Generally, profits or losses derived from the buying and selling of shares or other financial instruments are viewed as personal investments. Payouts from insurance policies are also not taxable as they are capital receipts. These profits are capital gains and are not taxable. You need not report such gains in your tax return.
If you’re holding shares of stock in a regular brokerage account, you may need to pay capital gains taxes when you sell the shares for a profit. Short-term capital gains tax is a tax on profits from the sale of an asset held for a year or less. Short-term capital gains tax rates are the same as your usual tax bracket.
The interest received from deposits with approved banks or licensed finance companies in Singapore is not taxable. Interest from debt securities (e.g. bonds) is also not taxable unless it is derived from:
a. A partnership in Singapore; or
b. From the carrying on of a trade in debt securities.
Under the “safe harbour” rules, also known as Section 13Z, you can enjoy zero capital gains tax when selling common stocks and profiting from it. The “safe harbour rule” is applicable to deals made before 31 December 2021 . he Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) has also updated its e-Tax guide, Certainty of Non taxation of Companies’ Gains on Disposal of Equity Investments, on 10 December 2020 to cover the above extension and the changes provided under the extension.
If Private Alliance Pte Ltd sells ordinary shares of Saint Bill Pte Ltd on the stock exchange, the gains may be exempt from tax. It does not matter if Saint Bill Pte Ltd is Singapore-incorporated or not. It also does not matter if it is listed or not.
To qualify for zero Capital Gains Tax, Private Alliance needs to meet the following conditions:
• It must hold at least 20% of the ordinary shares in Saint Bill Pte Ltd.
• It must hold the shares for at least 24 months before selling them.
• The investment in question (the investee) and the investor, must both be companies;
• The investment must be in the ordinary share capital of the investee;
Tightening of Section 13Z
The Section 13Z tax exemption is now tightened and will not apply in relation to an investee company that has undertaken property development. Effective from 1 June 2022, the tax exemption under Section 13Z is no longer available with regard to the disposal of non-listed shares when the investee company is in the business of:
• Property development (including nominated construction activities)
• Trading in immovable property
• Holding of immovable property that derives no income or derives passive income (regardless of the location of the immovable property)
Exceptional cases where the investee company has used the immovable property to conduct its own trade or business and has not undertaken any property development for a 60-month period prior to the disposal of its shares.
The exclusions for real estate companies that came in Budget 2020 took the market into turmoil. Currently, an exclusion exists for unlisted companies in the business of trading or holding Singapore immovable property (other than property development companies). An understandable position, in view of our comments above about the vulnerability of Singapore real estate; and development companies are by definition taxable on their property transactions with little resistance.
If these conditions are not met, IRAS will inspect the deal and use the Badges of Trade criteria under our previous article on “Do I pay tax when I sell my fixed asset, property?”
Unlike many other countries, Singapore does not have a formal capital gains tax regime. Capital gains are not taxed. With a vast difference of 17% of tax rate, it is not wonder that Singapore is gaining as a tax haven for investment holding company. However, it is very difficult for tax advisors to put their hands on their hearts the start of tax consultancy. To say that there is no risk of taxation is high risk to the client until we looked into facts and evidences provided during the engagement.
IRAS e-Tax Guide: Certainty of Non-taxation of Companies’ Gains on Disposal of Equity Investments, first published on 30 May 2012 and updated on 15 July 2016.
https://www.ey.com/en_sg/singapore-tax-alerts/tax-exemption-on-companies-gains-on-disposal-of-equity-investments published on 20 April 2021