your income is essential for accurate tax planning. 

Beginning with the Year of Assessment 2024, Singapore introduces a new tier to its personal income tax system. This change aims to improve tax progressivity. Incomes above $500,000 and up to $1 million will now be taxed at 23%. This is a rise from the previous rate of 22%. 

In fact, staying on top of the latest tax rate structures is a must for sole proprietors in Singapore, which may be subject to changes by the IRAS. Regularly checking the official IRAS website ensures you remain informed and compliant. Furthermore, consider engaging with tax professionals who can provide personalised insights based on your specific financial situation and business activities. 

As a sole proprietor, you might find that the tax rates can be relatively high. An effective strategy to consider is incorporating your business. By transitioning to a Private Limited (Pte Ltd) company, you can benefit from a flat corporate tax rate of 17%. This rate is often more favourable compared to the progressive personal income tax rates that sole proprietors face. 


Additionally, incorporation offers other financial benefits. Pte Ltd companies in Singapore are eligible for various grants and incentives that can effectively reduce taxable income. Furthermore, dividends issued by these companies are not subject to tax, which can be a significant advantage. 


Besides the tax benefits, incorporating a company provides legal protection for business owners. A registered company is a separate legal entity, which means that the members and directors have limited liability. This separation protects your personal assets from the company's debts and losses, offering a layer of financial security. 


In your first few years as a Pte Ltd, you may also be eligible for partial tax exemptions. For example, in the first three consecutive Years of Assessment, 75% of the first $100,000 of profit is exempt from tax, and 50% of the next $100,000 of profit. Additionally, due to Singapore's single-tier tax policy, dividends distributed to shareholders are not subject to further taxation after the corporate income has been taxed. 


If you're considering this transition, get in touch with us today. We can guide you through the incorporation process, help you understand the tax implications, and assist in strategising your financial planning to align with your business goals. 

Tax Rebates Available in Singapore 

Singapore incentivises business growth by offering various tax rebates. As a sole proprietor, you may be eligible for specific rebates designed to alleviate your tax burden. A key example is Enterprise Innovation Scheme (EIS).  

To qualify for the EIS, businesses, including sole proprietorships, must meet certain criteria. An eligible business should have a minimum of three full-time local employees (Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents) with CPF contributions. These employees must be employed for at least six months in the basis period of the relevant Year of Assessment (YA) and each must earn a gross monthly wage of at least $1,400. 


The EIS not only enhances existing tax measures but also introduces new ones. Notably, eligible businesses may choose to convert up to $100,000 of their total qualifying expenditure for each YA into cash, at a conversion rate of 20%. This can be a significant boost for businesses looking to innovate and expand. 


Exploring the available rebates and understanding the eligibility criteria can significantly contribute to optimising your tax strategy. Seeking guidance from tax experts can further enhance your ability to leverage these rebates effectively. 

It's worth noting that tax laws and rebate programs may evolve. Therefore, stay informed about legislative changes and potential new incentives, as it can be crucial for maximising your tax benefits. 

Consult with Our Experts 

Navigating the intricate landscape of income tax as a sole proprietor in Singapore can be challenging. That’s why our dedicated team of experts at Grof is committed to assisting you in understanding your tax obligations, maximising allowable deductions, and ensuring full compliance with IRAS regulations. 

By scheduling a consultation, you gain access to personalised guidance tailored to your unique business needs. Furthermore, our experts are equipped to provide insights into industry-specific considerations and can help you develop a proactive approach to your tax obligations. 

In addition to offering guidance on tax compliance, our experts can assist you in implementing effective accounting practices, optimising your financial workflows, and exploring opportunities for business growth. 


In short, managing your tax responsibilities in Singapore is about dotting the i's and crossing the t's. By understanding your tax filing obligations, accurately calculating taxable income, staying informed about tax rates, exploring available rebates, and consulting with experts like Grof, you can develop a comprehensive and effective tax strategy for your business. 

Compliance with IRAS regulations is not only a legal requirement but also an essential component of maintaining a healthy financial standing for your business. As a sole proprietor, staying informed, seeking expert guidance, and taking proactive measures are key to successfully managing your tax responsibilities in Singapore. 

Remember, your commitment to understanding and meeting your tax obligations is an investment in the long-term success of your business. Continued education, periodic consultations with tax professionals, and a proactive approach to financial management will not only ensure compliance but also position your business for sustained growth and prosperity. 

With the right knowledge and proactive planning, your business can thrive in the vibrant economy of Singapore. Stay informed, stay compliant, and watch your business grow. 

Your Ultimate Singapore Incorporation Checklist
Explore crucial dos and don'ts, along with essential tips for a successful company registration when establishing your foothold in Singapore!
Your Ultimate Singapore Incorporation Checklist
Explore crucial dos and don'ts, along with essential tips for a successful company registration when establishing your foothold in Singapore!
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