Interested in an exciting career that will challenge you with its dynamic and constantly-changing nature?
You might find your answer in an unexpected place: the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).
Mr Gordon Cheong 30, did. While he was a student at the Singapore Management University, he applied for the mid-term IRAS Merit Scholarship after taking some tax-related courses.
He explains: “As tax laws and standards evolve rapidly over time, a tax professional must always learn and keep up with the changes to stay relevant.
“Being in the tax industry means that I need to possess a set of strong analytical, strategic thinking and communication skills, and I enjoy using these skills to overcome the daily challenges I face in my career.”
Wearer of many hats
It was the prospect of embarking on such a career that led him to apply for the scholarship.
And what opportunities he has had. During his five years at IRAS, Mr Cheong has already worn more hats than a haberdasher. He has taken on various positions within the Corporate Tax Division at IRAS, and is currently seconded to the Tax Policy Directorate in the Ministry of Finance (MOF), as the head of its international tax unit.
“These postings deepened my capabilities in taxation and prepared me well for my future postings,” he says.
In his current capacity, he leads a team that continuously reviews Singapore’s international tax policy, in order to ensure that the country’s economy remains a sustainable and attractive destination for businesses — a priority for both IRAS and MOF.
This is no simple task, due to the sheer number of stakeholders involved in each of his projects. Much of the work on international tax, such as the
implementation of international tax standards, involves collaboration among different units as well as ministries and government agencies.
A job well done
Coordination on such a large scale requires colossal effort, but to Mr Cheong, it is all worth it, knowing that his contributions are recognised on a global scale.
For instance, a major point of pride for him was the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s positive assessment of Singapore’s tax incentives. The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information also gave Singapore’s exchange of information regime the highest possible rating.
This endless parade of new opportunities is what keeps him fired up, day after day. “I expect each day to present new challenges, as we work together as one public sector to overcome them,” he continues.
“It’s by far the most rewarding part of the job.”