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Personal Finance

Last Chance to Lower Your Taxes: 3 tips for the End of the Year

16 Dec 2022

We share 3 ways to reduce your tax bill - make a CPF cash top-up, contribute to SRS and donate to an approved charity.

We’re down to the last 15 days before the end of the year!

Apart from reflecting about whether our resolutions for 2022 have been achieved, there are a few things to do as a savvy Singaporean!

Today, we start by looking at how we can lower our taxes paid in a legal way! 

For most of us, the personal income tax to be paid would be based largely on our earned income. 

The tax rate for year of assessment 2023 (ie income earned from 1 Jan 2022 to 31 December 2022) can be seen from the table below. 

For example, if you have a chargeable income of $120,000, the gross tax payable will be $7,950.

Source: IRAS

 

However, there are various ways that we can use to lower our chargeable income. 

The list of tax reliefs, rebates and deductions is shown in the diagram below, and details can be found on the IRAS website.

Redesigned Tax Bill
Source: IRAS

 

Three ways to pay lower taxes legally

We wanted to share three ways to lower your chargeable income:

  1. Make a Central Provident Fund (CPF) Cash Top-up 
  • Make a Contribution to CPF Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) 
  1. Donate to an Approved Charity

#1 Make a Central Provident Fund (CPF) Cash Top-up 

You can top-up your own CPF accounts or those of family members, to enjoy a tax relief. 

To qualify for tax relief for YA 2023, the cash top-ups should be made in 2022.

The maximum CPF Cash Top-up Relief per YA is S$16,000 

This would include a maximum S$8,000 for self, and maximum S$8,000 for family members. 

CPF Cash Top-ups go into CPF Special Account (SA) and Retirement Account (RA) which currently offer an interest of 4% per annum.

We shared earlier about how the interest rate on your CPF savings are calculated.

Source: IRAS

#2 - Make a Contribution to CPF Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) 

The maximum SRS contribution you can contribute each year is S$15,300 for Singapore Citizens/PR and S$35,700 for foreigners. 

All SRS contributions must be made by 31 December to be eligible for SRS tax relief in the following YA. 

You can then use the funds in the SRS account for various investments. 

We shared how you can use the CPF SRS account to voluntarily save for retirement and complement your CPF savings here.

Source: IRAS

#3 Make a Charity Donation 

You can do good while lowering your tax payable by donating to Community Chest or any approved Institution of a Public Character (IPC).

To encourage Singaporeans to give back to the community, you can now enjoy tax deductions 2.5 times the qualifying donation amount till 31 December 2023.

Donations must be made before the year ends for the tax deduction to be allowed in the next tax season. 

However, if you’re thinking that making a charity donation can provide you with net savings, then let’s use some math to show why that’s not the case. 

If you earned $100,000 and donated $10,000 to an IPC, you assessable income will fall to $75,000.

Based on the previous assessable income of $100,000, your tax payable would be $5,650.

With the lower assessable income of $75,000, your tax payable would be $3,000. 

You would have lowered your tax payable by $2,650 with your $10,000 donation, but you will still be donating more than gotten back from tax savings. 

So to consider using this for tax savings purposes, you must be genuinely interested in donating to start with! 

Table

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Source: IRAS

 

In between my Christmas shopping, I’m looking at various ways to reduce my tax bill before the end of the year. 

Here’s one final tip to take note of – a personal income tax relief cap of $80,000 applies to the total amount of all tax reliefs claimed for each year of assessment. 

Hence, we need to evaluate whether we’d benefit from tax relief before we make the cash top-up! 

This is especially important as there will be no refund for accepted cash top-up monies. 

Now that you might be able to achieve some tax savings, find out what’s the best fixed deposit rate in Singapore to earn a higher return on your money!

Happy holidays and have a blessed holiday season!

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