IRAS aspires to provide taxpayers with 24/7 e-services to reach out to taxpayers more effectively and reduce operational costs. This led IRAS to develop a suite of e-Services such as E-Filing and No-Filing Service (NFS), delivered via a secured portal – myTax Portal. The e-Services are further complemented by other mobile services to “Check Filing Status” and receive real-time tax updates, reminders and information on latest developments via Twitter.
IRAS was also the first in the world to implement an E-Stamping system and a government-owned electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (E-TRS).
The suite of e-Services benefited various groups of taxpayers e.g.:
a) Individual Taxpayers: In 2010, about 94% E-Filed their returns, reflecting the success of this initiative. Under the NFS, taxpayers need not submit any returns if there are no changes to their income or relief claims. Their income information would have been transmitted to IRAS by their employers under the “Auto-Inclusion Scheme (AIS)”. In 2010, among the taxpayers who were eligible for NFS, 82% did not have to file their returns. Without the NFS and E-Filing, these taxpayers would have to track their income, complete and mail their tax returns to IRAS.
Singapore’s Emeritus Senior Minister Mr. Goh Chok Tong said “...it is almost a joy submitting income tax returns!” A taxpayer also found the E-Filing“...a breeze to file taxes ...and it is fantastic to be able to see the [income] amount from employers ...The user interface was easy to navigate and the response time is great!”
b) Taxpayers who need to stamp documents: On an average, up to 1,000 taxpayers a day (including those from the law firms, estate agencies, secretariat firms and individuals) can now E-Stamp their documents in the comfort of their home without the need to have them physically stamped at stamping counters or service bureaus. Stamp certificates can be printed immediately after successful payment through internet banking. As subscription and transaction fees were removed, taxpayers save on fees, printing, postage costs and most of all, time. The E-Stamping system was enhanced in 2010 and saw the number of registered users increase from 1,500 in 2010 to 2,500 in this year.
c) Tourists: All tourists who make purchases at retailers participating in the E-TRS can now claim their GST as they leave Singapore in just 5 minutes compared to 20 minutes in the past. Before the introduction of E-TRS, tourists had to fill in hardcopy forms at the point of purchase, and present these forms to claim GST as they leave Singapore. More than 10 million tourists visit Singapore each year. E-TRS has made GST claims a seamless process and reduced the hassle for the tourists who now do not have to worry about misplacing their claim forms and can clear this process within a much shorter time.
d) All Taxpayers: All taxpayers can access myTaxPortal 24/7 anywhere to view their notices from IRAS and perform a wide range of transactions. The taxpayer need not track and file them separately, thus reducing compliance costs for the taxpayer.