Are Retrenchment Benefits Taxable in Singapore? Explained

Retrenchment benefits have been a hotly debated topic in Singapore for years now. With the current economic turmoil due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, more and more Singaporeans are finding themselves facing retrenchment. The question on everyone’s mind is whether these retrenchment benefits are taxable or not.

To answer this question, we need to delve into the complicated tax laws of Singapore. There are various factors that determine whether retrenchment benefits are taxable or not, such as the types of payments received, the number of years of service, and the amount received. It’s important to understand these factors before making any assumptions about the taxability of retrenchment benefits.

So, are retrenchment benefits taxable in Singapore? The answer is not as straightforward as one might think. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you understand the intricacies of retrenchment benefits and taxation in Singapore. So grab a cup of coffee, sit back and let’s explore this topic together.

Types of Employment Benefits

Employee benefits are a crucial part of any job offer as they aim to improve the well-being and job satisfaction of an employee. Employment benefits can be divided into various types, including:

  • Monetary Benefits
  • Non-Monetary Benefits
  • Legally Required Benefits

Each type of employment benefit has its own unique characteristics that can make them valuable to employees.

Type of Employment Benefit Description Examples
Monetary Benefits Benefits that provide direct financial compensation to employees Bonuses, Salary increases, Retrenchment benefits
Non-Monetary Benefits Benefits that provide non-cash compensation to employees Healthcare, Life insurance, Vacation time
Legally Required Benefits Benefits required by law to be provided by employers Central Provident Fund (CPF), Employee insurance

Understanding the different types of employment benefits is important for both employers and employees as it enables them to make informed decisions when negotiating job offers and improving job satisfaction.

Understanding Taxation Laws in Singapore

Singapore is known for its friendly tax environment and attractive tax rates, which make the country a popular destination for businesses and individuals looking to grow and invest. However, it is important to understand the taxation laws in Singapore to avoid any surprises and ensure compliance with the local tax regulations.

  • Residency Status – The tax rates and rules in Singapore vary depending on your residency status. Generally, residents are taxed on their income earned both locally and overseas, while non-residents are only taxed on income earned locally. It is important to determine your residency status and file taxes accordingly to avoid any penalties.
  • Tax Rates – Singapore has a progressive tax system, which means that the more you earn, the higher your tax rate. The tax rates for individuals range from 0% to 22%, with a maximum tax rate of 22% for those earning over S$320,000 per year.
  • Tax Reliefs and Deductions – To encourage certain behaviors and activities, Singapore offers tax reliefs and deductions to individuals and businesses. These can include things like donations to charity, medical expenses, and work-related expenses. It is important to take advantage of these opportunities to lower your tax bill.

When it comes to retrenchment benefits, the tax treatment will depend on a few factors such as the reason for the termination, the type of benefit paid, and the employee’s residency status.

If the retrenchment is due to business downturn or restructuring, the retrenchment benefits paid to employees would be tax exempt for both residents and non-residents. However, if the retrenchment is due to poor performance or misconduct by the employee, the benefits paid would be considered employment income and taxed accordingly.

In addition, the type of retrenchment benefit will affect the tax treatment as well. Generally, the following benefits would be tax exempt:

Retrenchment Benefit Tax Treatment
Severance Payment Tax Exempt
Retrenchment Benefit Tax Exempt
Ex-gratia Payment Tax Exempt up to S$10,000

It is important to note that if the retrenchment benefits exceed S$20,000, the employer will need to file a tax form to report the payment and provide supporting documents.

In conclusion, while Singapore’s tax laws are favorable, it is important to understand the regulations and take advantage of available tax reliefs and deductions. When it comes to retrenchment benefits, the tax treatment will depend on various factors, and it is essential to check with a tax professional to ensure compliance with the local tax laws.

Retrenchment Benefits in Singapore

Retrenchment benefits refer to the payments or rewards made to an employee who has been laid off from their job as a result of corporate restructuring or downsizing. In Singapore, such benefits are provided by employers in both the private and public sectors to affected employees.

One of the main reasons companies provide retrenchment benefits is to cushion the financial impact on affected employees who have lost their jobs. Retrenchment benefits may also be a moral responsibility for employers, especially if they hope to retain a positive image and good relations with their customers and employees.

