Friday, April 03, 2009

Submitting Income Taxi by e-Filing

I submitted my income tax returns for 2008 by e-filing.

IRAS has designed a sophisticated and expensive computer system for e-filing. It must have cost a lot of money. It was supposed to make e-filing easy for the tax-payer.

Unfortunately, it was very difficult - even for an internet savvy person like me. Why? It is a matter of mindset. The experts in IRAS designed a system that is convenient for them. They forget to make it convenient for the ordinary people.

What is a system that is convenient for ordinary people? Just provide a simple form to ask me to submit the details of my income and claim. Use a format that is convenient for the tax payer to fill in - not a format that is convenient for IRAS to do their workflow.

But, I have to commend IRAS for one excellent aspect of the system. They display the information that they have, taken from various sources, that are relevant for my tax computation. This includes my chartiable donations and topping up of CPF account for family members. I appreciate it very much. 

I hope that IRAS will take my suggestion about making it easy for me to submit their annual return, especially for items that are not captured by IRAS.

Tan Kin Lian

Additional comments
It is easy to use e-filing, if you do not need to provide additional sources of income or other charges. However, it is quite troublesome to provide the additional information, for example on property, life insurance policies and deductions, as they are designed to be helpful to IRAS and not customer friendly. It is also difficult to search for the right places to provide the information, as they are placed all over several web pages and tabs.

4 comments:

Loh Hon Chun said...

Which part is difficult? For me, it is quite a breeze.

But I do have a comment. They should have at least let the user know how much he/she is expected to pay without have to perform calculation, use the excel tax calculator, or wait for IRAS to send them NOA.

In the end, I have to help my friends calculate but also letting them know it is an estimate. I do not wish to tell them an amount but in the end, IRAS telling them another amount.

Profile said...

I think IRAS has done a great job in putting an e-filing system that to me is the best in the World.

I am currently working overseas (Australia) and are exempted from filing in Singapore. When I was doing my tax filing in Singapore, it takes me not more than 15mins and best of all there are nothing for me to do other than confirming the figures.

This, as compared to other country is really a very different story. In the country I am filing, I have to engage a tax accountant to do the work for me because it is very cumbersome and difficult to do it by myself.

ten.sg

Tan Kin Lian said...

It is easy to use e-filing, if you do not need to provide additional sources of income or other charges.

However, it is quite troublesome to provide the additional information, for example on property, life insurance policies and deductions, as they are designed to be helpful to IRAS and not customer friendly.

It is also difficult to search for the right places to provide the information, as they are placed all over several web pages and tabs.

lle said...

I think it would easy if your salary is the main source of income and if you do not have other items to declare like rental, insurance policies etc. Yes, I would agree with Mr Tan that the form should be made as customer friendly as possible so that ORDINARY people can find it easy to understand. Afterall, we are the one who e-file the form and subsequent queries will be directed to us.

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