Singaporeans & Singapore Residents: Here’s how to pay less taxes, legally

  • Pay less-or-no taxes without worry, with all these legal options
  • You can save between 40-100% in tax payment, look for illustration on step #3
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Pay less tax = more savings = buy brand new iPhone each year / travelling / more savings! The choice is yours!

While the relief lists below are mostly applicable to both of you who are Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents, but (some of) the list are also applicable those who are on Employment / Working Pass.

Talking about tax, well… I bet most of you are lazy to even think about it (tax) let alone talk about it (tax). Most of you let the Government take out your hard-earned money from your pocket without you giving a fight for it.

Road Trip to New Zealand Southern Most Point
I used the saving from taxes to fly to New Zealand. You too, can!

Please don’t be lazy and please put a fight to your own hard-earned money. And I would assume that’s the reason you are stumble here into this article. In short, I can tell you, if you do all the steps laid down here in this article, the end outcome will be worthy your time (spent for reading the article and act on it) and worthy your hard-earned money. Last year I paid less 40% taxes to the Government despite getting salary increase. In some cases, even you can pay less 100% taxes to the Government. Don’t take my word for it. I have the illustration for you.

For your information: I am not a Tax consultant nor someone who are expert in Tax. I am just a normal person who like to put a fight on my hard-earned money, utilizing all the options given by the Government to evade or pay less tax legally.
All tax related information written here is true at the time when this article is written, however you MUST ensure yourself that the information is still valid and true – on each item (whenever applicable), link to the official Government website is provided so that you can easily cross-check and ensure the validity.

All in all, I won’t take any responsibilities for any kind of losses/damages that may incur and/or occurred to you from reading and following what’s written on this article. Do it on your own risk.

Here’s how you can Pay Less Taxes in Singapore

Pay less taxes with these 3 steps:

1) Know your tax bracket.

2) Maximize the reliefs you can get.

3) Calculate your tax outcome.

And repeat until you get the number you want to pay tax for.


In case you are having difficulty reading this article, do consider to open it on your PC/Mac browser or if you are using mobile phone, try open the actual page – and not the Google AMP page.


#1: Know your tax bracket

Knowing the tax bracket and where you are in the tax bracket will reveal you how to maximize your tax savings.

Here are the available Singapore Tax bracket.

Tax BracketChargeable IncomeIncome Tax Rate (%)Gross Tax Payable ($)
1First $20,000
Next $10,000
0
2
0
200
2First $30,000
Next $10,000

3.50
200
350
3First $40,000
Next $40,000

7
550
2,800
4First $80,000
Next $40,000

11.5
3,350
4,600
5First $120,000
Next $40,000

15
7,950
6,000
6First $160,000
Next $40,000

18
13,950
7,200
7First $200,000
Next $40,000

19
21,150
7,600
8First $240,000
Next $40,000

19.5
28,750
7,800
9First $280,000
Next $40,000

20
36,550
8,000
10First $320,000
In excess of $320,000

22
44,550

For your information: All the tax bracket numbers above is coming from Singapore IRA official website, here: https://www.iras.gov.sg/irashome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Income-Tax-Rates/

Under which number is your tax bracket? Using the information above, you can roughly calculate how much you need to pay for the next year tax assessment. And using the information below on step #2, you can lower the tax you need to pay and even shift to a lower tax bracket.

Chargeable income is all your income combined, that includes income & bonus from your employer, income from your blogging, vlogging activities, income from your other jobs.

#2: Maximize the reliefs you can get

Singapore Government and IRAS have a long list of tax reliefs you can get, some of them are automatically granted during each tax year while some requires your actions. Below are the full list of tax reliefs from IRAS.

Do take your time to read and understand all these entries in the list. In case you need help, feel free to reach me by commenting on the comment section down below, I’ll be gladly to help – free of charge!

For your information: There’s a tax relief cap of $80,000 applies to the total amount of all tax reliefs claimed (including any relief on cash top-ups made). Read here for more details: https://www.iras.gov.sg/irashome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals–Reliefs–Expenses–Donations-/#title8.

