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Saving for our golden years is something we should prioritise in our income-earning years. However, as most people at this stage also have more immediate financial goals, retirement planning often gets delayed.
That’s where the SRS comes in.
What is SRS?
The SRS is an initiative by the Singapore government to give Singaporeans and residents a pathway to enjoy near-term tangible benefits while they save towards their retirement years.
With SRS, you can enjoy tax savings on your next assessment year. At the same time, your fund can be run by the private sector, SRS complements the Central Provident Fund (CPF) which is meant to provide for your housing and medical needs and for basic living needs after retirement. Unlike the CPF scheme, participation in the SRS is voluntary.
SRS accounts receive dollar-for-dollar tax relief up to $15,300 for Singapore citizens and Singapore PRs and $35,700 for foreigners. In addition, your contributions can be put to work when you use your funds to purchase a range of quality investment instruments.
As an incentive, SRS contributions are eligible for tax relief the following year. Thus, if you do contribute to your SRS account by 31 Dec 2023, you can get tax relief in Year of Assessment 2023 (which is filed in 2024).
How Much Can You Save as Singaporean / Singapore PR?
An illustration of how the SRS helps a Singaporean / Singapore PR save base on annual income of SGD $120,000:
Employment Income Less Personal Reliefs
(Earned Income, CPF, Qualifying Child, Parent, etc.)
|Without SRS Contribution||With SRS Contribution|
|Total Relief||S$30,000||S$45,300 (Including SRS)|
|Total Tax Payable||S$4,500||S$2,979|
|Potential Tax Savings||
You save 33% more tax this year.
The above table is for illustration purpose only.
How SRS Makes YourSavings Work Doubly Hard for You
1.The main benefit of SRS contribution is tax-relief.
Based on the illustration, as a Singaporean or PR, you can save $1,521 in taxes each year by contributing at the maximum of $15,300 to SRS. Every dollar put into the SRS account will enable one to reduce the taxable
income by a dollar, subjected to a cap of $15,300 a year.
2. SRS funds can be used for further investments.
Who Benefits the Most from SRS?
More than half of SRS account holders in 2014 were between the ages of 36 and 55. And these are the people who probably earn over S$40,000 a year, the tax savings earned will be significant. The higher the annual income,
the more a person will be able to save in tax when he does SRS contribution.
A Good Scheme but What Is the Downside?
When the funds in the SRS account are not invested, it only generates an interest rate of 0.05%. Over time, the funds in the SRS account will lose value as the return of 0.05% is lesser than Singapore’s inflation rate.
In fact, 1 in 3 people who contribute to their SRS account are not taking advantage of the opportunity to invest their funds and grow their portfolio. So while the SRS is a good scheme, it is important that your funds are invested for the opportunity to earn more favourable returns.
Also, for any early withdrawals before retirement age of 62, all 100% of withdrawal sum will be taxed. In additional, 5% penalty will be applicable on the withdrawal sum as well.
Types of Withdrawals
After age 62, you can withdraw your funds for up to 10 years, and only 50% of each withdrawal is taxable. So, if in a given year you withdraw $40,000 SGD, $20,000 SGD is subject to tax; if you do not have any other personal income, this would be tax-free, as the first $20,000 SGD of personal income in Singapore is not taxable. Please refer to IRAS for full tax rates table.
Best strategy for withdrawal
Currently, resident tax rates begin getting taxed after annual income of $20,000 SGD. This means that, if you do not have any other taxable personal income, you can withdraw up to $40,000 SGD per year tax-free from your SRS account, for 10 years.
Therefore, is to minimise any income tax during those 10 years by spreading the withdrawals out if you do not have any other income or if you have steady other income, or by withdrawing less in the years when you receive additional income.
|Type of Withdrawal||Amount Subject to Tax||
5% Penalty Imposed?
Withdrawal on or after prescribed retirement age of 62 (Withdrawal can be spread over 10 years from the date of first penalty-free withdrawal)
|50% of withdrawal sum||No|
|Other Withdrawals||Early withdrawals before retirement age 62||100% of withdrawal sum||Yes|
What Can You Invest in Using Your SRS Funds?
Investing your SRS contributions is a great way to grow your retirement savings. One could choose from a wide range of financial products including:
• Singapore Government Securities (SGS)/Singapore Savings Bonds (SSB)
• Fixed Deposits
• Blue Chips Shares / Singapore-based ETF
• Retirement Income policies
• Unit Trusts
• Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
Everyone has different financial goals and retirement needs. At Insuranceguru, our experienced advisers can help you better understand how your SRS monies can be aligned to help you meet your goals.
Also, our advisers can help you develop your wealth strategies whether your goals are to protect, accumulate, manage, grow or distribute your wealth. Working closely with you to understand your financial needs, priorities and even challenges, we aim to be your trusted adviser, who will advise and inform you of what you need to know, even if the truth might be less pleasant to one’s ear.
Insure yourself, protect others.
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Alex Ang has over a decade of success in financial advisory. Today, he supports an extensive network of long-term clients who appreciate his impeccable service and advice, while leading a team of successful top-tier advisors in the wealth management firm he is working in. The ChFC® accredited advisor’s comprehensive experience and knowledge enable him to serve a wide demographic of clients – from mass-market, to mass-affluent and high-net-worth individuals. One of the top 10 advisors in his firm since 2014, Alex has won numerous awards; Alex’s goal is to nurture the next generation of leaders in the financial planning industry. Always willing to share his knowledge and expertise with his team as well as new advisors, he is also known for his outstanding leadership capabilities. The passionate mentor is adept in identifying talents and guiding them through learning programmes he tailors to their unique personalities. His ability to see the hidden strengths and talents of his mentees, has been key in helping them achieve their fullest potential. Under his tutelage, many of his mentees have achieved successes of their own within short time frames of their own. Alex can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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