Parliamentary Question by Mr Sitoh Yih Pin:
To ask the Minister for Finance (a) whether there is a disparity between the tax regimes governing drivers of taxis and private-hire cars and, if so, what are the reasons for the differences; and (b) in view of the similarities between both types of point-to-point transport services, whether the Ministry has plans to bring the tax regimes in line with each other.
Parliamentary Reply by Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat:
1. Taxi drivers are allowed to claim tax deduction for expenses incurred in the production of their income. These tax-deductible expenses include vehicle rental fee, diesel, and parking charges.
2. As for private-hire ride-hailing car drivers, deduction for tax is not allowed in respect of expenses incurred on the car. This is because such drivers cannot be assumed to use their cars pre-dominantly for business purposes. Many drive on a part-time or casual basis. This treatment supports our national policy to manage the car population, and is applied to both corporate and individual taxpayers. For example, companies are similarly not allowed to claim tax deduction on any expenses incurred for a private car.
3. Private-hire ride-hailing car drivers can however claim deduction for other non-car expenses. Such allowable deductible expenses include commission paid to third-party operators, administrative charges imposed by third-party operators, and the proportion of expenses for mobile phones used in the course of providing their services.
4. As the regulatory regimes and business models for taxi and ride-hailing services remain different, there are no plans to harmonise the tax regimes for now.