What To Know About Income Tax Relief Season

Deborah Gan

Deborah Gan

Last updated 05 March, 2024

Want to pay less taxes (legally, of course)? You might be surprised by just how many ways and how easily you can reduce your chargeable income for the 2024 Year of Assessment (YA).

If you're reading this, you're probably looking for personal income tax reliefs and rebates for the YA 2024 (which is the income you've received from 1 Jan to 31 Jan 2023). 

Whether it’s your first time filing for personal income taxes or trying to reduce your chargeable income, sit tight as we delve into how you can pay less taxes.

Table of contents


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How do I pay income tax in Singapore?

You can pay your income tax online via GIRO, either in a one-time payment of 12-month interest-free instalments. Aside from that, you can also make payments by scanning PayNow QR code in myTax Portal, AXS, internet banking, telegraphic transfer, or via SAM Kiosk, Sam Web or SingPost Mobile App, or any SingPost branches. 

 


How much taxes am I required to pay?

If you haven’t already known, the income tax applies to your salary and is calculated on a yearly basis. Your income includes your annual income and any bonuses you’ve received, but it excludes the compulsory CPF contributions. 

For landlords, any income from your house rental is also taxable by law. Other forms of taxable income include commission, pension, retrenchment benefits, retirement benefits and dividends from investments. You can refer to the full list here.

According to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), you'll be considered a tax resident if you're:

1. Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident who resides in Singapore except for temporary absences; or

2. Foreigner who has stayed/worked in Singapore:

a. For at least 183 days in the previous calendar year; or

b. Continuously for 3 consecutive years, even if the period of stay in Singapore may be less than 183 days in the first year and/or third year; or

3. Foreigner who has worked in Singapore for a continuous period straddling 2 calendar years and the total period of stay is at least 183 days*. This applies to employees who entered Singapore but excludes directors of a company, public entertainers, or professionals. 

Additionally, you need to have an annual income of S$20,000 or more. 

If you don't meet the conditions above, you'll be treated as a non-resident of Singapore for tax purposes. 

The filing deadline for individuals is 18 April annually. The income tax is assessed based on the preceding year.

Here’s how much you’ll have to pay based on your chargeable income:

Resident tax rates

From YA 2024 onwards

Chargeable income Income tax rate Gross tax payable
First S$20,000
Next S$10,000
0%
2%
S$0
S$200
First S$30,000
Next S$10,000
-
3.5%
S$200
S$350
First S$40,000
Next S$40,000
-
7%
S$550
S$2,800
First S$80,000
Next S$40,000
-
11.5%
S$3,350
S$4,600
First S$120,000
Next S$40,000
-
15%
S$7,950
S$6,000
First S$160,000
Next S$40,000
-
18%
S$13,950
S$7,200
First S$200,000
Next S$40,000
-
19%
S$21,150
S$7,600
First S$240,000
Next S$40,000
-
19.5%
S$28,750
S$7,800
First S$280,000
Next S$40,000
-
20%
S$36,550
S$8,000
First S$320,000
Next S$180,000
-
22%
S$44,550
S$39,600
First S$500,000
Next S$500,000
-
23%
S$84,150
S$115,000
First S$1,000,000
In excess of S$1,000,000
-
23%
S$199,150

With effect from YA 2024, the top marginal personal income tax rate will be increased; those with chargeable income in excess of $500,000 up to $1 million will be taxed at 23%, while that in excess of $1 million will be taxed at 24%; both up from the current rate of 22%.


From YA 2017 to YA 2023

Chargeable income Income tax rate Gross tax payable
First S$20,000
Next S$10,000
0%
2%
S$0
S$200
First S$30,000
Next S$10,000
-
3.5%
S$200
S$350
First S$40,000
Next S$40,000
-7% S$550
S$2,800
First S$80,000
Next S$40,000
-
11.5%
S$3,350
S$4,600
First S$120,000
Next S$40,000
-
15%
S$7,950
S$6,000
First S$160,000
Next S$40,000
-
18%
S$13,950
S$7,200
First S$200,000
Next S$40,000
-
19%
S$21,150
S$7,600
First S$240,000
Next S$40,000
-
19.5%
S$28,750
S$7,800
First S$280,000
Next S$40,000
-
20%
S$36,550
S$8,000
First S$320,000
In excess of S$320,000
-
22%
S$44,550

If it's too confusing to calculate, you can use the IRAS Personal Income Tax Calculator

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Non-resident tax rates

Taxes on employment income

Non-residents will be taxed at a flat rate of 15% of the progressive resident tax rates, whichever is the higher tax amount. 

Taxes on director's fee, consultation fees, and all other income

The tax rate is 24% and applies to all income including rental income from properties, pension and director's fees, except employment income and certain income taxable at reduced withholding rates. 

Withholding taxes on income of non-resident individuals

Certain income of non-resident individuals is subject to withholding tax when they're due and receivable, and the tax rate is dependent on the type of income derived and the YA involved.

