2024 Edition: Earning credit card miles on IRAS income tax

2024 income tax season is underway, and here's the cheapest way of earning miles on this year's tax bill.

Income tax season is underway for YA 2024, and you probably know the drill by now. Individuals with income tax obligations will need to file their taxes by 18 April 2024. They’ll subsequently receive their tax bill (NOA) from the end of April onwards. 

Few people relish paying taxes, but here’s the good news: if you don’t mind paying a small admin fee, it’s a great opportunity to earn some extra miles in the process. 

Tax Season 2024
💰 The MileLion’s Income Tax Guide 2024

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

IRAS doesn’t accept credit card payments. In their own words:

Credit card payments are not offered by IRAS directly because of the high transaction costs charged by the credit card service providers. This is to keep the cost of collection low to preserve public funds.

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t use your credit card to pay taxes. Banks and bill payment platforms offer tax payment facilities, which allow cardholders to earn rewards in exchange for a small fee.

I divide these into “indirect” and “direct”.

Indirect Payment FacilitiesDirect Payment Facilities

Both indirect and direct facilities work the same in the sense that your credit card is charged for the tax amount due plus an admin fee, earning miles in the process. 

Where they differ is that:

  • An indirect payment facility deposits the amount due into your designated bank account, in cash. You’re still responsible for paying IRAS
  • A direct payment facility pays IRAS on your behalf

Whether it’s better to use an indirect or direct facility all boils down to the cost per mile: the admin fee, divided by the miles you earn. 

What’s changed for YA2024?

Here’s a summary of the key changes that have taken place since last year’s article.

StanChart hikes tax facility admin fee to 1.9%

Effective 15 March 2024, Standard Chartered has hiked the cost of its Visa Infinite income tax payment facility from 1.6% to 1.9%. 

This increases the lowest possible cost per mile from 1.14 cents to 1.36 cents– still good, but obviously not as good as before. 

Citi PayAll hikes admin fee to 2.2%

In April 2023, Citi PayAll hiked its admin fee from 2 to 2.2% for all cards, which increases the cost per mile from 1.25-1.67 cents to 1.38-1.83 cents. 

That said, Citi is usually quite competitive with its income tax season offers, so it’s highly likely we’ll see a promotion in the weeks to come that lowers the cost per mile significantly.

AMEX HighFlyer Card no longer supports CardUp

While this isn’t strictly related to income tax, you should also know that the AMEX HighFlyer Card no longer works for CardUp transactions, which nerfs the highest-earning general spending option (1.8 mpd) at your disposal.

In case you’re wondering who to get mad at, the restriction is on the AMEX side.

What are the fees involved?

Here’s a list of the various payment facilities and the applicable fees. 

🧾 List of Payment Facilities
Bank Applicable CardsAdmin Fee
Link
Indirect
SCB Visa Infinite1.9%
Link
Indirect
UOB PRVI Miles, Visa Infinite Metal, Reserve1.7-2.2%
Link
Direct
All cards except HSBC1.75-2.25%
Link
Indirect
OCBC VOYAGE1.9%
Link
Direct
All SCB cards1.9%
Link
Direct
All Citi cards2.2%
Tax promo TBD
Link
Direct
All DBS cards2.5%
There is an additional option called ipaymy, but for reasons outlined in this post, I neither endorse nor comment on their services

It may be tempting to compare options on the basis of admin fees, but that’s only half the story. You need to also consider the earn rate.

For example, the OCBC VOYAGE Payment Facility has an admin fee of 1.9%, but the earn rate is 1 mile per S$1 charged (instead of the usual 1.3 mpd). This means the cost per mile is 1.9 cents.

In contrast, Citi PayAll has a higher admin fee of 2.2%, but the Citi PremierMiles Card earns 1.2 miles per S$1 charged. This means the cost per mile is lower then VOYAGE, at 1.83 cents.

Keep in mind that banks may apply different earn rates for income tax payments as opposed to regular retail spend. For example:

  • the UOB PRVI Miles Card normally earns 1.4 mpd, but awards 1 mpd for UOB Payment Facility transactions (you’ll earn 1.4 mpd via CardUp, though)
  • all DBS cards earn a flat 1.5 mpd for income tax payment plans, instead of their usual rates. 

