Income Tax Filing 2023: A Step-by-Step Guide to Surviving Tax Season

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Image: Jeshoots.com via Unsplash

Despite paying income tax year after year, I draw a blank every time I receive IRAS’s annual reminder to file my taxes. This is followed by a minor panic attack as I try to remember my SingPass password.

This year, the MoneySmart team has put together a simple step-by-step guide to income tax filing for YA2023, so you don’t get lost in the depths of the IRAS website.

Contents:

  1. Do you need to file your income tax in 2023?
  2. Step 1. Log into IRAS Tax Portal
  3. Step 2. Check your total income for YA2023
  4. Step 3. Declare any additional income
  5. Step 4. Check tax reliefs & deductions
  6. Step 5. File away!
  7. Step 6. Check your Notice of Assessment
  8. Step 7. Pay your income tax
  9. Can you use a credit card to pay income tax?

 

Do you need to file your income tax in 2023?

As long as you earned more than $22,000 in 2022, you need to pay income tax in 2023. However, you may or may not need to file your taxes.

If you got a letter or SMS informing you that you’ve been selected for No-Filing Service (NFS), you do not need to file your income tax.

Instead, your tax bill will be auto-computed based on data submitted by your employer and your previous year’s tax relief claims. You’ll get your bill from April 2023, and can check/edit it then.

On the other hand, if you’re not selected for NFS, you would have received a “friendly” letter or SMS from IRAS saying you need to file your taxes this year.


ALSO READExpats Working in Singapore – Guide to Income Tax For Foreigners


Timeline for tax season 2023

  • Feb – Mar 2023: IRAS will send you an SMS, email, or letter to let you know if you need to file income tax for 2023.
  • 1 Mar 2023 – 18 Apr 2023: File your income tax via myTaxPortal.
  • From end Apr 2023: You’ll receive your Notice of Assessment (a.k.a. your tax bill) to be paid within 1 month via GIRO, AXS station, or Internet Banking.

You may be asked to file your taxes even if you earned less than $22,000. In that case, you can just declare your income and e-file your tax return, but you won’t be liable to pay income tax.

Didn’t receive anything? Then play safe and file your income tax anyway. Here’s how to do it.

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Step 1. Log into IRAS Tax Portal

In order to file your taxes, you’ll need to log in to myTaxPortal. Select Personal Tax at the login page, then log in using your SingPass.

The easiest way to log in is to use the SingPass mobile app. All you have to do is open the app on your phone and scan the QR code you see on the website. This is faster than trying to recall your password (those who’ve lost their passwords will know how maddening the password reset process is).

Even if you recall your password on first try (kudos to you!), 2FA log-in is now required. So after entering your password you’ll also have to enter a passcode sent to your mobile phone via SMS.

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Step 2. Check your total income for YA2021

Once logged into the system, go to Individuals on the top menu bar > File Income Tax Return under Filing Matters.

Here, you’ll be able to check your Total Employment Income earned in 2022 if you’re a salaried employee. This should already be displayed based on your CPF contributions.

If you are partially or fully self-employed, you’ll have to manually enter your income from self-employment. IRAS has a guide for the self-employed here.

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Step 3. Declare any additional income

You are technically supposed to declare any income that you have been earning outside of your job. This includes:

  • Trade or business income earned (including income in virtual currencies)
  • Income received from Government Grants like Jobs Support Scheme, COVID-19-related payouts, Special Employment Credit or Wage Credit Payouts
  • Rent from property
  • Dividends, gains and interest from certain types of investments (stocks of most companies and REITs resident in Singapore are exempt)
  • Payouts from annuities
  • Alimony and maintenance payments
  • Estate or trust income

To declare any extra cash you bagged in the previous year, scroll all the way down on the page that shows your total income and select Edit My Tax Form.

