Singapore Tax Season 2020: What You Need to Know

Singapore Tax Season 2020: What You Need to Know

Singapore’s tax filing season is around the corner: taxpayers should make sure they understand the tax return process.

The filing period for Singapore’s 2020 assessment year commences on 1 March 2020. Taxpayers in the city-state should ensure they understand their obligations and how to navigate the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) filing process successfully.

If you’re a taxpayer, prepare your Singapore tax return with our guide to the 2020 filing process…

Do I need to file a tax return?

All residents of Singapore with annual incomes of S$22,000 or more must file a tax return. Generally, all income in Singapore is taxable.

To check your tax return status, log onto the IRAS website to preview your Notice of Assessment (NOA). It is possible to request an early assessment (before 19 April 2020) but taxpayers will normally receive their tax bill at some point after 30 April 2020.

Anyone who has received a text message or letter from IRAS informing them they have been selected for the No Filing Service (NFS) does not have to file for YA 2020. NFS taxpayers can choose to fill in a tax return by contacting IRAS.

How much tax do I need to pay?

Singapore implements a progressive tax rate across the following bands:

Income

Progressive Tax Rate

Below S$20,000

0%

Up to S$30,000

2%

Up to S$40,000

3.5%

Up to S$80,000

7%

Up to S$120,000

11.5%

Up to S$160,000

15%

Up to S$200,000

18%

Up to S$240,000

19%

Up to S$280,000

19.5%

Up to S$320,000

20%

Over S$320,000

22%

IRAS hosts an online tax calculator which Singapore tax residents can use to work out their tax liability. Tax residents are individuals who lived or were employed in Singapore for more than 183 days in the previous calendar year (1 January to 31 December, 2019).

How do I pay my tax bill?

The most popular way of paying tax in Singapore is via the 12 month, interest-free IRAS GIRO plan. Taxpayers who want to make a one-time tax payment can use a number of electronic payment methods including internet banking, ATM deposit, or a deposit at any Singapore Post branch.

Where and when should I file my tax return?

For YA 2020, taxpayers have two deadlines for submission to IRAS:

  • e-Filing tax returns must be submitted by 18 April 2020.
  • Paper filing tax returns must be submitted by 15 April 2020

e-Filing takes place via the myTax Portal. Taxpayers will need to log-in with their SingPass or their IRAS Unique Account.

What information do I need to complete my return?

IRAS lists the documents and information required for YA 2020 filing online. The list includes employment income information, particulars of dependents, tax reference numbers, and Form IR8A (only required if specifically stated).

If their employers are participating in Singapore’s Auto Inclusion Scheme, taxpayers do not have to declare their employment income information.

Can I claim expenses against my income tax?

Any expenses that are ‘wholly and exclusively’ incurred through employment may be claimed as tax deductions. Further information on deductible expenses can be found on the IRAS website.

It is also possible to claim rental expenses: property owners can claim up to 15% of the of the total rental income from a tenanted property. Any interest paid on loans taken to purchase properties may also be deducted.

Is it possible to claim tax relief?

Further personal relief and rebates are available for Singapore tax residents who meet qualifying criteria in the preceding calendar year. IRAS hosts online eligibility tools for Personal Reliefs and the Parenthood Tax Rebate.

In YA 2020, Grandparent Caregiver Relief has changed. Under the new rule, working mothers with single handicapped children will be able to claim the relief regardless of their child’s age. The relief is intended to help mothers engage the help of grandparents or in-laws to help care for their children.

How can I avoid filing mistakes?

The best advice for taxpayers wishing to avoid filing errors is to leave sufficient time to complete their returns and check the information they submit thoroughly. IRAS maintains a list of common filing mistakes which includes submitting unnecessary documents, missing official filing notifications, or failing to update personal relief claims after circumstances change.

Taxpayers who have filed successfully will see an acknowledgement message on their submission screen. If a message does not appear, filing status can be checked under “View Filing Status” within an individual’s myTax Portal.

Keep up to date with tax and payroll developments in Singapore with our Global Insight Guide, which also includes information and insight on the city’s economic background, major ,and business practices.

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