Over the years, IRAS has continuously innovated in the design and delivery of our services. In the area of tax filing, we introduced phone filing, followed by e-Filing and the auto-inclusion of income and relief items into the tax returns to bring our taxpayers greater convenience. In 2007, we eliminated the tax return with a bold and radical move, known as the “No-Filing Service (NFS)”.
Before NFS was launched, all individual taxpayers had to submit their tax returns by 15 April each year. Individual taxpayers had to track and keep records of their various sources of income and the personal reliefs that they were eligible for, in order to file an accurate tax return to IRAS. Employers also had to issue hardcopy statements to employees as proof of their employment income. The annual tax filing process was a time-consuming task for many of our taxpayers.
e-Filing of Individual Income Tax returns:
In 1998, we launched the e-Filing of Individual Income Tax returns, enabling our taxpayers to file their tax returns online at their own convenience. With e-Filing, IRAS became the first tax administration in the world to allow the use of internet technology for direct transmission of tax returns by taxpayers to the tax administration without an intermediary. Taxpayers no longer needed to file a physical return. They simply had to logon to MyTax Portal, a secure site on the IRAS website, to complete their filing online at their own convenience. In 2012, a record 97% (or 925,000 taxpayers) e-filed their tax return.
Our e-Filing system was supported by the Auto-Inclusion Scheme (AIS), where we obtain information on our taxpayers’ income and relief at source through regular electronic data matching exercises with the source organisations. For example, employers transmit their employee’s salary data directly to IRAS. IRAS then automatically includes the information received in taxpayers’ returns, relieving taxpayers of the need to fill in such information when they file their returns. The AIS also helps IRAS eliminate the risk of under declaration of income to IRAS.
Introduction of Pre-filled Returns:
In 2006, IRAS enhanced our e-Filing system through pre-filled returns. This enhanced system enabled taxpayers to preview the information that IRAS had directly received under the AIS for verification purposes, and automatically included certain personal tax reliefs based on claims made by the taxpayer in the previous year. With the enhancement, taxpayers need only log into MyTax Portal, to view their pre-filled income and deduction information if their employers participate in the AIS.