If this is too complicated for you, the next section should make everything very clear. 

What are my options for paying tax with a credit card?

At the moment, only CardUp has announced their YA 2024 income tax payment promotion:

Citi PayAll normally unveils theirs in mid to late April, so bookmark this page and check back frequently; I’ll update it as soon as we know (you can get push notifications for the latest posts by subscribing to MileLion Roars).

Shown below is the lowest possible price you can pay for miles with each card, denoted by CPM (cost per mile, in cents).

💰 Summary of Tax Payment Options
CardPay ViaFee 
(MPD)
CPM
Citi ULTIMA VisaCardUp1.75%
(1.6 mpd)
1.07¢
Use CardUp with MLTAX24, valid till 31 Aug 24
DBS InsigniaCardUp1.75%
(1.6 mpd)
1.07¢
Use CardUp with MLTAX24, valid till 31 Aug 24
OCBC VOYAGE
(Premier, PPC, BOS)
CardUp1.75%
(1.6 mpd)
1.07¢
Use CardUp with MLTAX24, valid till 31 Aug 24. New users use OCBC15 for 1.5% fee (0.92 cpm), valid till 31 Dec 24
UOB ReserveCardUp1.75%
(1.6 mpd)
1.07¢
Use CardUp with MLTAX24, valid till 31 Aug 24
DBS Vantage
CardUp1.75%
(1.5 mpd)
1.15¢
Use CardUp with MLTAX24, valid till 31 Aug 24
Citi ULTIMA MC
CardUp1.99%
(1.6 mpd)
1.22¢
Use CardUp with MCTAX24, valid till 31 Aug 24
UOB PRVI Miles VisaCardUp1.75%
(1.4 mpd)
1.23¢
Use CardUp with MLTAX24, valid till 31 Aug 24
UOB Visa Infinite MetalCardUp1.75%
(1.4 mpd)
1.23¢
Use CardUp with MLTAX24, valid till 31 Aug 24
StanChart Visa InfiniteCardUp1.75%
(1.0/1.4 mpd)
1.23¢
1.72¢
Use CardUp with MLTAX24, valid till 31 Aug 24
DBS Altitude VisaCardUp1.75%
(1.3 mpd)
1.32¢
Use CardUp with MLTAX24, valid till 31 Aug 24
OCBC 90°N VisaCardUp1.75%
(1.3 mpd)
1.32¢
Use CardUp with MLTAX24, valid till 31 Aug 24. New users use OCBC90N15 for 1.5% fee (1.14 cpm), valid till 31 Dec 24
OCBC VOYAGECardUp1.75%
(1.3 mpd)
1.32¢
Use CardUp with MLTAX24, valid till 31 Aug 24. New users use OCBC15 for 1.5% fee (1.14 cpm), valid till 31 Dec 24
OCBC Premier Visa InfiniteCardUp1.75%
(1.28 mpd)
1.34¢
Use CardUp with MLTAX24, valid till 31 Aug 24. New users use OCBC15 for 1.5% fee (1.15 cpm), valid till 31 Dec 24
UOB PRVI Miles MCCardUp1.99%
(1.4 mpd)
1.39¢
Use CardUp with MCTAX24, valid till 31 Aug 24
StanChart JourneyCardUp1.75%
(1.2 mpd)
1.43¢
Use CardUp with MLTAX24, valid till 31 Aug 24
Citi PrestigeCardUp1.99%
(1.3 mpd)
1.50¢
Use CardUp with MCTAX24, valid till 31 Aug 24
OCBC 90°N MCCardUp2%
(1.3 mpd)
1.51¢
Use CardUp with OCBC90NMC, valid till 30 Jun 24. New users use OCBC90N15 for 1.5% fee (1.14 cpm), valid till 31 Dec 24
Citi Premier MilesCardUp1.99%
(1.2 mpd)
1.63¢
Use CardUp with MCTAX24, valid till 31 Aug 24
KrisFlyer UOBCardUp1.99%
(1.2 mpd)
1.63¢
Use CardUp with MCTAX24, valid till 31 Aug 24
DBS Altitude AMEXDBS2.5%
(1.5 mpd)
1.67¢
Use DBS My Preferred Payment Plan for Income Tax Payment
UOB PRVI Miles AMEXCardUp2.6%
(1.4 mpd)
1.81¢
Use CardUp (no promo code)
BOC Elite MilesCardUp1.99%
(1.2 mpd)
1.95¢
Use CardUp with MCTAX24, valid till 31 Aug 24
AMEX PPS CardCardUp2.6%
(1.3 mpd)
1.95¢
Use CardUp (no promo code)
AMEX Solitaire PPS CardCardUp2.6%
(1.3 mpd)
1.95¢
Use CardUp (no promo code)
AMEX KrisFlyer AscendCardUp2.6%
(1.2 mpd)
2.11¢
Use CardUp (no promo code)
AMEX KrisFlyer Credit CardCardUp2.6%
(1.1 mpd)
2.30¢
Use CardUp (no promo code)
amex centurionAMEX CenturionCardUp2.6%
(0.98 mpd)
2.59¢
Use CardUp (no promo code)
AMEX Platinum ChargeCardUp2.6%
(0.78 mpd)
3.25¢
Use CardUp (no promo code)
AMEX Platinum Credit CardCardUp2.6%
(0.69 mpd)
3.67¢
Use CardUp (no promo code)
AMEX Platinum ReserveCardUp2.6%
(0.69 mpd)
3.67¢
Use CardUp (no promo code)
❓How is this calculated?