Taxation of Retrenchment Benefits in Singapore

Many Singaporean employees who have received retrenchment benefits often wonder whether such payments are taxable. In general, retrenchment benefits are considered taxable income by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). However, some exemptions may apply depending on the value of the payment and the specific circumstances surrounding the employee’s retrenchment.

Exemptions on Retrenchment Benefits in Singapore

The following are some of the exemptions that may apply to retrenchment benefits in Singapore:

  • Any payment that is determined by a contract of service, including a mandatory retirement scheme, payment in lieu of notice, and severance payment, may be fully exempted.
  • Any payment that is based on genuine gifts or ex-gratia may be partially or fully exempted.
  • Any payment that is made under the Workforce Development Authority’s (WDA) Career Transition Assistance Scheme may be fully exempted. This scheme caters to workers who have been retrenched and provides them with financial support, career guidance, job search assistance, and training.


In conclusion, retrenchment benefits are crucial to support employees who have been suddenly thrown out of their jobs. When taking into account the taxation aspects of these payouts, it is important to be fully aware of the different exemptions that may apply to these benefits. It is always best to consult with a tax professional to get a better understanding of the tax implications of retrenchment benefits.

Taxable Income in Singapore

As a responsible citizen, it is important to understand the concept of taxable income in Singapore. Taxable income refers to the income that is subject to taxation by the government. If you are earning any income in Singapore, you are obligated to pay taxes based on your taxable income. In this section, we will discuss the various types of taxable income in Singapore.

  • Employment Income: Employment income refers to any compensation or remuneration received by an individual for services rendered to an employer. This includes salaries, bonuses, commissions, allowances, and other benefits. Employment income is subject to taxation in Singapore.
  • Business Income: Business income refers to income earned from a business or trade. This includes any income earned by self-employed individuals or partnerships. Business income is also subject to taxation in Singapore.
  • Investment Income: Investment income refers to any income earned from investments such as dividends, interest, rental income, and capital gains. Investment income is subject to taxation in Singapore.

To determine your taxable income, you need to calculate your total income for the year and then deduct any applicable tax deductions. Some common tax deductions include personal reliefs, employment expenses, and donations. The resulting income is then subject to tax at the applicable tax rates based on your residency status and income level.

The table below shows the current tax rates for residents and non-residents in Singapore:

Income Bracket Tax Rate for Residents (%) Tax Rate for Non-Residents (%)
First $30,000 0 15
Next $10,000 2 15
Next $10,000 3.5 15
Next $40,000 7 15
Next $40,000 11.5 15
Above $120,000 15 15

It is important to note that any retrenchment benefits received by an individual may also be subject to taxation in Singapore. Retrenchment benefits typically include any severance payments, compensation payments, or gratuities received when an individual is retrenched from their employment. These benefits are treated as employment income and are therefore subject to taxation at the same tax rates as employment income.

Impact of Taxes on Retrenchment Benefits

Retrenchment can be a tough pill to swallow. It’s a challenging time for those who are affected by the job loss. While companies offer retrenchment benefits, many people don’t realize that those retrenchment benefits may be subject to taxes and reduced payouts. Below are some points that illustrate the impact of taxes on retrenchment benefits:

  • Retrenchment benefits are generally taxed as employment income. This means that they are subject to tax rates based on your income level. The amount of benefits received is added to your total earnings for the year, which may push you into a higher tax bracket.
  • In Singapore, there is no tax exemption on retrenchment benefits. All Singaporeans and Permanent Residents are required to pay tax on any payment received as retrenchment benefits.
  • Suppose you are eligible for retrenchment benefits and a severance payment. In that case, the amount of the severance payment will be taxed at Your Personal Income Tax Rate. The tax rate depends on the level of your earnings.

It is essential to know the tax implications of retrenchment benefits to have a more informed decision-making process. With a proper understanding of the tax structure and how it affects retrenchment benefits, you can plan better and ensure that you make the most out of your situation.


Retrenchment benefits can be a saving grace for anyone who is unfortunate enough to be retrenched in Singapore. However, it is essential to know the tax implications of how these benefits work. While receiving these benefits may give you temporary relief, the tax burdens you face must be considered in the long term. Consult with a tax professional to guide you through the process and ensure you get the full benefits that you are entitled to.

Tax-Saving Strategies for Retrenchment Benefits

Retrenchment can be a difficult time for anyone to go through. However, it’s important to understand that there are ways to alleviate the financial burden that comes with it. One of the key aspects to consider in this situation is the tax implications of the retrenchment benefits that you may receive. Knowing how to save on taxes can help you keep more of your hard-earned money. Here are some tax-saving strategies that you can use for retrenchment benefits in Singapore.

