The Singapore tax season traditionally starts in March to April when annual tax filing begins for both nationals and foreigners. However, the recent health emergency triggered by the coronavirus outbreak has caused changes to deadlines and affected this year’s tax payments, filing procedures, and schedules.

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In this regard, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) has recently informed taxpayers about a set of new guidelines. This article will help shed some light on these changes to help individuals understand how IRAS is dealing with this unprecedented situation.

Deadline Extensions and Payment Deferments for IRAS Income Tax

On a regular year, income taxes in Singapore must be filed before April 18 if the tax return is sent online and before April 15 in case of a paper filing.  To support taxpayers during this time of financial and economic distress, the IRAS has extended filing deadlines for income taxes to May 31, 2020.

This extension applies not just to individuals, but also to sole proprietorships and partnerships while the possibility of applying for GIRO 12-month interest-free financing continues to be available for taxpayers in Singapore.

In addition to these extensions, employed and self-employed individuals who choose to pay for their income tax through a one-time payment were granted with a 3-month payment deferment. 

This means that payments that were initially set for May, June, and July 2020 will be deferred to August, September, and October 2020, and the same applies for GIRO deductions, which will also be deferred for a period of 3 months.

It is important to note that these extensions and payment deferments do not require an application if you are a self-employed individual. Meanwhile, employed individuals do have to sign up for the program by clicking here.

In addition, you can estimate your tax bill by using IRAS’ income tax calculator, even though the calculator will provide a mere approximation to the actual amount to be paid, as certain elements such as potential deductions and reliefs vary from one individual case to the other.

These are the two versions of IRAS’ income tax calculator:

Circuit Breaker Measures and IRAS Income Tax Filing for YA 2020

Following the Singapore government’s prevention protocols and guidelines to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country, IRAS has also decided to temporarily close its counter services.

In line with the enhanced circuit breaker measures, both the e-Filing Service Centre (EFSC) and the Taxpayer and Business Service Centre (TBSC) at Revenue House will not be opened until June 1.

This means that all IRAS income tax returns must be filed online by using IRAS’ MyTax portal and following the guidelines available on their website.

Seeking Professional Advice for Filing Income Tax in Singapore

Taxpayers who are having a hard time calculating their IRAS income tax for 2020 may consider consulting with a tax expert for advice on the accurate filing of tax returns to save money and time. For more information on changes to tax processes, schedules and support, please see our PWCO Singapore Budget 2020 summaries.

Seeking professional tax services ensures compliance with the fast-changing tax regulations in Singapore caused by the pandemic situation. For expatriate employees and foreigners, hiring a tax agent to handle income tax matters is a good option for cost efficiency and to further simplify the tax filing process.

Esther Mok
Tax Principal , Paul Wan & Co.
Esther Mok is a Fellow member of The Association of International Accountants, UK and an Approved Accredited Tax Advisor specializing in both Income Tax and GST with Singapore Institute of Accredited Tax Professionals (SIATP). She has behind her more than 20 years of tax experience dealing with international and local clients.
em@pwco.com.sg
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Esther Mok
Tax Principal , Paul Wan & Co.
Esther Mok is a Fellow member of The Association of International Accountants, UK and an Approved Accredited Tax Advisor specializing in both Income Tax and GST with Singapore Institute of Accredited Tax Professionals (SIATP). She has behind her more than 20 years of tax experience dealing with international and local clients.
em@pwco.com.sg
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