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What are my options for earning miles on my tax payments?

Reviewing your options for earning miles while nation building

It’s income tax season again, where all law-abiding taxpayers come together for the greater good of nation building. And miles.

Although IRAS does not directly accept credit cards for income tax payments, there are several schemes by different banks that allow you to earn miles for a processing fee when you pay with certain credit cards through their tax payment facility.

There are minor differences in the process for each bank, but the generalized flow is:

  1. You complete an application form and provide the bank with your copy of the Notice of Assessment (NOA), which states how much tax is due from you
  2. The bank approves your application and credits the tax due amount to your personal bank account, in cash. It also charges your credit card for the commensurate amount, plus a processing fee
  3. You use the cash to pay off your tax bill, then pay off your credit card bill as per normal
  4. The tax due amount earns miles/points at the prevailing credit card rate (except OCBC Voyage where it’s fixed at 1 VM per $1)
Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Tax Payment Facility

Under such programs, you’re only allowed to pay your own tax. The NOA you submit must be your own, and you can’t make payments on behalf of other people. The funds you obtain are also capped at the amount of tax due, eg if your tax bill is $10,000 you can’t ask the bank to credit $20,000 to your account.

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The problem is that most of these tax payment facilities are for fairly high-level credit cards, the type that require annual incomes in excess of $120K to obtain. Fortunately there’s also Cardup, which charges a flat 2.6% processing fee and lets you use the card of your choice to pay.


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Fundamentally this all boils down to cost per mile, so let’s see how the different options stack up.

MethodProcessing FeeEarn RateCents Per Mile
Standard Chartered Visa Infinite (≥$2K spend p.m)1.6%1.41.14
HSBC Visa Infinite (≥$50K spend in prev year)1.5%1.251.20
HSBC Premier Mastercard0.5%0.41.25
ipaymy with BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard2.25%1.51.47
HSBC Visa Infinite (<$50K spend in prev year)1.5%1.01.50
ipaymy with UOB PRVI Miles2.25%1.41.57
Standard Chartered Visa Infinite (<$2K spend p.m)1.6%1.01.60
Cardup with BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard2.6%1.51.69
HSBC Revolution0.7%0.41.75
Cardup with UOB PRVI Miles2.6%1.41.81
DBS Insignia3.0%1.61.88
OCBC Voyage1.9%1.01.90
UOB Visa Infinite Payment Facility2.0%1.02.00
UOB PRVI Pay2.1%1.02.10

*Why isn’t the calculation= processing fee/earn rate? Remember that when you pay with Cardup, you earn points on both the Cardup processing fee and the amount charged to your card. For example, suppose I pay $1,000, which after a 2.6% fee becomes $1026. At a rate of 1.4 mpd, I earn 1,436 miles (this isn’t technically correct because of rounding, but when you use larger number the rounding becomes negligible). Therefore my effective cost per mile is 26/1,436= 1.81 cents per mile.

There are other options out there such as using your DBS Altitude and the DBS Tax Payment facility (2.5 cpm), but remember that the gold standard for buying miles in Singapore is 2 cpm, because this is the price you could buy unlimited miles through PRVI Pay with the UOB PRVI Miles card.

10X possibilities?

Now that 0.63 cpm figure with Citibank Rewards and Cardup is going to turn a lot of heads. This has been widely reported by users on the Telegram Group, and I’ve managed to confirm it myself (I used the Citibank Rewards Visa, but there’s no reason why Mastercard shouldn’t have the same benefit).

Made a payment of $770, so that’s 770 base points (1x) and 6,930 bonus points (9x)

This is certainly exciting, but as with all things in the miles and points game, Citibank could easily stop offering this at any point. And since it’s technically not one of the covered categories of bags, shoes and clothes, good luck lodging an appeal. I’ve always said that 10X cards are high risk high reward, and indeed if you pay with your Citibank Rewards card and end up getting 1X (0.4 mpd), a 2.6% fee means 6.3 cents per mile. So by all means try, but I don’t want no pitchforks and torches if you don’t get it. 

Update: Cardup has let me know that it’s a sooner rather than later thing that they’ll get reclassified as a non 10X category. So unless you’re planning to pay real soon, I’d act with caution here.

If you’re new to Cardup you can get $20 off the processing fee on your first payment using the referral code AARONW54

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If this code gets exhausted or you simply feel like showing love elsewhere, you can check out the long list of community referral codes in this thread (please do not post referral codes in the comments here as it makes more sense to keep all of them in one place).