Type of income
Withholding tax rate
Withholding tax rate
 
From YA 2017 to YA 2023
From YA 2024 onwards
1. Remuneration including director's fees received by non-resident directors
22%
24%
 
 
2. Income received by non-resident professionals (e.g. consultants, trainers and coaches) for services performed in Singapore
15% of gross income or 22% of net income
15% of gross income or 24% of net income
 
 
3. Income received by non-resident public entertainers for services performed in Singapore 
10% concessionary rate up to 31 Mar 2022; 15% concessionary rate from 1 Apr 2022
15% concessionary rate
 
 
4. SRS withdrawals received by non-Singapore SRS account holders* 
22%
24%
 
 
5. Interest, commission, fee or other payment in connection with any loan or indebtedness**
15% reduced final withholding tax rate (subject to conditions) or 22% if reduced withholding tax rate is not applicable
15% reduced final withholding tax rate (subject to conditions) or 24% if reduced withholding tax rate is not applicable
6. Royalty or other lump sum payments for the use of movable properties**
10% reduced final withholding tax rate (subject to conditions) or 22% if reduced withholding tax rate is not applicable
10% reduced final withholding tax rate (subject to conditions) or 24% if reduced withholding tax rate is not applicable
 

^The same withholding tax rates also apply to the income derived by a Hindu Joint Family that is registered outside Singapore.

*With effect from 1 Jul 2014, the concessionary withholding tax rate of 15% will apply if the following conditions are met:

i. Cumulative amount withdrawn by the SRS account holder in the calendar year does not exceed $200,000; and 

ii. The SRS account holder does not have any other income besides the SRS withdrawal(s) during the calendar year when the withdrawal(s) are made.  

To enjoy this concession, the SRS account holder must declare that he fulfils the two conditions above using the Form IR37B(1). The Form IR37B91) is obtainable from the SRS operator.

**The reduced withholding tax rate applies if the income is not derived from any trade, business, profession or vocation carried on or exercised by the non-resident individual in Singapore. If the income is derived from any trade, business, profession or vocation carried on or exercised by the non-resident individual in Singapore, then the withholding tax rate is 22% for YA 2017 to YA 2023 or 24% from YA 2024.


How can I qualify for tax relief schemes?

Thankfully, there are many tax relief schemes that you can qualify for. By being a mother or signing up for a course to upskill, you are entitled to relief schemes that can help to subtract your taxable income by up to S$80,000. 

Also, as announced in Budget 2024, resident taxpayers will get a 50% personal income tax rebate in YA 2024, capped at S$200. 


1. Save up for retirement 

One of the best ways to qualify for tax reliefs is by essentially saving up for you or your loved one’s retirement, by either making a CPF or SRS top-up. Every S$1 that you put in corresponds to S$1 deducted from your total chargeable income that is used to calculate your taxes.

Tax reliefs Maximum amount
CPF top-up (your SA) S$8,000, capped at current FRS (S$205,800 for 2024)
CPF top-up (your loved ones’ SA/RA) S$8,000, capped at current FRS (S$205,800 for 2024)
CPF top-up (your Medisave) Capped at current BHS (S$71,500 in 2024)
SRS account S$15,300 (Singaporeans) or S$35,700 (foreigners)

 

CPF top-up: 

To qualify for tax relief, you can top up your CPF SA up to S$8,000, and the corresponding amount will be deducted from your chargeable income. On top of that, you can further reduce it by topping up a maximum of S$8,000 to your loved one’s CPF SA and RA. However, you can only top up until you reach the Full Retirement Sum (FRS), which is at S$208,000 in 2023.

SRS top-up:

You can make an SRS contribution to top up your SRS account as many times a year as you like, up to a maximum of S$15,300 for Singaporean citizens/PRs, and S$35,700 for foreigners.

Since the interest rate of your SRS is only at 0.05%, you’re better off investing the funds in that account to avoid depreciation due to inflation.

You don’t need to declare or update anything on your end, since both CPF and the local banks that are operating SRS accounts will automatically report your transactions directly to IRAS. You would also need to make all top-ups by 31 December 2023 to qualify for tax reliefs in 2024.

Medisave top-up:

For cash top-ups to MediSave Account, the amount is subject to your BHS. Once your BHS has been reached, no further top-ups can be made to your MediSave Account. If you exceed your BHS from the top-up,  your top-up will be fully refunded to you.

 

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2. Take care of your children

If you have a child, you are also eligible for several tax reliefs. If you’re a working mother, there are even more reliefs you can qualify for to get the maximum tax deductions.

On top of that, you’re also able to deduct from your chargeable income if you are engaging the help of your parents, grandparents, in-laws and even grandparents-in-law (including ex-spouses) to take care of your children. If you require more help and plan to hire a domestic helper, you’ll be able to receive some tax reliefs under the Foreign Domestic Worker Levy Relief, though it caps at one domestic helper.

