Private-hire drivers should be taxed with 'fairer approach', says National Private Hire Vehicles Association

Iras had approached Uber and Grab to work out an arrangement for the drivers to file their tax returns automatically. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Private-hire vehicle drivers should be taxed "in a fair manner, like other businesses of a similar nature", said the National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA) on Tuesday (Sept 19).

In a statement, it called on the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) to review the allowable business expenses for such drivers.

NPHVA's executive secretary Mohd Randy said: "Unlike taxis, private-hire vehicle expenses such as fuel, vehicle rental fee, ERP (Electronic Road Pricing) expenses and other running expenses are, at present, not tax deductible."

This comes after The Sunday Times (Sept 17) reported that Iras had approached two ride-hailing firms, Uber and Grab, to work out an arrangement for the drivers to file their tax returns automatically.

Both firms have amassed over 40,000 drivers combined since arriving here in 2013.

While NPHVA said Iras' efforts to allow e-filing of tax returns will help drivers, especially those who spend most of their working hours on the roads or tending to vehicle-related matters, it added that these regulations should continue to be reviewed as well.

"Where a private-hire vehicle is owned by a driver, there are also other overheads such as repair, maintenance and vehicle insurance to consider," he added.

But Mr Randy conceded that there may be difficulties providing tax deductibility if a vehicle is not used primarily for business.

"One possibility is to explore tax deductibility based on the mileage clocked on private hire driving, as practised overseas," he said.

He added that NPHVA looks forward to "a fairer approach in the treatment of income from private-hire vehicle driving, and stands ready to discuss this further with Iras".

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