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National Private Hire Vehicles Association asks Iras to tax drivers in 'fair manner'

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National Private Hire Vehicles Association asks Iras to review tax-deductible expenses

Private-hire vehicle drivers should be taxed "in a fair manner, like other businesses of a similar nature", said the National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA).

In a statement yesterday, it called on the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) to review the allowable business expenses for such drivers.

NPHVA's executive secretary Mohd Randy said: "Unlike taxis, private-hire vehicle expenses such as fuel, vehicle rental fee, Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) expenses and other running expenses are, at present, not tax-deductible."

On Sunday, The Sunday Times reported that Iras had approached two ride-hailing firms, Uber and Grab, to work out an arrangement for their drivers to file tax returns automatically.

As earnings are captured by their respective phone apps, an automatic system would ensure they are not under-declared. Both firms have together amassed over 40,000 drivers since 2013.

While NPHVA said Iras' efforts to allow e-filing of tax returns would be convenient for drivers, it said other regulations should continue to be reviewed as well.

"Where a private-hire vehicle is owned by a driver, there are also overheads such as repair, maintenance and vehicle insurance to consider," he said.

Mr Randy conceded it could be difficult to calculate what is tax-deductible if a vehicle is not used primarily for business.

"One possibility is to explore tax deductibility based on the mileage clocked on private-hire driving as practised overseas," he suggested.

He said that NPHVA looks forward to "a fairer approach in the treatment of income from private-hire vehicle driving, and stands ready to discuss this further with Iras".

Private-hire drivers told The Straits Times they support this call. "It should be a given that such expenses are tax-deductible," said a 50-year-old private-hire driver who wanted to be known as Albert.