14 May 2012
Mr Thien Boon Chung asked why only female taxpayers are entitled to personal income tax reliefs like foreign maid levy relief, grandparent caregiver relief, and working mother's child relief (“Review gender-bias taxes to encourage men to share parenting”, 4 May 2012).
Personal income tax reliefs and rebates are generally gender-neutral. Examples include the earned income relief, spouse relief, and qualifying child relief. However, some reliefs and rebates are meant to promote specific social and economic objectives. For example, the three reliefs claimable by female taxpayers only are to encourage married women, even after having children, to remain in the workforce.
Mr Thien asked why men could no longer claim alimony or maintenance payments as spouse relief from the Year of Assessment (YA) 2012.
From YA 2012, all alimony or maintenance payments will no longer be taxable in the hands of the ex-spouse. Correspondingly, the ex-husband can no longer claim spouse relief for such payments. This change is better aligned with the policy intent of spouse relief, which is meant as recognition for taxpayers who support their spouses in intact families.
We thank Mr Thien for the opportunity to clarify.
Claire Chua (Mrs)
Director (Corporate Communications)
Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore