Credit Cards KrisFlyer

Updated: Earn miles paying your 2019 income tax bill in Singapore

Paying your annual income tax in Singapore is a great opportunity to 'buy' a sizeable chunk of KrisFlyer or other frequent flyer miles at a competitive cost

Taxes Calculator

Note: This article refers to paying your income tax in Singapore in 2019. For our latest guide to paying in 2020 – click here.

It’s that time of year again. I logged on to my IRAS tax portal this morning to see that my estimated income tax has already been calculated, meaning the day we all dread each year is just around the corner with the 2019 ‘Notice of Assessment’ (for your 2018 income tax liability) coming soon, in my case next week.

No one looks forward to paying their tax bill, but there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. It’s possible to pay your income tax with a wide range of credit cards in Singapore, in turn earning a sizeable chunk of KrisFlyer miles (or other frequent flyer points if your credit card allows that) for the transaction.

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Note: Don’t worry if you haven’t received your bill yet and/or don’t have a ‘Notice of Assessment’ date showing at the online portal. IRAS sends out NOAs between now and September 2019, so your tax liability may be in a later ‘batch’.

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The catch

This is not a service IRAS offers directly. The transaction must usually be arranged through your credit card issuer, and they will charge you a fee for the service, which means the miles are not going to be free.

Your options

The options available to you depend on the credit card(s) you hold. Remember your income tax bill is payable within a month of your ‘Notice of Assessment’ (NOA) date, unless your NOA states otherwise, so there may still be time to apply for and receive a new credit card with a superior miles earning rate if you wish.

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This year there are five different banks offering a direct income tax payment scheme for at least one of their miles earning credit cards (one more than last year, thanks to Citi PayAll).

Note that BOC also allows income tax payment through some of its credit cards for a 1% fee, but does not award any points for the transaction making it of little interest to our readers and not worth mentioning in this article.

Additionally there are two more methods – the CardUp and ipaymy options for circumstances where your card provider’s rate is unattractive (hello DBS!), or your credit card provider does not offer a tax payment service (e.g. UOB).

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CardUp charges a 2.6% admin fee on credit card payments, while ipaymy charges between 1.99% and 3.0% admin fee depending on the card type and transaction type.

Remember that both of these providers will pay IRAS directly, whereas most credit card issuers will transfer your owed income tax balance to your bank account and charge your card account with the same amount, plus the administrative fee, leaving you to arrange payment to IRAS yourself.

We first wrote about CardUp in 2017. If you haven’t used the service before (it can also be used to pay a number of other bills like rent, property tax and school fees), you can enjoy up to S$20 off the transaction fee on your first payment by using our promo code MAINLYMILES.

Sign Up HERE

ipaymy offering 1.99% fee

Now that ipaymy is allowing personal account sign-ups again, there’s even more good news for those of you wishing to use this facility to pay your income tax.

ipaymy have an ongoing promotion for tax payments to IRAS using a Singapore issued Visa or Mastercard. Simply enter promo code TAX2019 at the checkout. This is a one time use promo code so to maximise the value, you should pay your annual tax as a single lump sum where possible.

While we don’t have currently have a referral for ipaymy, do note that their fees can be cheaper for a number of transaction types (not just income tax).

Visit ipaymy

What do we personally do?

As with last year, our option is a no-brainer. We both have the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite card (SCVI) card, and it has by far the best deal we know of with an income tax payment processing fee of 1.6%, earning 1.4 KrisFlyer miles per S$1 spent, assuming you have at least S$2,000 of other spend on the card in the same statement month, which is a condition of the higher earning rate.

For example, if you have a S$10,000 tax bill the fee would be S$160, with 14,000 miles awarded. That means paying 1.14 cents per KrisFlyer mile, which is a great deal as we value them at 2 cents each if used sensibly.

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Better still, like with many banks Standard Chartered don’t pay IRAS directly, but instead they will credit the tax payment to your bank account in order for you to pay IRAS yourself. They simply charge the amount (plus the service fee) to your credit card.

That means you can pay your income tax by interest-free GIRO each month if you wish, and use the money Standard Chartered pay you simply to settle your credit card bill.

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The credit card options

Not everyone has the SCVI card of course, and it does have a high annual fee so we wouldn’t necessarily recommend getting one purely to pay your income tax. What other Singapore credit cards also offer a miles earning option for these payments?

Here’s our 2019 table showing the best to worst rates you can achieve for the Singapore credit cards allowing income tax payment.

The formula is simply the fee divided by the number of miles you will receive, to generate a cost per mile. Bear in mind that for both CardUp and ipaymy you will also earn miles on the fee itself, which is accounted for in the calculation.

We have only included the ipaymy / CardUp method where they are the only way to pay income tax with the respective card, or they are cheaper than the card issuer’s own scheme.

Edit: ipaymy options added 29th April, now that the provider is accepting personal account sign-ups again.

2019 Income tax payment
Card Method Fee Miles per
S$1
Cost per mile
image_standard-chartered-visa-infinite@2x02.pngSCVI Hi* Direct.png 1.60% 1.4 1.14¢
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Citi ULTIMA
ipaymy.png 1.99% 1.6 1.22¢
Citi Ultima Trans.png
Citi ULTIMA
PayAll Logo 2.00% 1.6 1.25¢
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BOC EM
ipaymy.png 1.99% 1.5 1.30¢
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UOB PRVI Miles
ipaymy.png 1.99% 1.4 1.39¢
HSBCviNEW.pngHSBC VI Direct.png 1.50% 1.0 1.50¢
Card2019
Citi Prestige
ipaymy.png 1.99% 1.3 1.50¢
Card2019
Citi Prestige