Your Feedback - Our Response

We thank taxpayers for giving us your suggestions and feedback through our various feedback channels. Here are some highlights of your suggestions and feedback, as well as IRAS' follow-up actions.

You can also read highlights of past feedback here

Clear Guidelines

No.
Suggestions and Feedback IRAS' Response 
Information on the Business and IPC Partnership Scheme(BIPS)
BIPS is a new scheme that was introduced in Budget 2016.  Companies feedback that they would like to know more details about the scheme, including the list of participating Institutions of a Public Character (IPCs).
We have included a link to a list of participating IPCs at the BIPS webpage. The “Frequently Asked Questions” section was also updated with answers to common enquiries on BIPS.

Frequently Asked Questions Received During PIC Scheme Seminars
To include answers to FAQs received during PIC scheme seminars in the PIC seminar training materials.

We have added FAQs on PIC IT and automation equipment claims, as well as common mistakes made by businesses to the PIC seminar materials.

Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) Cash Payout Application Process
To provide greater clarity on the application process for the PIC Cash Payout.

We have since provided the following on our website:

A step-by-step user guide for Companies/ Partnerships, Tax Agents and Sole-proprietorships
4

Expenditure Cap for Qualifying Activities under the PIC+ Scheme
To include more examples on how to apply the expenditure cap per qualifying activity under the PIC+ Scheme.

We have published examples on our website illustrating how the amount of combined expenditure cap per qualifying activity would apply in different scenarios. These scenarios would be applicable to companies claiming PIC+.
5Equipment Approved for PIC Claims
To publish examples of IT and automation equipment that have been approved on a case-by-case basis by the Minister or the Comptroller of Income Tax. This would serve as a helpful reference for taxpayers.
We have developed a PIC Equipment Search Function on the Acquisition and Leasing of PIC IT and Automation Equipment webpage. This serves as a quick and easy way to find out whether an equipment qualifies for PIC. New qualifying equipment would be added to the database as and when they are added to the PIC prescribed list.


We have also published a list of examples of IT and Automation Equipment that would qualify for PIC benefits, listed by industry on the same page. This list contains illustrative examples of equipment approved for PIC on a case-by-case basis.

6
Documents Required to Support Out-of-scope Supplies
Out-of-scope supplies refer to supplies which fall outside the scope of the GST Act, such as third country sales of goods which do not enter Singapore. GST is not chargeable on out-of-scope supplies and they need not be reported in the GST return.

GST-registered businesses are required to maintain documents on their sales and purchases.

To provide clarity on the type of documents that businesses are required to maintain for their out-of-scope supplies as there were no published guidelines.
We have published a list of supporting documents for out-of-scope supplies under different scenarios.
 7Open Market Value (OMV)
GST-registered businesses are required to account for output GST based on the Open Market Value (OMV) of an asset when they dispose, transfer or give the asset for free.

To provide the definition of OMV on the website.
We have included the definition of Open Market Value (OMV) of an asset on our website so that businesses are clear on the amount of output GST to account for when disposing, transferring or giving their assets for free.
 8GST treatment for subsidized childcare services
GST-registered businesses providing subsidized child care or training services are often unclear on the correct GST treatment to apply as it depends on whom the subsidies are awarded to.
To provide clearer guidance on the appropriate GST treatment.
We have published the GST treatment for subsidized child care and training services under the Provision of Subsidised Services webpage. The published guidelines will help child care operators and training providers determine the correct GST treatment to apply on their fees and provide certainty to customers. 
 9e-Tax Guide “GST: Fringe Benefits”
Fringe benefits are non-wage benefits provided by employers to their employees as part of their overall remuneration packages.

A revised e-Tax guide “GST: Fringe Benefits” was published on 16 May 2016 to provide clarity to businesses on the eligibility to claim input tax on such non-wage benefits.

To provide specific examples of fringe benefits not covered in the guide.
IRAS has updated the e-Tax guide with more examples. To further ease business burden, IRAS has also extended the list of concessions to allow more fringe benefits claims e.g. provision of temporary accommodation for foreign employees.
 10Annual Property Tax Bills
To improve the readability of the Property Tax Bills.
We have redesigned the annual property tax bills with a bigger font size, cleaner layout and a clear call-to-action to make payments.
 11Personal Income Tax Relief Eligibility
To provide taxpayers with greater clarity on their eligibility for personal income tax reliefs
We have launched an interactive Personal Reliefs Eligibility Tool for immediate eligibility checks during the 2016 Individual Income Tax Season.
 
Taxpayers are able to verify if they meet the qualifying conditions for the reliefs they wish to claim (e.g. Qualifying Child Relief, Grandparent Caregiver Relief, Foreign Maid Levy Relief). The Personal Reliefs Eligibility Tool has served almost 10,000 taxpayers.

Standard personal reliefs (e.g. Earned Income Relief, NSman Relief) continue to be automatically granted.
 12Filing Information for Individual Income Tax
To present information on the filing of Individual Income Tax in a clearer and more concise manner.
We have launched dedicated webpages (i) “Tax Season 2016 – All You Need To Know” and (ii) “Tax Season 2016 – About Your Tax Bill”
Taxpayers may refer to these webpages for a one-stop overview of (i) the key things to note about individual income tax filing, and (ii) what to expect after submitting their individual income tax return, respectively. There are also links to more detailed information, if taxpayers wish to learn more.
 13Guidance on e-filing Tax Clearance
To provide more guidance to employers on e-filing their tax clearance.
An e-learning video on Tax Clearance was released in Sep 2016. This video provides information on employer’s obligations and a step-by-step guide on the e-Filing of tax clearance.

