The Singapore government has always been encouraging the spirit of philanthropy and giving and one of the best policies that was implemented was giving tax deductions for donations made to a tax-deductible charity. Since 2009, qualifying donations have been entitled to a 250 per cent tax deduction.
There are a few ways to reduce taxable income in Singapore:
But there are reasons why it might be more enticing to consider making donations to registered charity organisations instead.
The bang-for-buck tax deduction option
As the tax deductions for making cash top-ups to CPF and contributions to SRS accounts are dollar-for dollar, one has to use $10,000 to receive a tax deduction of the equivalent amount. By donating $4,000 to a registered charity organisation, one can achieve the same tax deduction.
Retain liquidity and avoid locking up cash
The disadvantage of making cash top-ups to CPF and contributions to SRS accounts is that one would have to lock up cold hard cash in accounts that they can retrieve at the age of 65 and 62 respectively. Young investors may not like that. By using the same reference above, young investors can keep the spare cash of $6,000 by donating only $4,000 to a registered charity organisation. That spare cash could be put into investment vehicles that are not restricted to CPF and SRS regulations.
In this year’s Budget speech, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced that the current 250 percent tax deduction will be increased to 300 percent for donations this year. The tax incentive is also being extended until the end of 2018.
This means that for every S$1 donated to a registered charity organisation, S$3 will be deducted from the donor’s taxable income for this year. Gifts-in-kind, such as shares, computers, land, buildings and works of art, will also qualify for tax deductions.
While I did not make a lot of donations last year, I definitely will consider making some donations this year for tax deductions.
In late December, my employer finished shifting our office from Suntec City to a new office building near Kallang. That meant my journey on the MRT becomes longer and rides will be more expensive in order to get to my new office. I wasn’t too happy about that so I decided to find out if there is other alternatives for a shorter or cost-effective commute.
After checking Google Maps, I found that the new office is located pretty close to the Kallang Park Connector Network (PCN). Using the Kallang PCN, it seems that apart from a few road crossings and overhead bridges, it is possible to commute to work on my bicycle.
As I have done a bicycle tour overseas a few years ago, I dug up all the equipment that I stored away after the trip and picked the ones that I needed.
Here’s a list of equipment that I needed for my bicycle commute:
Not exactly a big list because I try to keep everything simple. One can always deck out the bicycle with more gadgets to make the journey enjoyable. In my case, I installed a mobile phone holder on my bicycle’s handlebar so that I can use my mobile phone for navigation and to play music with the Spotify app.
Here’s how everything looks like on my bicycle. I chose to use my Dahon foldable bicycle so that if I get a puncture tire or encounter a heavy downpour, I can always hail a taxi to continue the rest of the journey with everything in the boot.
I did a trial ride to my workplace on a weekend and it took around 30 minutes to cycle from my home to the office using the Kallang PCN. The journey on the train takes roughly the same amount of time and costs me $1.33 per trip. That works out to $53.20 per month in savings. While it’s not a big saving, I enjoy the health benefits that comes with each ride. I also feel more refreshed if I exercise before starting my workday.
My plan is to cycle to work every day unless I have dinner appointments after work. Let’s hope that I can maintain this habit. Fingers crossed!
One of the little indulgences I embrace is watching television. Unfortunately, the local free-to-air channels are often creating crappy shows, or broadcasting the good ones way too late. The paid channels are so heavily monopolised that it makes no sense paying for them. Not to mention the fact that they can change the pricing terms whenever they want.
This year, I have made the switch to a Hulu Plus subscription for USD$7.99 per month and never looked back ever since. I get to watch all the latest shows I want, on demand and on any platform of my choice. It’s perfect!
In the past few days, I found a way to pay a lower subscription price for Hulu Plus and I want to share it with you.
In one of the Internet forums that I participate in, I saw someone posted a message saying that it’s possible to buy cheap Hulu gift cards on Ebay. So i did a check and, lo and behold, I found a number of Hulu Plus gift cards listed for auction on Ebay.
At the time of my search, the cheapest Hulu Plus 12 months gift card was listed at USD$29 on auction and after checking with the seller to confirm that the gift card would work for existing Hulu Plus users, I made the bid. Given that there are quite a few listings, there was no one competing with my bid. Perfect!
Once I won the auction and made payment via Paypal, the seller promptly sent me the codes on the gift card (you didn’t think the seller was really going to mail me a gift card right?). I gave it a try and it works! I went ahead and cancelled my current Hulu Plus subscription so that the 12 months subscription from the gift card can take effect next month.
At USD$29, I have effectively reduced my monthly subscription of USD$7.99 to USD$2.42 for the next 12 months. Lovely!
If you are a Hulu Plus subscriber like me, do a search on Ebay and you may find a cheap gift card listing just like me.