  • Maximise your CPF contributions – one way to save on taxes is to maximise your Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions. The contributions made to your CPF account are tax-deductible up to a certain limit. By making larger contributions to your CPF, you can reduce your taxable income, which will help you save on taxes.
  • Spread out the payments – if you receive a lump sum payment for your retrenchment benefits, it may push you into a higher tax bracket. To avoid this, you can request to spread out the payment over a few months or a year. This will help keep you in a lower tax bracket and reduce your overall tax liability.
  • Consider tax reliefs – there are various tax reliefs available in Singapore that you can take advantage of. For instance, you can claim tax relief for your parents’ or grandparents’ medical expenses, as well as for your own education or training. By claiming these tax reliefs, you can further reduce your tax liability.

Aside from these strategies, it’s also important to understand the tax structure for retrenchment benefits in Singapore. The table below summarises the tax treatment of retrenchment benefits based on your employment contract.

Employment Contract Retrenchment Benefit Tax Treatment
Contractual As specified in the contract Taxable as income
Non-contractual Up to S$20,000 or the equivalent of 2 months’ salary, whichever is lower Non-taxable

In summary, retrenchment benefits can be taxable or non-taxable depending on your employment contract. However, by using the tax-saving strategies above, you can reduce your overall tax liability and make the most out of your retrenchment benefits.

Changes to Singapore Taxation Legislation

Retrenchment benefits are payments made to employees who have been laid off or terminated due to company downsizing or restructuring. These benefits help ease the financial burden of the retrenched employees and provide them with a financial cushion until they find new employment.

In Singapore, retrenchment benefits are taxable based on the provisions under the Income Tax Act. However, recent changes in Singapore’s taxation legislation have resulted in changes in the taxability of retrenchment benefits. Here are some notable changes:

  • Effective from the Year of Assessment (YA) 2020, the government has introduced a personal income tax rebate of up to S$200 for tax residents to help alleviate the tax burden on retrenchment benefits.
  • Retrenchment benefits are now classified as “other gains or profits” under section 10(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act and are subject to progressive tax rates of up to 22% for Singapore tax residents.
  • Non-residents who receive retrenchment benefits are subject to a withholding tax rate of 15% on the gross amount paid. However, tax treaties may provide for a reduced withholding tax rate or exemption.

Additionally, employers are required to report retrenchment benefits in Form IR8A and issue a statement of retrenchment benefits to their employees by 1 March of the following year.

Below is a table summarising the tax treatment of retrenchment benefits for YA 2021:

Tax Resident Non-Tax Resident
Subject to progressive tax rates of up to 22% Subject to withholding tax of 15% on the gross amount paid

It is important for retrenched employees and employers to be aware of the changes to Singapore taxation legislation and understand the tax implications of retrenchment benefits. Seeking advice from a tax professional may also help with managing tax compliance and ensuring the correct tax treatment.

FAQs about Are Retrenchment Benefits Taxable Singapore

Q: Are retrenchment benefits taxable in Singapore?
A: Yes, retrenchment benefits are taxable in Singapore.

Q: How much tax do I need to pay on my retrenchment benefits?
A: Your retrenchment benefits will be taxed at your personal income tax rate, which ranges from 0% to 22%.

Q: Do I need to declare my retrenchment benefits in my tax return?
A: Yes, you need to declare your retrenchment benefits as part of your taxable income in your tax return.

Q: Can I claim any tax reliefs or deductions on my retrenchment benefits?
A: No, you cannot claim any tax reliefs or deductions on your retrenchment benefits.

Q: How do I know how much tax I need to pay on my retrenchment benefits?
A: You can use the online tax calculator on the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) website to estimate the amount of tax you need to pay on your retrenchment benefits.

Q: Is there a deadline for paying tax on my retrenchment benefits?
A: Yes, you must pay the tax on your retrenchment benefits by the tax filing deadline, which is typically April 15th of the following year.

Thanks for Stopping By!

We hope this article has helped answer some of your questions about the taxability of retrenchment benefits in Singapore. Remember to declare your retrenchment benefits in your tax return and pay the necessary tax on time. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to IRAS or a tax professional. Thanks for reading and visit again soon for more helpful articles!