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6 things to note when filing Singapore income tax

Filling your income tax shouldn't be a complicated affair. Here's what you need to know to get it done right.

Financial auditor analysing company financial report concept of accounting, accountancy and income tax form.
Everyone with a job will have to pay their dues towards nation building in the form of taxes, and income tax is no different. (PHOTO: Getty)

By Dee Lim

Everyone with a job will have to pay their dues towards nation building in the form of taxes, and income tax is no different. We break it down to make this process easier for you.

1. Before you file

You will first get a notification from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) to file from January to February, as a reminder to get this done before the deadline. What you'll be filing for is your income earned for the "Year of Assessment". This refers to the tax year which your income tax is calculated and charged. So, Year of Assessment 2023 will cover income earned from 1 January to 31 December 2022.

If this is your first year of filing, there are a few things you will need to do — check whether you need to pay income tax in the first place. You can easily do that with the IRAS' Filing Checker.

If you do need to pay, here's what you need to have on hand:

  1. Access to your Singpass

  2. Details of any of your dependents

  3. The IR8A form, if your employer is not participating in the auto-inclusion scheme

  4. Business registration details, if you own your own business

  5. Rental income details, if you have rental properties that you are making an income from

If you've filed your income taxes before and there are no changes to any of your claims, you may be eligible for the No-Filing-Service (NFS). You should still verify that all the information is correct by logging in to myTax Portal. You can also request for early assessment, and wait for your notice of assessment, which comes in around the end of April.

If you need more time to file your taxes, you can apply for this from 1 February onwards. This is only applicable to personal accounts. Use this guide to know the steps to take to apply for the Request Extension for Time to File.

2. When you are filing

Now that you know if you need to pay taxes or not, you'll have from 1 March to 18 April to file your paperwork. In order to accurately fill in the form, you will also need to know what is tax deductible and what is not, and where you can get rebates from.

There are two ways for you to file your taxes – online through myTax Portal or through paper-filing. Those who need to do paper filing for your tax returns will receive the documents from IRAS between February and March but if you're sure you need to file and have not received your documents, contact IRAS. You will not be able to download the tax returns forms online.

3. Tax deductible items

There are a number of tax deduction claims that you can make while you file, including deductions on rental expenses, on donations made to qualifying charities, deductions for employees who need to claim work-from-home expenses or public transport, and deductions that you can also from the business – whether you are self-employed, in a partnership, or by trade, business, profession or vocation. There are a number of terms and conditions that apply for each one so make sure that you read through them carefully to see if you qualify or not.

4. Taxable items

Taxable items include your income and any benefits-in-kind from your employer. This includes bonuses, commissions, and retrenchment benefits. Again, there are a number of terms and conditions for each one — for example, some pensions are taxable while some are not — so it's best to make sure you read through the pages to determine if you qualify.

5. Tax reliefs and rebates

The easiest way to find out which tax reliefs you qualify for is to answer this short form on the IRAS website, which will then highlight all the different reliefs that could be applicable to you.

Married couples with children are also eligible for reliefs and rebates – like the Working Mother's Child Relief, Parenthood Tax Rebate or Grandparent Caregiver Relief.

6. After you file

If you've already filed your taxes but realised you've made a mistake, you're allowed to make one change within seven days or 18 April, whichever comes first. You will need to log on to myTax Portal and select "File Income Tax Returns". Refiling means you will need to include all the essential details again and when that's done successfully, it will override your old submission.

Once everything is submitted, the notice of assessment comes in from the end of April onwards with your tax bill. If you realise then that there's a mistake, you can file an "Object to Assessment" within 30 days from the date of your tax bill to have it changed.

Here are all the different ways you can pay your income tax. Make sure that you're paying it on time, otherwise there will be consequences.

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