Record 96% of Singapore taxpayers filed returns on time this year: Iras

Queues at the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore’s (Iras’) office in Newton Road.
Queues at the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore’s (Iras’) office in Newton Road.PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

SINGAPORE - A record-high 96 per cent of taxpayers filed their tax returns on time this year. This was up from the previous high of 95 per cent achieved in the last three years.

Also, about 800,000 taxpayers, or more than 97 per cent of those who filed, did so electronically, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) said on Thursday (April 21).

The deadline for e-filing tax returns was April 18, while that for paper filing was April 15.

Iras added that close to 96,000 - or 12 per cent of those who e-filed - filed their tax returns using smartphones, an option introduced this year.

Iras also simplified the tax returns for owners of leased residential properties this year, allowing them the option to choose the pre-filled deemed rental expense of 15 per cent of gross rent, or the actual rental expenses incurred.

About 1.7 million taxpayers whose employers participated in the auto-inclusion scheme (AIS) enjoyed the convenience of pre-filled tax returns. This scheme will be extended to employers with 10 or more employees from 2017, said Iras.

Employers with fewer than 10 staff can also join the scheme, it said.

The number of taxpayers seeking filing assistance has been falling, and it dropped again - by 15 per cent compared with last year.

Iras said most taxpayers should receive their tax bills - Notice of Assessment for the Year of Assessment 2016 - from end-April to September this year. Those who have updated their mobile numbers with Iras will receive SMS alerts when their tax bills are finalised.

It also encouraged taxpayers to pay their taxes by Giro, to enjoy the option of paying in 12 monthly interest-free instalments or a one-time deduction.

Those not on the Giro payment plan must pay their taxes within one month from the date of the tax bill.

Taxpayers who have yet to file their returns should do so immediately, said Iras. Those who require assistance can call 1800-356 8300 or email Iras via www.iras.gov.sg.

There is a late filing penalty of up to S$1,000.