Tax reliefs For whom Amount
Qualifying Child Relief Both parents S$4,000 per child (S$7,500 if handicapped)
Working Mother’s Child Relief Working mothers 15% for first child, 20% for second child, 25% for third and subsequent child. 
Grandparent Caregiver Relief Working mothers S$3,000 on your parent, grandparent, parent-in-law, or grandparent-in-law
Foreign Domestic Worker Levy Relief Mothers 2x of maid levy paid (maximum one maid)
Normal: S$7,200 or S$10,800
Concessionary: S$1,440

Aside from tax reliefs, there is also a Parenthood Tax Rebate for parents: S$5,000 for the first child, S$10,000 for the second child and S$20,00 for third and subsequent child.

The government has also made some changes to the relief that parents can qualify for, under the Working Mother Child Relief (WMCR) scheme. The WMCR amount for eligible working mothers in respect of a qualifying child who is a Singapore citizen born or adopted on or after 1 January 2024 is as follows: 

Child Order WMCR Amount (children born or adopted on or after 1 January 2024)
1st S$8,000
2nd S$10,000
3rd and subsequent S$12,000

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3. Care for your dependants

Though filial piety is usually the main reason for taking care of your parents or grandparents especially as they get older, the additional perk of a tax relief makes it a whole lot sweeter. Depending on whether your parents are handicapped or whether you are living with them, the amount of relief given differs.

Though the reliefs are mainly titled ‘Parent Relief’, they also apply to in-laws, grandparents and grandparents-in-law, given that they are not earning more than S$4,000 in year 2023. 

But as announced in Budget 2024, from YA 2025, the annual income threshold of S$4,000 will be increased to S$8,000. 

Tax reliefs Amount per dependent (up to two)
Parent Relief (staying together) S$9,000
Parent Relief (staying apart) S$5,500
Handicapped Parent Relief (staying together) S$14,000
Handicapped Parent Relief (staying apart) S$10,000

Aside from these mentioned, there are also tax reliefs available for caring for your handicapped sibling or spouse. You can check out the details here.

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4. Purchase life Insurance

Who knew that protecting your life could also help in tax reductions?

Under the Life Insurance Relief, anyone who has paid annual insurance premiums on their own life insurance policies will be able to claim for tax reductions. Married men are also eligible if they pay for their spouse’s life insurance premiums.

The catch? Your total contributions in the preceding year have to be less than S$5,000 for you to make the cut, which includes compulsory employee CPF contributions, self-employed Medisave/voluntary CPF contributions and voluntary cash contributions to your Medisave account.

You also won’t be eligible if the premiums you’re paying for are: 

  • Accident or health policies that provide the payment of policy monies on the death of a person
  • ElderShield Plans
  • CareShield Life Plans
  • Integrated Shield Plans
Type of contribution Maximum amount
  • Compulsory employee CPF contribution
  • Self-employed Medisave/voluntary CPF contribution
  • Voluntary cash contribution to your Medisave account
Claim the lower of:
  • The difference between S$5,000 and your CPF contribution 
  • Up to 7% of the insured value of your own/your wife’s life, or the insurance premiums paid

5. Upskill with courses

Though not many are aware, you can actually reduce your taxes by upgrading your skills through courses. The Course Fees Relief encourages everyone to continue to upskill to enhance employability by attending courses that are relevant to their current employment, business, or to gain an academic qualification.

With that said, seminars, courses or workshops for general knowledge and skills or for leisure and hobby are not eligible. This includes attending a lesson to learn how to navigate Microsoft Office or a watercolour workshop based on your own interest.

The Course Fees Relief allows you to claim up to S$5,500 each year including course fees, examination fees and enrolment fees, and will be deducted from your chargeable income. 

Thankfully, you can also defer your claims if you’re upskilling in an area unrelated to your current job. Once you embark on a career change that is relevant to your course, you’ll be able to make the claim from a few years ago.

 

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6. Make a donation (or two!)

Have you got a specific cause that you feel immensely passionate for? You can make a donation to the organisation and get a tax reduction of up to 2.5 times the qualifying donation amount in your next tax season. These are the types of donations that you can make to qualify for tax relief:

  • Cash donations
  • Shares donations
  • Computer donations
  • Artefact donations
  • Public Art Tax Incentive Scheme
  • Land and Building donations

There are so many ways to reduce your taxes legally, with some as easy as making a CPF top-up for yourself or your loved one! Now that updating your claims are out of the way, the next step awaits — tax filing.


Read these more:
Personal Income Tax in Singapore - All You Need To Know
Optimise Your Income Tax, Score Better Investment Returns — Here’s How
Comfortable Retirement Through Tax Optimisation: SRS
A Complete Guide To CPF In Singapore (2023)
CPF Special Account (SA) Shielding: A Hack To Retire Better

A mahjong addict with an undying love for dogs, Deborah is always on the hunt for cheap deals because she is always broke. That is why she is attempting to be more financially savvy to be.. less broke

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