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Your guide to earning miles paying your 2020 income tax bill in Singapore

No one likes paying their taxes, but 2020 might just be the best year we've seen to earn miles through your credit card while doing so

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Updated: 26th August 2020

It’s that time of year again when the dreaded IRAS income tax Notice of Assessment lands on the doormat (or more likely these days by SMS inviting you to log on and download it). While we haven’t received ours yet, we’ve already had many messages from readers who have, with the same question every year. “What’s the best way to earn miles when paying?”

Analysing all the options isn’t really worth doing until two major players in the market have revealed their respective offers for the year – CardUp and ipaymy.

CardUp ipaymy

Last week we had the answer from both card payment providers, and this week CardUp even cut its rate to match the competition with a special offer code for Mainly Miles readers – so it’s time to crunch the numbers and outline your best value options to turn one of the year’s single biggest expenses into thousands of miles at a reasonable cost.

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Deferring your income tax payment

First point to note this year is that in view of the financial pressures many are facing due to the COVID-19 situation, IRAS is allowing you to defer your 2020 income tax payments by three months if you wish.

IRAS.png

Provided your income tax is payable in May, June or July 2020 and you are not:

  • a non-Singapore citizen employee who has sought tax clearance; or
  • an employee of a foreign employer

you are eligible to apply for this tax extension.

If you are paying by GIRO and you defer your tax payment, there will be no GIRO deduction in May, June or July 2020. Your income tax deduction will resume in August, September or October 2020 and the end date of your instalment plan will be extended by 3 months. Your amount of income tax payable remains the same. For example:

If you continue with current GIRO deduction If your income tax payment is deferred
Instalment plan will run from May 2020 to April 2021 Instalment plan will run from August 2020 to July 2021

If you are paying by lump sum and you defer your tax payment, your due date for income tax payment will be deferred to start from August 2020. For example:

Current Payment Due Date Payment Due Date if your income tax is deferred
5th May 2020 5th August 2020
15th June 2020 15th September 2020
23rd July 2020 23rd October 2020

Note: Don’t worry if, like us, 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 2020, so your tax liability may be in a later ‘batch’.

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Paying by credit card

As with last year, credit card payment for your income tax bill is not a service offered by IRAS directly. The transaction must usually be arranged through your credit card issuer or a third-party card payments provider, and they will charge you a fee for the service, which unfortunately means the miles you accrue are not going to be ‘free’.

Your options

The options for paying your income tax this year are almost the same as in 2019. You can do so with one of six bank-specific facilities, if you hold one of their eligible miles-earning credit cards, or through the two major card payment providers, CardUp and ipaymy.

Provider Fee
CITItrans.png 2%
DBStrans.png 3%
HSBCtrans.png 0.5 – 1.5%
OCBCtrans.png 1.9%
SCtrans.png 1.6 – 1.9%
UOBtrans 2%
CardUp Trans 1.75 – 2.4%
ipaymy 1.75 – 2.25%

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 (e.g. the extension applied as mentioned above), so there may still be time to apply for and receive a new credit card with a superior miles earning rate if you wish.

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 (examples include some Citi, DBS and UOB options), or your credit card provider does not offer a miles-earning tax payment service (e.g. BOC).

CardUp’s 2020 Income Tax offer

CardUp was first out of the starting gate with its 2020 Income Tax payment deal, offering a discounted rate of 1.89% for new to CardUp account holders and 1.99% for existing users.

CardUp has since launched a special offer for Mainly Miles readers, with a one-time discounted fee of 1.75%, matching the market-leading rate offered by ipaymy for 2020 income tax payments.

Despite first excluding Citi and Standard Chartered credit cards from the offer, this rate is now applicable for all Singapore-issued Visa and and Mastercard cardholders.

CardUp Oct2020 Visa MM

CLICK HERE for our CardUp offer

This offer has been extended to 26th October 2020.

Please feel free to use our promo code shown above (MM175TAX20) if you choose to pay by Visa or Mastercard using CardUp, to activate the 1.75% fee and to help support Mainly Miles.

Full terms and conditions for the MM175TAX20 promo code are available here.

What if I already used your previous CardUp codes? Don’t worry – the CardUp team will be in touch with you to offer additional discounts to make up for the difference in the fee you paid already, compared to this new 1.75% special reader rate.

ipaymy’s 2020 Income Tax offer

Ipaymy was the first this year to offer a market-leading 1.75% fee, the lowest we’ve ever seen from one of these providers for income tax payment (last year ipaymy offered a 1.99% fee – so this is a 10% discount in comparison).

Tax2020

ipaymy

TAX2020 Visa Card White Mastercard Card White 2.25% 1.75%
One-time IRAS income tax payment with a Singapore-issued Visa or Mastercard.

CLICK HERE to sign up to ipaymy

In a newly extended offer until 31st August 2020, ipaymy has removed its exclusions for Mastercards, meaning all Singapore-issued Visa and Mastercards are included in ipaymy’s offer (even for Citi and Standard Chartered, which were previously restricted on the Mastercard side).

ipaymy is not currently offering payment using American Express cards.

Whether you use CardUp or ipaymy therefore probably depends on which one you have used previously, since you may not want to go to the hassle of opening a new account.

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Citi PayAll rate change

Both Cards

Citi is running a deal through it’s PayAll service with an enhanced 1.5 mpd earn rate for IRAS income tax payments its PremierMiles cards between now and the end of August 2020.

For clarity, our tables show the cost per mile for Citi PM PayAll income tax payments applicable until 31st August and from 1st September.

Best deals for your 2020 income tax payment

Let’s take a look at the table (which we’ve split into four this year, depending on how good a deal we think you’re getting).

Credit Cards & Statement
Choosing the right card and the right method is easy with our definitive table of options

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. That’s not the case when you use the bank-specific or Citi PayAll payment methods, where the fee itself will not earn miles. For example:

  • S$10,000 payment via CardUp at 1.99% fee (S$199) with 1.2 mpd card = $10,199 charge x 1.2 mpd = 12,239 miles. $199 / 12,239 = 1.63 cents cost per mile.
  • S$10,000 payment via Citi PayAll at 2% fee (S$200)  with 1.2 mpd card = $10,000 charge x 1.2 mpd = 12,000 miles. $200 / 12,200 = 1.67 cents cost per mile.

In other words the fee is still applied in both cases, but in the second example no miles are earned for the fee element.


Here’s our definitive list of your credit card income tax payment options for 2020. Simply start at the top (lowest cost per mile), and work your way down the table until you find a credit card you hold or wish to use.

Updated 3rd August 2020

Excellent cost per mile

You can ‘buy’ miles paying your income tax by credit card from between 1.07 cents and 1.25 cents each, an excellent rate for most of us, using the following methods.

Card Method Fee Mpd Cost
per
mile
Citi Ultima Trans.pngCiti ULTIMA ipaymy.png 1.75% 1.6 1.07¢
Citi Ultima Trans.pngCiti ULTIMA CardUp Trans 1.75% 1.6 1.07¢
CardDBS Insignia ipaymy.png 1.75% 1.6 1.07¢
CardDBS Insignia CardUp Trans 1.75% 1.6 1.07¢
BOS Voyage CardBOS Voyage ipaymy.png 1.75% 1.6 1.07¢
BOS Voyage CardBOS Voyage CardUp Trans 1.75% 1.6 1.07¢
Premier Voyage Card 2OCBC Premier Voyage ipaymy.png 1.75% 1.6 1.07¢
Premier Voyage Card 2OCBC Premier Voyage CardUp Trans 1.75% 1.6 1.07¢
$UOB Reserve CardUOB Reserve