Credit Cards

2019 Edition: How do I pay my taxes with a credit card?

Want to earn miles on your taxes? Here are your options.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year once more- tax season, where we all render to Caesar in the name of nation (and miles) building.

The taxman cometh | Source: IRAS

Individuals with income tax obligations will need to file their taxes between 1 March and 18 April 2019. You’ll subsequently receive your tax bill (NOA) between the end of April and September 2019. IRAS sends NOAs in batches, so don’t feel left out if everyone else gets theirs before you do.

Although IRAS does not directly accept credit cards for income tax payments, there are several third-party options that enable you to do this. In this guide, we’ll compare the options available and the relative cost of buying miles through each.

How do I pay my tax bill with a credit card?

Bank payment facilities

Certain banks allow cardholders to charge income tax bills to their credit cards, and earn points in exchange for a small processing fee.

The following banks currently offer tax payment facilities for selected cards:

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*UOB technically doesn’t offer a tax payment facility, but there’s no reason why you can’t use PRVI Pay to achieve the same end

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 a copy of your NOA
  2. The bank approves your application and credits the tax due to your personal bank account, in cash. It also charges your credit card for the corresponding amount, plus a processing fee
  3. You use the cash to pay your tax bill directly to IRAS, then pay your credit card bill as per normal
  4. You earn credit card points from the amount charged to your credit card
Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Tax Payment Facility

A few points to note:

  • The bank does not pay IRAS on your behalf- that’s still on you!
  • The NOA you submit must be your own; you can’t make payment on behalf of other people 
  • The maximum amount you can request is capped by your tax bill, e.g. if your tax bill is $10K, you can’t ask the bank to charge you $20K

Payment platforms

In addition to bank facilities, you can also opt to pay your taxes with a credit card through a payment platform like CardUp. Note that the newly-launched Citi PayAll does not yet support tax payments, but it is possible they will add this service in the next couple of weeks.

How much does it cost?

Here’s a summary of how much you’ll be paying per mile with each of the different options. Remember that a “quick and dirty” valuation of a mile is about 2 cents.

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

Do take note of the following:

  • ipaymy is no longer accepting new personal account sign ups
  • In light of the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard’s currently in-flux T&Cs, I’d be careful about making Cardup/ipaymy payments with this card at the moment. BOC has not yet responded to my questions regarding the new T&Cs
  • Bank of China offers a tax payment facility for selected cards but not the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard

Unfortunately, the best ways of buying miles through tax payments are also the most inaccessible: you need a minimum income of $120K and $150K to hold an HSBC Visa Infinite and SCB Visa Infinite respectively, an a minimum AUM of $200K to get a HSBC Premier Mastercard.

Given my current situation, I’d generally be alright with anything south of 1.7 cents per mile, but everyone’s individual valuation is going to differ.

Conclusion

Back in the day there used to be some pretty fantastic ways of earning miles on your credit cards without any admin fee at all (hint: AXS, Masterpass, and a certain bags, shoes and clothes card). Unfortunately those loopholes have long been shut, and if you want to earn miles for nation building, you’re going to have to pay for the privilege.

While writing this article, an interesting thought came to mind: no bank will let you charge more than the tax due amount shown on your NOA. However, since the ultimate settlement is between you and IRAS, there’s nothing stopping you from applying for multiple tax payment facilities, assuming you qualify. That’s to say, I could apply for both the HSBC Visa Infinite and Standard Chartered Visa Infinite tax facility to enjoy their relatively low cost miles.


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Fluro
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Fluro

Any updates on Citi Payall and when they will be rolling it out for tax payment.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

On your closing comment, if the precondition for the bank lending you the amount (because, a credit card charge is essentially a loan from the bank) is that the same amount be used to pay iras, wouldnt it be at least a breach of agreement, or worse, a criminal offence of cheating/breach of trust if you use the sum for other things?

Lawyer
Guest
Lawyer

Even if you accept the argument that it is a precondition of the loan that it be used to pay IRAS (which legally it is debatable as the principal terms are the credit card t&cs) breach of this agreement would be a Civil matter not a criminal offence.

It is highly unlikely any bank would wish to sue a customer for breach of contract in this way given no real loss has occurred and doing so would damage their reputation to a far greater extent.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Section 415 Penal Code: Whoever, by deceiving (i.e. that you will be using the money to pay your income tax) any person, whether or not such deception was the sole or main inducement, fraudulently or dishonestly induces the person so deceived to deliver any property to any person, or to consent that any person shall retain any property, or intentionally induces the person so deceived to do or omit to do anything which he would not do or omit to do if he were not so deceived (i.e. give miles/points for the amount used to pay tax), and which act… Read more »

Ben
Guest
Ben

Wow. This clearly explains why one should never take advice from strangers, especially those who are Anonymous. But well, to each his own.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Which is worse – (1) be Anonymous, or (2) be anonymous and claiming to be a “Lawyer”, or (3) be anonymous and claiming to be “Lawyer” AND “Ben”?

.
Guest
.

hi – may i know if cardup with the AMEX Ascend card counts towards the current promotion (Spend $12k in 6 months for the additional 44,000 miles)?

Zezima
Guest
Zezima

Does the DBS Altitude card eligible for miles earning (1.2 mpd – 3X rewards) if paying Income Tax via CardUp?

Googley eyes
Guest
Googley eyes

Hsbc vi after the first year annual fee non waivable. If you include that your cost per mile will increase depending on how many miles you earn

Alex
Guest
Alex

If I get the SCB VI for paying tax, do I still need to spend 2k for that month to get the 1.4 earn rate? Assuming my tax is more than 2k?

ED
Guest
ED

if you can apply for the card base on salary, your tax confirm more than 2k…

Alex
Guest
Alex

So would the tax amt be considered as spending? Then no need spend extra 2k?

Richard
Guest
Richard

Hi Aaron, thanks for this summary – it’s not often we can get anything back from paying our taxes.
Is the earn rate for OCBC Voyage, lower than the normal 1.2 miles for the tax payment facility?

Sam G
Guest
Sam G

HSBC is definitely 1 mile not 1 reward point as stated on their site?

Edward C.
Guest
Edward C.

I read it as S$1=1 Reward point @ https://www.hsbc.com.sg/credit-cards/features/tax-payment-programme/. Based on this, HSBC cost/mile is much higher at 4 cents. Am I correct?

cheesecake
Guest
cheesecake

“Back in the day there used to be some pretty fantastic ways of earning miles on your credit cards without any admin fee at all (hint: AXS, Masterpass, and a certain bags, shoes and clothes card). Unfortunately those loopholes have long been shut”

Don’t quite fathom the cloak-and-dagger approach, especially if the loopholes have been long shut… 😁

glenn
Guest
glenn

Hi Aaron, not sure if this is a typo but the Cardup with BOC Elite Miles World Master card should be 1.73cpm instead of 1.69?

G
Guest
G

Hi!
I only have 2 cards with DBS-Woman’s mastercard and DBS altitude, can you please advise which one is better to use? thanks!

Anon
Guest
Anon

Does anybody know if the amount is also cap by your credit limit (for SCB VI case)?

If yes, is it easy to request temporary credit limit increase for tax payment purpose?

radsin
Guest
radsin

Quick question. Any views on using ipaymy corporate account but pay personal income tax?

radsin
Guest
radsin

Update: ipay says it can be done but still wanted to check if anybody did it.