Tax Season 2019 - Transforming the Taxpaying Experience – Connecting Digitally, Leveraging Data Intelligently

29 Apr 2019

96% of taxpayers submitted their individual income tax returns by 18 Apr 2019. The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) thanks taxpayers for submitting their tax returns on-time and for their contributions towards nation building.

Income Tax Filing Highlights

More than 97% of taxpayers who filed their tax returns did so electronically. 26.7% of taxpayers used their mobile devices to access myTax Portal to file or view their tax returns on-the-go.

Tax Filing Stats 2019

This year, 212,000 taxpayers received an early or instantaneous tax bill. This is an ongoing initiative by IRAS for the early finalisation of assessments so that taxpayers can plan ahead financially with greater certainty on their tax payments. 

Taxpayer-Centric Services: A Key Shift in the IRAS Experience

As part of its transformation agenda, IRAS has rolled out interaction analytics across its service touchpoints and simplified tax filing by pre-filling more fields in tax returns where possible. It has also leveraged digital interaction channels to increase customer service efficiency and resolve taxpayer’s issue at the first contact. This underscores IRAS’ commitment to transform the taxpaying experience to deliver more personalised services.

Digital Interaction Channels

Through the convenience of e-services on myTax Portal and digital interaction channels such as the IRAS virtual assistant “Ask Jamie”, taxpayers were able to get instant answers for general tax enquiries. For case-specific enquiries, taxpayers were able to authenticate their SingPass while staying engaged with “Ask Jamie”. Taxpayers who begin their enquiry with “Ask Jamie” could also opt to escalate case-specific enquiries (such as checking their tax balance and filing status) to an IRAS officer via the IRAS Live Chat function seamlessly.

Compared to 2018, IRAS received 58,000 more enquiries on its digital interaction channels this tax season, an increase of 66.8%. This was accompanied by a decline in the number of calls and visits by 11.7% and 11.1% respectively. 

Customised Assistance Through Data Analytics

IRAS delivered greater service customisation this tax season by leveraging interaction analytics and forecasting technology. For instance, IRAS analysed the profile of returning taxpayers at its Taxpayer Business and Service Centre who are likely to require filing assistance, and encouraged them to make e-appointments prior to their visit. IRAS also pre-empted the nature of enquiries by identifying recurring key phrases across IRAS’ digital interaction channels. In addition, by identifying the reasons for repeat contact from the same taxpayer, IRAS is able to tailor its responses to better address taxpayers’ needs.

Simplifying the Tax Filing Experience

  • Pre-filling and Auto-Apportionment of Child Relief

Around 42,000 parents of children born in 2018 enjoyed the convenience of having their child relief automatically pre-filled on a 50:50 basis in their electronic tax returns this year.

  • Simplified Tax Filing for Taxi and Private Hire Car Drivers

Some 11,000 taxi and private-hire car drivers opted to have IRAS pre-fill their income in their individual income tax returns by IRAS this year.

Close to 70% of taxi and private-hire car drivers who filed their taxes opted for the 60% deemed business expenses (viz 60% of fare revenue deemed as expenses) for computation of their tax deductions this year. Drivers who have chosen instead to claim tax deductions based on the actual amount of car expenses incurred must retain business records for 5 years, and provide IRAS with the relevant supporting documents when requested.

Digital Bills

About 350,000 taxpayers have chosen to go green by opting in to receive electronic tax bills instead of paper bills this year. This digital initiative aims to deliver greater convenience, security and timeliness to taxpayers. When taxpayers choose to go electronic, they will receive an SMS to notify them when their electronic tax bill is ready for viewing. Taxpayers who wish to opt in for electronic tax bills immediately can set their e-Notice preferences when they log in to myTax Portal.

IRAS will continue to collaborate with partners and industry stakeholders to bring about greater convenience in tax filing and make it easier for taxpayers to fulfil their tax filing obligations.

Getting the tax bill

Taxpayers will be receiving their tax bills (Notices of Assessment) for the Year of Assessment (YA) 2019 between Apr and Sep 2019. Taxpayers who have updated their mobile numbers with IRAS will receive SMS alerts when their tax bills are ready.

A 5% penalty will be imposed if the tax is not paid within 30 days. Any appeal for waiver of the penalty can only be made online via the “Request Penalty Waiver” e-Service at (e-Services > Individuals) after the tax is paid. By Aug 2019, IRAS would also introduce the automated penalty waiver service via the Enforcement helpline at 6356 7012.

Leveraging Digital Payment Modes

With cashless payments gaining momentum in Singapore, taxpayers are encouraged to use cashless or electronic payment modes such as GIRO. Taxpayers who pay their taxes via GIRO may enjoy up to 12 monthly interest-free instalments.

Apart from stamp duty payments, cheque collections for taxes are no longer accepted at all SingPost branches from 1 Mar 2019.

Taxpayers may apply for GIRO via:

  •  myTax Portal (for DBS/POSB and OCBC customers); or

  • Internet Banking (for DBS/POSB, OCBC and UOB customers); or

  • AXS stations (for DBS/POSB customers) 

  • GIRO application form on IRAS Website (for customers of all other banks)

By end of 2019, taxpayers who apply for GIRO via myTax Portal can look forward to immediate approval of their instalment plan and view their instalment schedule by the next working day.     

Late Filing Fees

Taxpayers who have yet to file their tax returns should do so immediately. Those who require tax filing assistance can:

There is a late filing fee of up to $1,000. Any appeal for waiver of late filing fee can only be made online via the “Request Penalty Waiver” e-Service at (e-Services > Individuals) after the tax return has been filed.