As we approach the end of the year, it is a good opportunity to take stock of our finances. One key consideration is maximizing our tax savings by topping up our Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) and Central Provident Fund (CPF) accounts to reduce our tax bill. Don’t forget to do so by 31 December to be eligible for tax relief for next year’s tax assessment!
Taxes are an inevitable part of our financial lives, and while nobody enjoys parting with their hard-earned money, effective tax planning can go a long way towards securing our financial future. In Singapore, there are several tax-saving strategies that you can employ to lower your tax burden.
There are two ways that you can maximise your tax savings: topping-up your Central Provident Fund (CPF) accounts and contributing to your Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) account. You can get a dollar-for-dollar deduction on your taxable income for contributions to your CPF and SRS accounts (up to the allowable limits) while building up your funds for retirement.
You can make cash top-ups to your CPF Special Account (SA) if you are below 55 years old and to your Retirement Account (RA) if you are 55 years old via the Retirement Sum Topping Up Scheme (RSTU).
If you top-up your CPF SA/RA account using cash, you will receive an equivalent amount of tax relief of up to $8,000 in each calendar year. Furthermore, you will enjoy up to an additional $8,000 in tax deductions if you make cash top-ups for family members who meet the eligibility requirements.
Please note that only cash top-ups up to the current Full Retirement Sum (FRS) are eligible for tax relief. You can find out the amount of cash that you can top-up into your CPF SA/RA by logging into your CPF account’s Retirement Dashboard.
CPF top-ups are irreversible. As such, do ensure that you have sufficient liquidity before proceeding with any top-ups as your CPF top-ups will be reserved for participation in CPF LIFE – a national insurance annuity scheme that will provide you with a lifetime monthly payout from age 65.
Please click to this link for more details on tax relief for CPF cash top-ups.
The Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) is a voluntary scheme designed to encourage individuals to save for their retirement years.
To incentivize individuals to contribute to their SRS account, the government provides dollar-for-dollar tax relief on contributions made to ones SRS account. Singaporean citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) have a yearly maximum allowable SRS contribution of $15,300, while foreigners may contribute up to $35,700.
If you withdraw your SRS funds after the statutory retirement age, you will only have to pay taxes on 50% of your SRS withdrawals. For example, if you withdraw $40,000 from your SRS account, you will have to pay taxes on $20,000 – you may end up not having to pay any tax if that’s your only taxable income in the year.
However, if you make any SRS withdrawals before your statutory retirement age, you will have to pay taxes on the full withdrawal amount and incur a 5% penalty on the withdrawal amount.
Please click to this link for more details on tax relief for SRS contributions.
Making top-ups to your CPF and SRS accounts are just two ways you can build your retirement nest egg while savings on taxes. Remember, every dollar that you contribute today will go a long way towards securing a more comfortable retirement tomorrow.
Note: The personal income tax relief cap of $80,000 applies to the total amount of all tax reliefs claimed, including any relief on cash top-ups made under the Retirement Sum Topping-Up Scheme (RSTU) and Voluntary Contribution (VC-MA).