Tax ReliefDescription
Course Fees Relief For those who are taking courses and get professional certifications, can get up to $5,500 in tax relief.

For more details, you can have it checked here:
https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/Course-Fees-Relief/
CPF Cash Topup Relief You can get up to $49,000 (can be more or less) in tax relief if you are topping up CPF: $7,000 to your own CPF account and $7,000 to your spouse, parents, grandparents, siblings CPF account.

Yourself + 1 spouse + 2 parents + 2 grandparents + 1 sibling = 7 persons, if for each person, you do cash top-up $7,000, that’s $49,000 in total. You can add/subtract the number of persons based on your conditions.

Since CPF is basically pension account which earn interest, the earlier you topping up, the more benefit (read: interest) you are getting. Do it the earliest possible.

For more details, you can have it checked here:
https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/CPF-Cash-Top-up-Relief/
CPF Relief Another CPF relief, how much you can get depends on how much your CPF contributions are. If you are contibuting $20,000 to CPF account, then you’ll get $20,000 in tax relief.

For better understanding, do check the following link:

if you are employee:
https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/CPF–Central-Provident-Fund–Relief-for-Employees/
If your employer is participants of auto-inclusion scheme, you don’t need to file this relief as it will be auto-inluded as part of tax relief.

If you are self-employed:
https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/CPF–Central-Provident-Fund–Relief-for-Self-Employed/
Earned Income Relief If you are below 55 years old, you’ll get $1,000 in tax relief
If you are 55-59 years old, you’ll get $6,000 in tax relief
If you are 60 years old and above, you’ll get $8,000 in tax relief
This Earned Income relief is auto-included as part of relief on each year Income tax.

For more details, you can have it checked here:
https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/Earned-Income-Relief/
Foreign Maid Levy Relief To encourage woman to stay in the workforce, if you have foreign maid, you can get up to $1,440 in tax relief. This relief is only applicable for woman.

For more details, you can have it checked here:
https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/Foreign-Maid-Levy–FML–Relief/
Grandparent Caregiver ReliefYou can get $3,000 in tax relief if you are a working mother and have parent / grandparent is looking after your child.

For more details, you can have it checked here:
https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/Grandparent-Caregiver-Relief/
Handicapped brother and sister Relief You can get up to $5,500 in tax relief if you have and support your handicapped siblings/siblings-in-law.

For more details, you can have it checked here:
https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/Handicapped-Brother/Sister-Relief/
Life Insurance Relief You can get up to $5,000 in tax relief if you are paying life insurance and at the same time your compulsory CPF contribution was less than $5,000.

For more details, you can have it checked here:
https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/Life-Insurance-Relief/
NSMan Relief If you are NSman, you can get from $1,500 to $5,000 in tax relief. If your are married, your wife can get $750 in tax relief. Your parents, each can get $750 in tax relief as well.

For more details, you can have it checked here:
https://www.iras.gov.sg/irashome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/NSman-Relief–Self–Wife-and-Parent-/
Parents Relief You can get from $5,500 to $9,000 in tax relief if you are staying/taking care of your parents/grandparents.

For more details, you can have it checked here:
https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/Parent-Relief-/-Handicapped-Parent-Relief/
Spouse Relief If you are married and your spouse is not working or has annual salary not exceeding $4,000, you can get $2,000 in tax relief.

For more details, you can have it checked here:
https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/Spouse-Relief/-Handicapped-Spouse-Relief/
SRS (Supplementary Retirement Scheme) Relief SRS is basically Government initiatives to encourage people to save more for retirement, apart from contributions made to CPF. SRS is tax free before withdrawal. You can get up to $37,500 in tax relief if you contribute up to the same amount.

For more details, you can have it checked here:
https://www.iras.gov.sg/irashome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Special-tax-schemes/Supplementary-Retirement-Scheme–SRS-/SRS-contributions/
Qualifying Child Relief If you have child below 16 years old or child doesn’t have annual income more than $4,000 or child is doing full time study at university, college, or any other educational institution, you can get $4,000/child in tax relief.

