Everyone knows that March and April bring about one sure thing—tax season. It’s not the most pleasant of duties, we know. But hey, the reality is this: our taxes work for us. And when we pay our tax on time, it’s one less thing to worry about for the year.

Actually, what makes us feel that we are really adulting is filing our income tax early. This accomplishes two major things. One, we prevent rushing to do so at the last minute, when everyone is prone to make mistakes. And two, when we file our income tax early, there are no bothersome filing penalties to deal with. It’s a win-win, so we may as well do it.

Important dates to remember: March 1 to April 18The New Savvy --Money Savvy--It’s Tax Season again—Are You in Step with Your Filing? 1

Earlier this month, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) issued a reminder for all taxpayers to file their income tax returns within these dates, March 1 through April 18. This includes partners as well as sole proprietors.

Furthermore, for the Year of Assessment 2019, tax resident individuals will be receiving a rebate on their income taxes of 50 percent of tax payable, up to a cap of $200.

The IRAS first introduced the pre-filling of self-employed income information in 2015, specifically for individual commission earners such as property and insurance agents. The Authority has said it will keep on collaborating with various stakeholders in the industry in order to ensure greater convenience when it comes to tax filing for even more taxpayers who are self-employed.

Are you wondering if you should file your own taxes or hire a professional to do it? Worry not, we’ve got you covered.

New! Helpful Innovations from IRAS

Here’s some news that will prove to be helpful when we file our taxes this year. The IRAS has launched some features that are meant to make filing our taxes easier.

The IRAS terms it ‘Simplifying Tax Filing Through Digitalisation,’ and it comes in two ways

1. Pre-filling and Auto-Apportionment of Child Relief

If you had a child born in 2018, your child relief has been automatically pre-filled in your electronic tax returns, to make it even more convenient for you.

We can imagine how every new parent is busy with enjoying and taking care of their new bundle of joy. Therefore, this is a convenience that simplifies filing for taxpayers who have just become parents.

The IRAS writes, “For their convenience, the child relief of $4,000 will be pre-filled on a 50:50 basis between the parents in their electronic tax returns unless they have informed IRAS of their preferred sharing basis. Parents can always amend their allocation basis when filing their electronic tax returns.”

2. Simplifying Tax Filing for Taxi and Private Hire Car Drivers

The IRAS is also making tax filing a simpler and more convenient experience for taxi and private hire car drivers. How? By automatically computing a deduction of 60 percent of gross driving income. This is deemed as the business expense from YA 2019 depending on the specified nature of their business (whether taxi driver or private hire car) on their electronic tax returns.

But the IRAS also has an alternative way of claiming tax deductions for drivers. It says that “drivers may choose to claim tax deductions based on the actual amount of car expenses incurred by amending the computed information in their electronic tax returns.”

However, if this applies to you, please note that drivers who choose this option are obligated to retain all of their records for five (5) years. When the IRAS requests for relevant supporting documents, they must have them at the ready in order to provide them.

Drivers who choose to have their income to be pre-filled by the IRAS may peruse and verify these documents at myTax Portal. This includes their pre-filled income and tax deductions. They also need to declare all over sources of income as well. Information that has been pre-filled may be edited as needed.

Online filing

Taxes can still be filed online at  myTax Portal  through the end of March. Again, you avoid the rush and skip the penalties when you do this. I personally hate having to pay penalties of anything, don’t you?

Readers who need to know more about matters concerning income tax filing should visit  www.iras.gov.sg/irashome/TaxSeason2019/ or check out the social media accounts of IRAS on www.facebook.com/irassg/ or www.twitter.com/iras_sg .

And just to prove that the IRAS really does want make it easy for us, there’s even a virtual assistant who can help you via AskJamie.

Alternatively, you can call 1800 356 8300 or chat online (Mondays to Fridays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

You can also drop them an email at myTax Portal.

And if you need to go old school, make an appointment to visit IRAS. But let them know your preferred schedule at least 2 working days in advance.

The New Savvy --Money Savvy--It’s Tax Season again—Are You in Step with Your Filing? 2How to use different digital payment modes

One other important thing to note is that there are several digital payment modes for paying your taxes. Taxpayers can now, and are actually encouraged to, make use of cashless or electronic payment modes such as GIRO.

Here’s a plus: choosing GIRO as your payment option means that you can pay taxes for up to 12 monthly interest-free installments.

But please note the following, according to the IRAS: “Apart from stamp duty payments, cheque collections for taxes will no longer be accepted at all SingPost branches from 1 Mar 2019.”

Here’s how you can apply for GIRO. If you are a DBS/POSB and OCBC, you can apply via myTax Portal, or through Internet Banking, for DBS/POSB, OCBC and UOB customers. DBS and POSB customers can apply for GIRO at AXS stations. And customers of all other banks can access the GIRO application form online on the IRAS website.

Do you need a primer in order to make sense of taxes in Singapore? Here’s our Comprehensive Guide to Income Taxes In Singapore. You’re welcome!


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