For CardUp, both the admin fee and the tax payment earn miles, so a S$1,000 payment with a 1.75% fee placed on a 1.2 mpd card earns 1,221 miles (S$1,017.50 x 1.2 mpd, ignoring rounding). This works out to 1.43 cents per mile (S$17.50/1,221 miles)

For bank facilities, only the tax payment earns miles, so a S$1,000 payment with a 1.75% fee placed on a 1.2 mpd card earns 1,200 miles. This works out to 1.46 cents per mile (S$17.50/1,200)

❓ First CardUp payment?
If this is your first-ever CardUp payment, use the code MILELION to save S$30 off your first payment of any amount. You can subsequently use any other promo code for existing customers (e.g. MLTAX24)

Other important points

Apply for as many facilities as you want

If you hold more than one of the cards above, there’s nothing stopping you from applying for multiple tax payment facilities in order to buy more miles (otherwise known as churning).

For example, someone with a S$10,000 tax bill could apply for both the StanChart Visa Infinite tax payment facility and set up a payment arrangement with CardUp. 

Take particular care if you’re applying for two direct payment facilities, however, because overpaying your tax bill will trigger a refund from IRAS, and a possible clawing back of the miles by the bank. 

 

“Where we have determined in our discretion exercised reasonably that your Payment(s) to IRAS exceed the amount of taxes which you are required to pay to IRAS, we shall be entitled to claw back any rewards credited to your card account in connection with any amount so overpaid to IRAS using the Service. In such an event, we will refund the relevant portion of Fee in respect of such overpaid amount.”

-Citi PayAll T&Cs

There’s no chance of this happening with indirect payment facilities, because the onus is on you to pay IRAS. What you do with the cash after it’s deposited into your account is your own business.

You can still use GIRO

IRAS allows taxpayers to split their payment into 12 interest-free instalments via GIRO. This is great for maximizing your cashflow, and something I opt for each year.

Setting up GIRO for income tax can be done via the following methods:

  • Instant
    • myTax portal (DBS/POSB and OCBC customers)
    • Internet banking (DBS/POSB, OCBC and UOB customers)
    • AXS stations (DBS/POSB customers)
  • 3 weeks processing

Once your GIRO arrangement has been approved, you can view the monthly instalment by logging to myTax Portal, selecting Account > View Payment Plan > View Plan.

There are no issues using GIRO if you opt for an indirect payment facility, as the bank simply credits the cash to your account, and how you go about paying IRAS after that is up to you.

It’s also possible to use GIRO when you’re paying via a direct payment facilities, though you’ll want to make manual payments well in advance of each month’s scheduled deduction (on the 6th of each month) to avoid double payment. 

To illustrate, suppose your tax bill is S$12,000 and you opt for GIRO. IRAS will split your tax bill such that S$1,000 comes due each month. 

