Opening Address By Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Minister Of State For Finance And Transport, At The Official Launch Of myTax Portal, 28 June 2007, 4.00 P.M. At Revenue House28 Jun 2007
Mr. Moses Lee CEO and Commissioner of Inland Revenue
Mr. Seah Chin Siong Country Managing Director, Accenture
Dr. Tia Too Seng Chief Technology Officer, Avanade
Friends from the media
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. I am pleased to join you here this afternoon for the launch of "myTax Portal" - IRAS' one-stop portal that provides round-the-clock e-services to taxpayers.
2. Many of you would already be familiar with the new portal as it has been rolled out on a trial basis since 2004. In fact, many of you have used myTax Portal to file your tax returns just two months ago, joining more than a million of your fellow taxpayers. This year, more than 80% of all individual income tax returns were filed online - an all-time high for Singapore.
What makes myTax Portal unique
3. I believe the success of myTax Portal stems from its focus on simplifying tax administration for individuals, businesses and property owners. With just one PIN, individuals can access a portal that is customised with all their tax information, where they can conduct a variety of tax transactions ranging from income tax to property tax and GST. For example, a sole proprietor can file his income tax and GST returns for his business, check his personal income tax records for the past few years, and apply for his owner-occupier property tax concession all in one easy-to-use system. Additionally, because it retains information from taxpayers, individuals do not need to re-enter their personal information each time they make claims for tax reliefs and rebates, hence streamlining the tax filing process.
4. Similarly, myTax Portal provides companies with much added convenience. Companies can e-file their Estimated Chargeable Income and GST returns through myTax Portal. This will also speed up the refund process, which is particularly helpful to the cashflow of exporters who would normally get a refund of GST paid for their inputs.
Providing interest on over-due refunds
5. In addition to providing on-line services to help taxpayers save time and effort, IRAS on an on-going basis reviews and improves its service standards on all its processes. IRAS has a service standard of paying within 30 days any refund due to taxpayers from their income tax and property tax payments. To demonstrate IRAS' commitment to this service standard, I am pleased to announce that from 1st July 2007, IRAS will pay interest to these taxpayers if it fails to issue income tax or property tax refunds within the 30 days' service standard.
Building a healthy relationship between IRAS and taxpayers
6. I would like to commend IRAS' efforts to make myTax Portal a one-stop solution for all the tax-related needs of taxpayers. The road to providing such an innovative solution was not an easy one. To make myTax Portal truly interactive, IRAS had to revamp its internal computer system as well. The Inland Revenue Interactive Network, or IRIN for short, is IRAS' new computer system. It was designed with taxpayers' needs in mind using a leading technology known as Microsoft.Net. It provides a powerful platform for more efficient connections among information, people, system & devices and IRAS is one of the first tax administrations in the world to adopt this technology.
Singapore's e-Government journey
7. IRAS' experience illustrates the point that the process of adapting new technologies to customers' needs is not just simply doing things the old way but by using the internet. It requires Government agencies to examine their internal processes and consider how they can use technology to change or refine the processes to serve our customers more efficiently.
8. myTax Portal marks another milestone in Singapore's e-Government journey. In May 2006, the Ministry of Finance and Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) jointly launched iGov2010, our e-Government masterplan and the strategic targets to be achieved by 2010. MyTax Portal will bring us one step closer to the overarching iGov2010's vision to deliver quality e-services that delight customers, by designing government processes around the customers' needs, and personalising e-services to the individual.
9. In this regard, I am pleased to note that just days ago, we welcomed the news that the Singapore government has emerged tops in an Accenture survey of customer service amongst 22 governments. The ease of filing taxes was cited as one of our strengths. Such recognition will spur us to continue to improve our policies and tax administration to reach greater heights in our service levels.
10. The myTax Portal marks a major milestone in IRAS' continuing drive to make tax services more accessible and user-friendly to the public. I would like to applaud the efforts of IRAS, Accenture, NCS, Avanade and Microsoft for making this possible.
11. Going forward, I believe that with creative initiatives like myTax Portal, the partnership between IRAS and taxpayers in Singapore will continue to grow stronger.
12. It is now my pleasure to launch myTax Portal. Thank you.