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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Google Play Store: Changing Purchase Currency

I am based in Singapore and I wanted to purchase an app on Google Play Store.  The app is called WatchMaker which cost USD1.99 however I am seeing the price of SGD2.99 this is due to location and SIM card is bearing a Singapore number.

Making a calculation the exchange rate I am getting from Google for this app will be 1.5.  This is crazy.  At current my credit card company is only charging me 1.38 at worse.

Do note not all apps are using this exchange rate.  For example, I tried another app, Facer Watch Face which is showing SGD1.35 with my local Singapore SIM Card.

The app actually cost me USD1.00.  So in this case the exchange rate was 1.35 which is much lower than my credit card company.

So how can you change your currency of payment since if your SIM card is in Singapore the Play Store will always use SGD no matter where you are even when you are oversea roaming (Yes I tried that in US).

First I have actually set up my Google Wallet Profile account address in Singapore.  That makes Play Store always use SGD as my payment.  In order to change to USD, I have to change my address to a US address.  You can use any address you can find.

First Login to your Google Wallet .
Click the Gear Icon on the top right hand corner.

Next Edit your Home Address.  This will cost Google Play Store to make your payment currency in respect to the home address.  In my case, USD for a USD address.

Here I am going to use the app, Facer Watch Face as an example. you will see it is price at $1.35 (this is actually SGD because my SIM card is Singapore SIM).  Click on the Buy button, you will be shown the below:

The purchase will not be made till you confirm you payment method.  You can add or change them by clicking the arrow of the drop down list.  This shows all your payment method you have created in Google Wallet.  You will see that the cost here is now in US$1.00.  So now I will be charge USD1.00 instead of SGD1.35.

Do note that if after changing your Google Wallet, if you are NOT seeing this refection on your phone (on play.google.com that should already be working), you will need to go to your App Manager and do a uninstall of all the update and clear the cache.  This should be located in your Phone Settings menu, look for App or App Manager, etc.  After which restart your phone to also reflect this change on your mobile Google Play Store else it will always be showing SGD price even after clicking Buy button.

Of course to change back, you need to update your Account Home Address to a Singapore Address again and repeat the above for your phone setup.

I hope this tip will help you resolve your wondering.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Reduce Singapore Income Tax in Summary

I have been asked by many and like to share this out with the help of a friend, Hwee Bing Koh, a financial adviser from fin-exis.

For all individual employed or self employed updated as of Jan 2015 2017.

Some of the ways you can reduce your assessed income tax.  Some are automatic credited due to it is based on what is announced during Singapore Financial report while the rest are ways you can do it yourself.
https://www.iras.gov.sg/irashome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals--Reliefs--Expenses--Donations-/

You can also download a spreadsheet from here to do your own calculation.

Here are some of the ways which would you can help yourself to reduce tax:

For Self Employed Only
- Perform a voluntary CPF contribution to a maximum of $31,450
Source:
http://mycpf.cpf.gov.sg/CPF/News/News-Release/NR_23Nov2002.htm
https://www.iras.gov.sg/irasHome/page.aspx?id=12312

Course fee relief
- Up to $5,500 from an approved institute or qualification including exam fee incurred by yourself not by company.  You can refer https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/Course-Fees-Relief/

Cash CPF Top up for loved ones up to $7,000 or your own RA or SA
- Spouse not earning an annual income exceeding $4,000 or parents, grandparents, disabled siblings or disabled spouse has no income cap.
- Top up your own RA or SA up to $7,000 not exceeding the minimum sum stated.
Source: http://mycpf.cpf.gov.sg/CPF/my-Cpf/reach-55/Reach55-2.htm)
- Top up your loved ones/siblings SA (below 55 annual income not exceeding $4,00 a year), or parents RA (above 55) up to $7,000
Source:
https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/Compulsory-and-Voluntary-Medisave-Contributions/

Cash Top up to self
- Maximum of $7,000 allowed
- Only to Special or Retirement Account
Source:
https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/CPF-Cash-Top-up-Relief/

Volunteer Contribution to CPF
- Contribute to your Medisave Account (inclusive of Mandatory Contribution) as of 2015 (assuming you have not hit your maximum allowed contribution) based on CPF Annual Limit or Medisave Contribution Limit whichever is lower.
Source:
https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/Compulsory-and-Voluntary-Medisave-Contributions/
https://www.cpf.gov.sg/Members/schemes/schemes/other-matters/cpf-contribution-for-employees
https://www.cpf.gov.sg/Members/FAQ/schemes/healthcare/medisave#faq16126

Life Insurance Relief
- Insurance should be insured of yourself.
- You total annual contribution to CPF is less than $5,000
- Insurance should be insured of yourself. Have your insurance policies details (policy number and premium amount etc) when you do your filing.
Source: https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/Life-Insurance-Relief/
 
Parents Relief (as of 2014)
- up to $9,000 per parent or $14,000 for handicapped parent
- Parent must be staying with you if not staying with you $5,500 or handicapped parents $10,000
- parent is not working and no others is claiming the relief
Source:
https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/Parent-Relief-/-Handicapped-Parent-Relief/
The relief amount may also be found at http://www.singaporebudget.gov.sg/budget_2014/Families1.aspx (New higher parent relief for YA2015)

Less expense
- keep your receipts for amount paid by you for work in terms of public transport and mobile and record of your transaction which a planner can be downloaded from the link below (typically applicable for those getting an allowance.  Need to keep the receipt for audit purpose.)
Source: https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/Deductions-on-Employment-Expenses/

Open a Supplementary Retirement Scheme account from local banks with top up a maximum of 12,750 or 29,750 for Local and foreigner respectively.
Source:
https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/Supplementary-Retirement-scheme--SRS--Relief/

Update: From 2016 onwards, the contribution allowed for Singaporean and PR is $15,300.
https://www.iras.gov.sg/irashome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Special-tax-schemes/Supplementary-Retirement-Scheme--SRS-/SRS-contributions/


Donations to registered bodies
- 2.5 times (3 times from 2015) the amount donated less your assessed taxable income
Source:
https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/Donations/
- Giving made simple by going to SG Gives, https://www.sggives.org/Public/5/Content_fordonors.aspx
- By providing your NRIC number to the Institute of Public Character (IPC), and you will enjoy the convenience of tax deductions automatically reflected on your tax assessment.  You can find out if a charity organization is under IPC here.

Lastly there is also Earned Income Relief
This is automatically included in your tax relief however the normal range is for indivudal below 55 year old is $1,000.  Occasionally this can be higher depending from Financial Announcement made.
Source:
https://www.iras.gov.sg/IRASHome/Individuals/Locals/Working-Out-Your-Taxes/Deductions-for-Individuals/Earned-Income-Relief/

There is also NSman Relief for guys serving reservist which you can read more about it here.  This is also an automatic relief nothing to do on your part.

Lastly, there is maximum income relief allowed per person per year up to $80,000 for FY2018.


Update 16th Oct 2017
Update link to reflect latest.

Update 12th Nov 2015
IRAS site have been updated and links above are updated to reflect the new site.