 

Simple way to comply 

No. Suggestions and Feedback IRAS' Response 
Restriction on the Number of PIC Qualifying Items Claimable per Application
Companies can only claim up to 15 PIC qualifying items per application via e-Filing of PIC Cash Payout. Taxpayers with PIC-qualifying expenditure of more than 15 items would have to file multiple applications.

To consider lifting the restriction on the number of PIC qualifying items claimed per application.
The restriction was set to optimise the performance and design of the e-Service as most taxpayers claim PIC on just a few items and are not affected by the restriction. Taxpayers with more than 15 items can consolidate the items (e.g. by vendor or by type of equipment) in their application.

Information on this system limitation can be found in the step-by-step user guides for both companies and tax agents. We have also highlighted the limitation on our compulsory e-Filing page and suggested for taxpayer to consolidate items (e.g. by vendor) in their application.
 2

S45 Filing Draft Retention Period
A draft for S45 withholding tax filing would be kept in the e-Service for only 14 days. To consider increasing the retention period.

We have increased the retention period from 14 days to 60 days with effect from 03 Jan 2017.
 3

Hand-carried export scheme (HCES)
The HCES allows GST-registered businesses to zero-rate their supplies to overseas commercial customers for goods hand-carried out of Singapore via Changi Airport. One of the requirements under HCES is that the supplier must obtain a copy of the endorsed export permit from the carrier within 60 days.

To allow GST claims for such exports via the electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS) instead, as the cost of applying for the export permit through a freight forwarder/ shipping company may outweigh the GST involved.

The suggestion was rejected as the two GST schemes serve different purposes. The eTRS allows tourists who purchase goods locally to claim the GST before departing Singapore, while the HCES is specifically designed for commercial sales where suppliers have the option not to collect GST upfront on their sales of goods which are hand-carried out of Singapore (i.e. exported).

If the cost of applying for the export permit through a freight forwarder/shipping company is a concern, businesses may register with TradeNet for direct permit declarations which will be cost-effective in the long run.
 4Consolidated Property Tax Statement for Large Corporate Owners
Currently, all owners are able to access an electronic version of their properties’ tax information on a unit by unit basis.
To provide an additional function to view the information by developments instead, as some corporate owners have very large property portfolios.
We have launched a new e-Service to allow large corporate property owners to retrieve a consolidated statement for their developments when their properties are being reassessed or during the issuance of the annual PT bills. Large corporate owners are also able to export the information to a spreadsheet, allowing the property managers to store the information for record-keeping and analysis.
 5Resetting of password for e-Stamping Registered Users
Upon the request for a password reset, e-Stamping Registered Users will receive their passwords by post in about 5 working days. To provide a more efficient alternative as there may be cases where documents need to be stamped urgently.

e-Stamping Registered Users are now able to reset their passwords on-the-spot at the Taxpayer Service Centre with an authorisation form from their company.


 6Declaration of Rental Income
To simplify the process of declaring rental expenses.
We have simplified the declaration of rental income by pre-filling rental expenses from the 2016 Individual Income Tax season. In the online tax form, an amount of deemed rental expenses calculated based on 15% of the gross rent is pre-filled. In addition, taxpayers can still claim mortgage interest on the loan taken to purchase the tenanted property. Alternatively, taxpayers can choose to claim the amount of actual rental expenses incurred.
 7Individual Income Tax Bill
To provide taxpayers with greater certainty of their tax bill (Notice of Assessment) the moment they have filed their returns.

From 2016, taxpayers who are on the No-Filing Service (NFS) scheme i.e. not required to file, can preview their tax bill and request an early assessment. This is provided that taxpayers have no changes to their pre-filled income and relief claims.

Upon request, these taxpayers will be able to view their tax bills online within three working days. For taxpayers on the GIRO payment scheme, opting for an early assessment provides them with more certainty on their tax payments as their GIRO instalment plans will be based on their actual tax payments instead of a provisional instalment plan.
 8 Revising Personal Income Tax Assessments
To provide taxpayers greater convenience in requesting for amendments to their tax bill
We have launched an “Object to Assessment” e-Service for eligible taxpayers to request for amendments to their individual income tax bills online, via myTax Portal.
The electronic form takes 5-10 minutes to complete, and taxpayers will receive the revised Tax Bill by post or an update on the status of their objection within 10 working days.
9 

Tax Clearance (IR21) e-Service

To simplify the tax clearance e-Filing process for employers to notify IRAS of the ceasing of the employment of their employees.

Employers can now make use of the enhanced e-Service to facilitate their filing of tax clearance for this group of employees. The e-Service has been shortened from 5 pages to 2 pages, and employers would be able to get instant clearance for employees not subject to tax.

The e-Service has been further enhanced to allow reporting of these employee’s income, eliminating the need to report the same information during the e-Submission process for the Auto-Inclusion Scheme/IR8A documents.