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invisible
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invisible

I am taking bets how long will it take Citi to stop awarding 10x and resulting howling across all blogs and threads.

Jon Lee
Member

make hay while sun shines

Query
Guest
Query

With voyage, if you split it across 12 months, even though the earn rate is only 1mpd, does it count towards the min spend $500 to earn interest on the 360 account?

Billy Seah
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Billy Seah

Crap… read this a little late and settled with Cardup Prvi Miles….

Passerby
Guest
Passerby

Thanks for posting and kill citi on Cardup … rip

Allen
Guest
Allen

Hey Aaron, may I ask how do you view the itemised Citi rewards points as per shown in your post above?

Alien
Guest
Alien

Hi, you can view it via Citi ThankYou rewards site.

edmund.xmb
Member
edmund.xmb

Can i assume that the tax amount that is charged to the scvi card contributes to the 2k limit? meaning all the other spent in that month will auto clear the 2k barrier. (assuming of course that income tax exceeds 2k)

FOff
Guest
FOff

WTF. It’s thanks to you freeloading bloggers that kill off any good leads.

bluepanda
Guest
bluepanda

Some rare Mastercards can still be used for e-AXS but only gets you 0.4 mpd. Nonetheless, this means that there is such an opportunity cost, and your earnings in that table need to reflect this.

Siang+fei
Guest
Siang+fei

Apparently hsbc premier Mastercard

ihht
Guest
ihht

The effective processing fee for OCBC Voyager should be 1.937%. Assuming your tax is $100,000, OCBC charges $1,900 in fees but gives only the balance to you, or $$98,100. This means you get only 98,100 miles for $1,900.

KL
Guest
KL

Hi,

Shouldn’t Standard Chartered Visa Infinite (>$2K spend p.m) earn more miles than Cardup with UOB PRVI Miles? Thanks!

Mayur Agarwal
Guest
Mayur Agarwal

Do you also earn miles on the SCB Priority banking Visa Infinite card at the same rate?

Rio Indrawan
Guest
Rio Indrawan

how about paying rent in cardup using citi rewards card ? it should be same getting 10x right ?

Miles Noob
Guest
Miles Noob

Question: Can I pay my tax at AXS with credit card and still get the normal miles rate of 1.2mpd?

SEAN
Guest
SEAN

No you cant. AXS will not earn any miles

PV
Guest
PV

I just receive the tax assessment. Wondering the CardUp is still work for Citi Reward card now?
Should I make a bet?

TL
Guest
TL

So the current best way to earn from tax is Cardup with DBS altitude (1.2mpd) or UOB PRVI (1.4mpd)?

DJ
Guest
DJ

According to Hwz Excel, Citi rewards no longer have 10x for Cardup as of early May, have you tried?

PV
Guest
PV

I havnt tried it yet. But my tax bill just came in early June. Hence, I decided not to bet, but go for using it with DBS altitude.

allthewaylh
Guest
allthewaylh

PV, does DBS altitude earn you any miles? Thx

SEAN
Guest
SEAN

Hi Aaron
Sorry for a n00b question but why “Cardup + Citi PrivMiles Visa” listed in your chart? or is it because it has flouted the 2 cmp rule?

Thank

Adelaide
Guest
Adelaide

Hi Aaron,
For Income Tax Payment via the bank’s tax payment facilities.
1) Can still use it if I already paid IRAS?
2) If I have yet to pay can I pay via instalment using the bank’s tax payment facilities?

Thanks

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[…] that the SCB Visa Infinite offers one of the best tax payment facilities in the market. For a processing fee of 1.6%, you can earn 1.4 mpd assuming you spend at least S$2K […]

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[…] the SCB Visa Infinite card that lets you pick up miles on the cheap. In a previous article about earning miles on tax payments, I mentioned that some credit cards offered tax payment […]

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[…] that the SCB Visa Infinite offers one of the best tax payment facilities in the market. For a processing fee of 1.6%, you can earn 1.4 mpd assuming you spend at least S$2K […]

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[…] that the SCB Visa Infinite offers one of the best tax payment facilities in the market. For a processing fee of 1.6%, you can earn 1.4 mpd assuming you spend at least S$2K […]

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[…] the SCB Visa Infinite card that lets you pick up miles on the cheap. In a previous article about earning miles on tax payments, I mentioned that some credit cards offered tax payment […]