Eileen Tay Qingyun is a Senior Manager at the International Tax and Relations division, which advances Singapore's international profile and economic interest through the development of a robust treaty network, resolution of tax issues and participation in international tax forums. She is a recipient of the IRAS Postgraduate Scholarship and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Applied Statistics and Data Analytics from SMU.
Established as a statutory board under the Ministry of Finance in 1992, Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) acts as an agent of the Government to provide service in the administration of taxes and enterprise disbursements and represent Singapore internationally on taxation matters. As the main tax administrator, IRAS also plays a role in tax policy formulation and actively monitors developments in the external economic and tax environment, to foster a competitive tax environment that encourages enterprise and growth.
The role of IRAS is of great significance as taxes are necessary for nation building and inclusive growth, so that Singapore can be developed into a stronger community, a better environment, and a more vibrant economy. With more than 11 years in IRAS (and still going strong!), Scholar Eileen gives us a glimpse into her steadfast resolve to pursue excellence in tax administration as a service to our nation.
Eileen, let’s start off by telling us why you chose IRAS.
I found my interest in taxation during my university days. Taxation serves a greater policy purpose and there is a rationale behind tax rules. Being part of the public sector, a career in IRAS would allow me to be involved in tax policy, which is my area of interest. It’s a decision I have not looked back on since. My 11 years in IRAS is nothing short of meaningful and exciting!
Wow, 11 years! What do you think is your most significant career achievement to date?
That would be the successful implementation of a project that simplified tax filing for taxpayers. As the team lead, I saw the project from start to end; it was meaningful as the initiative reduced the compliance cost for taxpayers and resulted in much time savings.
Tell us more about your current role in IRAS.
I am currently a Senior Manager in the International Tax Policy team. With my team, we drive international engagement efforts to advance Singapore’s interests on international tax matters and safeguard Singapore’s interests on global developments in tax transparency. We also participate in international meetings and host training programmes, manage and coordinate international visits. As a team leader, I constantly challenge my team to improve work processes and cultivate a safe space where team members can learn from one another.
Can you elaborate more on IRAS’ work culture?
Dynamic and supportive! In recent years, we have implemented digital and workforce transformation within the organisation and adapted to new ways of working. IRAS also has a very strong learning and development culture, where colleagues are always happy to share their knowledge and learn from one another.
In fact, this is also why I chose a career in IRAS. I have been given opportunities to learn and develop my tax knowledge through its Accredited Tax Specialist Programme. And when I was studying for my master’s degree, IRAS provided practical exposure to Data-related work via an attachment with the Compliance Strategy and Insights Division. This project allowed me to apply what I learned during my studies.
Eileen, you took up the IRAS Postgraduate Scholarship for your master’s degree. What motivated you to further your studies?
I was involved in projects and saw the benefits of picking up new skills in data analytics. I recognised the importance to upskill and contributing more effectively to the organisation. The master’s Programme I had chosen was focused on data analytics in the accounting sector. Data analytics is a very broad area which is relevant to many areas of tax administration and is also an area of focus in IRAS’ transformation journey.
Pursuing my master’s degree full-time also allowed me to have time away from work to reflect on how I could apply the skills I learned to my work and learn from the experiences of my course mates and professors.
What do you hope to achieve in your career?
I am often inspired by my colleagues who do their best for our nation and therefore also challenge myself to do the same. I hope to inspire colleagues, cultivate positive teams with a growth mindset and nurture staff to be the best version of themselves. I also hope to be able to advance Singapore’s interests at the global stage.
Before we end, can you give some words of encouragement to those aspiring to join IRAS?
IRAS is not just about tax. There is a variety of career opportunities in service and education, enterprise disbursement, data analytics, infocomm, legal and corporate work. Not to forget that IRAS also supports its staff to pick up transferable skills!
For those interested to pursue tax, IRAS has an accredited tax specialist programme where staff are encouraged to raise their technical competency and contribute to the technical development of colleagues.
In my 11 years with IRAS, I had the privilege to be exposed to many different roles and areas of taxation and continuously learn in new areas of work, and so can you when you join us!