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Step 4. Check tax reliefs & deductions

Below Total Employment Income, you’ll find Total Donations and Total Personal Reliefs.  These help you reduce the amount of tax payable. Personal reliefs include:

  • Course Fees Relief – For courses, seminars or conferences leading to an academic, professional or vocational qualification, or that are relevant to your current job or business
  • CPF Cash Top Up Relief – For voluntary CPF top-ups for yourself or your family members (Singaporeans and PRs only)
  • CPF Relief – Employees and self-employed who have made compulsory and/or voluntary OA/RA/SA/Medisave contributions
  • Earned Income Relief – Anyone who earns taxable income from employment, pension or trade/business/professional/vocational activities
  • Handicapped Brother/Sister Relief – For supporting a physically or mentally handicapped sibling or sibling-in-law in Singapore
  • Life Insurance Relief – For those paying for their own life insurance premiums and who made less than $5,000 in total CPF contributions
  • NSman (Self) Relief – For operationally-ready NS men who have completed their full-time NS
  • Parent/HandicappedParent Relief – For those supporting parents, grandparents, parents-in-law and grandparents-in-law.
  • Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) Relief – For those who are saving via the voluntary SRS Scheme.

Most likely, your reliefs will be pre-filled for you. However, if you spot something amiss, you can scroll all the way down on the page and select Edit My Tax Form.

Once you enter the necessary details, the system will automatically calculate the amount of tax relief you are entitled to. The tax relief amount will be subtracted from your total taxable income, and the maximum tax relief is $80,000.

Since the above tax reliefs are for the previous year, by now it would be too late to do anything to score last minute tax relief. However, you can check out the following guide for the next tax season (i.e. your game plan this year).


ALSO READ: 10 Ways to Reduce Your Personal Income Tax in Singapore for YA2024


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Step 5. File away!

Once you’ve filled in the above details, check that the tax return is accurate, submit the online form, and you’re done.

Tax filing season this year is from 1 Mar 2023 to 18 Apr 2023. Make sure to submit it by the 18 Apr 2023 deadline, or you could get slapped with penalties.


ALSO READStill Don’t Understand Income Tax Filing? Here’s A Complete Guide For The Clueless


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Step 6. Check your Notice of Assessment

From end April 2023, you will receive a Notice of Assessment (NOA) i.e. your income tax bill. The NOA indicates how much you have to pay in taxes and the deadline to do so.

This used to be always sent by post to your home, but these days everything is going online. IRAS will send you an SMS, email or both when your NOA is ready. To choose how you want to be notified, log in to MyTax Portal and go to Account > Profile > Update Notice Preferences.

You can also access your NOA by logging into the IRAS MyTax Portal.

Check that the NOA is correct. If you have any concerns, select “Object to Assessment” in MyTax Portal within 30 days of receiving your NOA. You’ll need to provide supporting evidence, and IRAS will review your objection.

See IRAS’ guide on objecting to your NOA for further details.

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Step 7. Pay your income tax

The government wants to make it easy to give them money, so there are many ways you can pay your taxes:

  • Internet banking (bill payment)
  • Internet banking (fund transfer)
  • GIRO
  • PayNow QR
  • DBS PayLah! Mobile app
  • Phone banking
  • ATM (DBS/POSB or OCBC only)
  • AXS Station
  • AXS e-station (internet) or m-station (mobile)
  • SAM kiosk
  • SAM Web / SAM Mobile
  • NETS (at post office only)
  • Telegraphic transfer (only if you are overseas and cannot use any of the other payment methods)

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Can you use a credit card to pay income tax?

Officially, you can’t use your credit card to pay your income tax. However, a few banks do allow you to make payment indirectly via tax payment facilities. You’ll need to pay a processing fee, but some feel it’s worth it for the miles or rewards points. Here are some options:

Citibank’s PayAll service lets you pay income tax with your Citi credit card. You earn the base earn rate on your card—for example, 1.2 miles per $1 on the Citi PremierMiles card. The downside is that you need to pay a service fee of around 2% (varies from customer to customer).

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DBS has an Income Tax Payment Plan where you can earn 1.5 miles per $1 while splitting your income tax bill over 12 months at 0% interest. However, there is a processing fee of 2.5%.

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HSBC’s Tax Payment Programme allows you to pay your income tax bill in a single payment or in monthly instalments. HSBC offers the lowest processing fee of 0.7%; on the other hand, you only earn 1 reward point per $1.

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Because of the processing fees, using your credit card to pay income tax probably only makes sense if you have a very large income tax bill and the miles or points your earn make up for the fees charged.

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