MonthManual Payment GIROTotal Paid
May 2024S$1,000S$1,000
Jun 20224S$1,000S$2,000
Jul 2024S$400S$600S$3,000
Aug 2024S$1,000S$4,000
Sep 2024S$1,500S$5,500
Oct 2024S$500S$6,000
Nov 2024S$1,000S$7,000
Dec 2024S$1,000S$8,000
Jan 2025S$1,000S$9,000
Feb 2025S$1,000S$10,000
Mar 2025S$1,000S$11,000
Apr 2025S$1,000S$12,000

Suppose you make a manual payment of S$400 in July 2024. According to your payment schedule, you were supposed to pay S$1,000 in July, so GIRO will automatically adjust to deduct S$600 instead of S$1,000 for that month. 

Then suppose you make a manual payment of S$1,500 in September 2024. According to your payment schedule, you only needed to pay S$1,000 in September, so GIRO won’t take any deduction for this month. 

When October 2024 comes round, assuming you make no further manual payment, GIRO will deduct S$500 to put you “back on schedule” with S$6,000 paid off by the end of October 2022. 

Now, it’s important to keep in mind that IRAS GIRO deductions take place on the 6th of the month the tax is due (or the next working day if that happens to be a weekend or public holiday). If your manual payment is made close to this date, it’s possible the regular GIRO deduction will still take place. 

Per my understanding, the cut-off is the last day of the month before, so if you make a manual payment on 1 April, the reduction will be in effect for May’s taxes (and not April). In any case, the CardUp system won’t let you schedule payments during the last few and first few days of each month. 

For more instructions on how to setup a recurring income tax payment series with CardUp, refer to this link.

When miles will be credited?

If you’re using CardUp, you can expect your credit card points to be awarded once the transaction posts.

However, if you’re using Citi PayAll (when it does launch its bonus offer), only the base points will be posted with the transaction. You’ll need to wait until a few months after the promotion ends to receive the bonus component.

So if you’re hoping to use your miles for a trip in the near future, that’s something you need to factor in too.

What type of points are you earning?

When evaluating two cards with similar cost per mile figures, it’s helpful to think of qualitative factors as well”

For example, Citi Miles would be superior to DBS Points or UOB UNI$, thanks to the sheer number of transfer partners available. Likewise, non-expiring Citi Miles and 90°N Miles would be more useful than expiring UNI$ or HSBC Rewards Points.

Conclusion

Income Tax Season 2024 has begun, and we’re starting to see the promotions roll out. The current lowest cost per mile starts from 1.07 cents, which can be attractive especially for those looking to redeem First and Business Class tickets.

I’ll be updating this article as new tax payment promotions are announced, so be sure to bookmark it for future reference.

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Patsy

Anyway to use HSBC to pay ?

Nicholas

Say if I were to use the UOB Payment facility with UOB Visa Infinite Metal card, would it then be about 1.4 cents per mile ? Is my calculations correct?
Would it be possible to have a separate table without Cardup as the primary payment facility ?

YMMV

churning? I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

Leo

Many will tap on this opportunity to meet the credit card sign-up gift requirement (500/1000/1500 or Citi Prestige 2000 for 2 months), do you want to include a section on this?

Last edited 17 days ago by Leo
Ben

If this is your first-ever CardUp payment, use the code MILELION to save S$30 off your first payment of any amount. You can subsequently use any other promo code for existing customers (e.g. MLTAX24)

How should I go about doing this if I’m making monthly payments on my income tax? Do I need to set up a 1 one-time payment with the first promo for the first month’s payment, and then set up the remaining balance as a separate recurring payment with the second promo?

Shuqi

Hi, what if i am making a first time lump sum payment? I can only use the $30 off, and can’t stack the 2 promos? Thank you!

KT87

Any idea if Amex (plat) would ever be added to the promo bucket?

Jackson

The summary table shows 1.3mile per $ for DBS Altitude Visa whereas the information above it states 1.5mile per $ for ALL DBS cards. Which is correct?

Francis

UOB PP card is not on the list?

SY Ong

The Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Income Tax Payment Facility states a cashback capped at $300, and first 50 applications per calendar month. The example SC showed was Tax of $80,000 at 1.9% fee ($1520) and get cashback of $300. It is not clear if one still earn the points

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