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Note these tax-saving tips

The Straits Times | Lorna Tan | Monday, Mar 20, 2017

People queueing to file their tax returns at the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore's office in Newton Road on April 13 last year as the deadline for filing taxes loomed. Skip the queues and file your taxes online instead.

Photo: The Straits Times

Taxpayers can claim personal reliefs and rebates if they are Singapore tax residents and have met the qualifying conditions in the year ended Dec 31 last year. Here are some reliefs and rebates to look out for when filing your taxes.

RELIEFS FOR TAXPAYERS SUPPORTING PARENTS/HANDICAPPED PARENTS

Taxpayers can claim for Parent Relief up to $9,000 per dependant if they live with the dependant (or $5,500 if they do not live with the dependant) or Handicapped Parent Relief of up to $14,000 per dependant if he lives with the dependant (or $10,000 if he does not live with the dependant).

This relief can be claimed on up to two dependants and can be shared between claimants on an agreed apportionment.

A dependant includes your spouse's or your father, mother, grandparent and great-grandparent.

Tax relief guide.Photo: The Straits Times

RELIEFS AND REBATES FOR TAXPAYERS WITH CHILDREN

Qualifying Child Relief/Handicapped Child Relief/Parenthood Tax Rebate Parents can claim Qualifying Child Relief (QCR) of $4,000 per child or Handicapped Child Relief (HCR) of $7,500 per child, which can be shared between the husband and wife.

The Parenthood Tax Rebate, a one-off claim parents can make after the kid is born, allows taxpayers to claim rebates ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 per child, depending on the child's birth order.

Working Mother's Child Relief (WMCR)/Foreign Maid Levy Relief/Grandparent Caregiver Relief A working mother can also enjoy Working Mother's Child Relief ranging from 15 per cent to 25 per cent of her earned income, depending on how many kids she has. Do note that QCR or HCR plus WMCR is capped at $50,000 per child.

The child has to be below 16 years of age or studying full time at any university, college or educational institution at any time last year, and the child should not have earned an annual income exceeding $4,000 last year.

Annual income includes taxable income (for example, from trade, employment, national service allowances and rental); tax-exempt income (such as bank interest, dividends and pensions), foreign-sourced income (regardless of whether it has been remitted to Singapore); and income from internship and attachment. If working mothers have a foreign domestic worker or their parents/grandparents/ parents-in-law/grandparents-in-law are taking care of the children, they can also claim Foreign Maid Levy Relief and Grandparent Caregiver Relief (GCR).

Get face-to-face help at Iras this month by making an appointment online. Photo: Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore

For GCR, you will need to satisfy the condition of being a working mother who is married, divorced or widowed.

Another condition is that your parent, grandparent, parent-in-law or grandparent-in-law (including that of ex-spouse) was living in Singapore last year.

In the case of a foreign dependant, generally, if he lived in Singapore for a period of at least eight months last year, he will be regarded as living here.

You qualify if any of your children is a Singapore citizen, 12 years old and below last year, and the caregiver was not working or carrying on any trade, business, profession, or vocation last year. One condition is that no one else has claimed GCR on the same caregiver.

COURSE FEE RELIEF

Taxpayers can claim Course Fee Relief of up to $5,500 each year for any course, seminar or conference leading to an approved academic, professional or vocational qualification, or relating to their current employment, trade, business, profession or vocation.

OTHER TAX RELIEFS

For details of the qualifying conditions and other tax reliefs available, please visit iras.gov.sg >Individuals >Locals >Deductions for Individuals (Reliefs, Expenses, Donations). Taxpayers can check their eligibility for personal reliefs or rebates using the Personal Reliefs Eligibility Tool and Parenthood Tax Rebate Eligibility Tool.


This article was first published on Mar 19, 2017.
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