Any CPF contribution you make will receive tax relief, which helps to lower your net taxable income.
So you bought your client lunch but your boss won’t reimburse you for it. If you incurred such expenses while carrying out your job – just make sure the expenses are not capital or private in nature – you should keep your receipts and claim them under your allowable expenses. According to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras), apart from entertainment expenses for your clients (particularly important for those who entertain often), you can also claim for transport expenses on public transport, subscriptions paid to professional bodies or societies, and even religious dues such as for a mosque-building fund. Singapore is big on productivity and encourages continual training and learning. So, if you’ve signed up for courses to upgrade your skills, Iras will give you props for enhancing your employability by letting you claim Course Fees Relief.
This benefit is only for those currently, or previously, working and who are attending long- or short-term courses that lead to an approved academic or professional qualification. It doesn’t apply to those who are studying for a diploma or university degree and have not worked previously.
So, if you are studying for your masters, which easily costs anything from $15,000 to more than $30,000, consider spreading out your course fees payment over different years, so that you can claim the maximum $5,500 a year. If you decide to pay the fees in full – though this is less common – you can also divide the fees equally over the period of the course. For example, shelling out $21,000 for a three-year masters programme works out to $7,000 a year. However, you can only claim a maximum of $5,500 a year. Many people already know about the CPF cash top-up relief, an incentive to encourage Singaporean citizens and Permanent Residents to top up their Retirement or Special Account with cash. You also enjoy the same relief if you top up your family members’ accounts.
For most people who are employees in a company, you already get monthly contributions to your CPF accounts. Thus, you also automatically enjoy the CPF contribution relief. However, if you are self-employed or work freelance, you are not legally obligated to contribute to your CPF account, except for your Medisave account.
Remember, any CPF contribution you make will receive tax relief, which helps to lower your net taxable income. As a selfemployed person, you can voluntarily contribute to your Ordinary Account.
This comes in handy if you’re servicing a housing loan. If you’re currently paying for your property with cash, consider topping up your Ordinary Account and using that to pay for your property instead. That way, you’ll get to enjoy the CPF cash top-up relief!
But do remember that once you’ve sold off your property, proceeds of the sale will first go towards paying back the CPF money that you’ve utilised, with interest. If you’ve supported dependants like your parents, grandparents or great-grandparents by spending or giving an allowance of at least $2,000 in 2014, you can enjoy this tax relief as a pat on your back for your filial piety. The dependant has to be living in Singapore in 2014, aged 55 years or above (this rule is waived if the dependant is physically or mentally disabled) and he or she made no more than $4,000 in 2014, be it from trade, employment, property rental income for bank interest, dividends and pensions, and money made abroad (eg from rental of an overseas property).
Do note: If you have several siblings all supporting your parent, only one sibling can make the claim or you can split the Parent Relief. If your parent is living with you, you can claim $9,000 for each dependant ($14,000 if your parent is handicapped). If your parent is not, you can still claim $5,500 for each dependant ($10,000 for a handicapped parent). This is a goodie just for working mums. If you’ve roped in your (or your husband’s) parent or grandparent to help care for your children, don’t forget to file your tax claim!
As long as your parent, grandparent, parent-in-law or grandparent-in-law was living in Singapore in 2014, did not work or carry out any trade, business, profession or vocation and had looked after any of your kids who are Singaporeans and 12 years old or younger last year, you can claim a relief of $3,000 on one of them.