Money Matters: Quick tips on filing your income taxes in Singapore

It's that time of the year again when the taxman comes knocking to collect his dues. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
It's that time of the year again when the taxman comes knocking to collect his dues. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

It's that time of the year again when the taxman comes knocking to collect his dues. This year, taxpayers have until mid-April to file their taxes. If you are one of them, you may be asking these questions:

1. Do I need to file my income tax returns?

Taxpayers who have been informed that they are eligible for the no-filing service this year will not need to file a tax return, unless they have other income to declare or changes to make to their personal reliefs. They can log into myTax.iras.gov.sg to check their income and relief details.

Other taxpayers would have been informed either by letter or SMS to file via myTax.iras.gov.sg by April 18. They will have to file a return, even if their employers have sent their salary details to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras).

Taxpayers who are unsure whether they need to file a tax return can SMS "filetax NRIC/FIN" to 91164900 or call 1800-356 8300.

2. What are the steps if I need to file?

Salary earners and self-employed persons can file their tax returns (Form B1 for employees/Form B for self-employed) via myTax.iras.gov.sg by April 18. Only one form needs to be filled. This normally takes five to 10 minutes.

Taxpayers who require information on filing tips and payment methods can browse www.iras.gov.sg, or visit eLearn.iras.gov.sg for a step-by-step guide on tax filing.

3. What are the payment options?

Many taxpayers choose to pay their taxes by Giro, where monthly deductions will be made automatically from their accounts. Other electronic payment modes include Internet banking, phone banking and AXS stations.

4. What happens under Giro?

If you sign up for Giro payments, 12 monthly interest-free instalments will be deducted from your bank account, on the sixth day of each month from May to next April.

To sign up for Giro, taxpayers can complete the application form on the Iras website and mail it in. DBS/POSB or OCBC customers with Internet banking accounts can also apply online for Giro.

5. What are the main tax reliefs to look out for?

Taxpayers with children can claim the Qualifying Child Relief of $4,000 per child, as long as the child is below 16 years old or a full-time student if older, and has an income of not more than $4,000 in the year. Income earned by the child can come from part-time or holiday jobs, for instance.

Spouse Relief of $2,000 can be claimed by either husband or wife for a dependent spouse, as long as the dependent spouse was living with or maintained by him or her, and the dependent spouse's annual income was not more than $4,000 in 2013.

Taxpayers can also claim Parent Relief of $4,500 or above if they supported their parents, grandparents, parents-in-law or grandparents-in-law last year. They must ensure that the person they are claiming for did not have income exceeding $4,000 last year. They also need to check that their siblings or siblings-in-law are not claiming on the same person.

The increased Parent Relief quantum announced in Budget 2014 will take effect only from Year of Assessment 2015.

This information has been kindly provided by Iras. For more details, please visit www.iras.gov.sg.

Money Matters is a new series of online exclusives by The Straits Times Money Desk.