For more details, you can have it checked here:
https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/Qualifying-Child-Relief–QCR–/-Handicapped-Child-Relief–HCR-/
Working Mother Child Relief If you are working woman with child, you can get up to 15% tax relief of your annual salary for 1st child, 20% tax relief of your annual salary for 2nd child, and 25% tax relief of your annual salary for 3rd child and beyond. This tax relief is only applicable for woman.

For more details, you can have it checked here:
https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/Working-Mother-s-Child-Relief–WMCR-/

So, do you know which reliefs you would like to get and claim?

#3: Calculate your tax outcome

Here’s the myth: Bigger Salary is always incur Bigger Income Tax. The myth is proven to be wrong, especially here in Singapore, where maximizing all the reliefs you can get, Bigger Salary may not always incur Bigger Income Tax

Now using the tax bracket info from step #1 and list of reliefs from step #2, let me show you some illustration and calculation on the possible tax outcome you may have. You can use the template I have below to calculate your own tax outcome.

For illustration purposes, I won’t use all the reliefs on step #2, since it’s going to be super massive. Instead, I’m going to just use the following tax reliefs as example for the illustration – so you get the idea and can calculate your tax outcome based on reliefs you can get/claim.

  • CPF Cash Topup Relief
  • CPF Relief(*)
  • Earned Income Relief(*)
  • SRS (Supplementary Retirement Scheme) Relief

The one with (*), is auto-tax-deducted if you are Singapore citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents.

Illustration 1: Annual income $36,000 (Monthly income $3,000) ~ 100% tax savings

If my salary is $3,000 per month. And if I’m maximizing my CPF Top-up contribution as much as $7,000, plus I do topping-up my SRS account for $10,000, I’m getting a 100% saving on my income tax. Which translate to: I don’t pay any income tax and it’s perfectly legal!

Here’s the illustration.

ItemWithout Tax CutWith Tax Cut
Annual Salary$36,000$36,000
CPF Topup Relief for Self$7,000
CPF Topup Relief for Family
CPF Relief (*)$7,200$7,200
Earned Income Relief (*)$1,000$1,000
SRS Relief$10,000
Total chargable income for tax (Annual Salary – Reliefs)$27,800$10,800
Tax bracket category11
Payable taxFirst $20,000: $0First $10,800: $0
Next $7,800: $156Next $0: $0
Total tax payable $156$0
Percentage tax saving100%

Illustration 2: Annual income $120,000 (Monthly income $10,000) ~ 40% tax savings

If my salary is $10,000 per month. And if I’m maximizing my CPF Top-up contribution as much as $7,000, and I do CPF Top-up for my spouse for another $7,000 plus I do topping-up my SRS as much as $10,000, I’m getting a 40%+ saving on my income tax.

Here’s the illustration.

ItemWithout Tax CutWith Tax Cut
Annual Salary$120,000$120,000
CPF Topup Relief for Self$7,000
CPF Topup Relief for Family$7,000
CPF Relief (*)$14,400$14,400
Earned Income Relief (*)$1,000$1,000
SRS Relief$10,000
Total chargable income for tax (Annual Salary – Reliefs)$104,600$80,600
Tax bracket category44
Payable taxFirst $80,000: $3,350First $80,000: $3,350
Next $24,600: $2,829Next $600: $69
Total tax payable $6,179$3,419
Percentage tax saving44.67%

When you see the difference in amount of tax payable on the illustration above, that’s $2,000+ different.

apple iphone 12 spec blast past fast jilaxzone.com
With tax savings, I can buy a new iPhone each year. Image courtesy of Apple.com.

Now with that $2,000+ different, you can either buy a new iPhone or go travelling somewhere else on the money saved.

Act now. Don’t wait.

luge at sentosa jilaxzone.com
Don’ t wait. Act now and like me today, have fun on tax savings!

Current year is going to end soon, so if you plan to really save your money by paying less taxes legally, do NOT delay! Start to research on all the options available above and play around with your own number.

For myself, this year, I have done it and now waiting to enjoy the tax savings!


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