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Complete Guide To Understanding The Working Mother’s Child Relief (WMCR) To Support Mums In The Workforce

Working mothers earning less than $53,000 will benefit from the change to fixed amount relief


Juggling between family and work is never easy and working mothers should be supported in their choices to remain in the workforce. One way that the government supports working mothers is through the Working Mother’s Child Relief (WMCR).

The Working Mother’s Child Relief (WMCR) is an income tax relief that working mothers can qualify for if their child is a Singapore Citizen. Unlike the Parenthood Tax Rebate that can only be claimed once, the WMCR can be claimed for every Year of Assessment during which the qualifying criteria are met.

Working Mothers Can Claim WMCR If They Have A Child Who Is A Singapore Citizen

According to IRAS, to claim the Working Mother’s Child Relief (WMCR), you must:

  1. Be a working mother who is married, divorced or widowed. Single or male taxpayers cannot qualify for WMCR.
  2. Have taxable earned income from employment or pension, trade or business or through profession or vocation. Taxable earned income being total earned income less allowable expenses.
  3. You maintained a child who is a Singapore Citizen and met the conditions under the Qualifying Child Relief or Handicapped Child Relief:
    1. Your child is born to you and your spouse/ex-spouse; or is a step-child; or is legally adopted and unmarried.
    2. Your child is below 16 years of age or studying full-time at any university, college or other educational institution at any time in the year.
    3. Your child did not have an annual income exceeding $4,000 (including allowances and salaries from National Service, internship, school attachment and part-time employment, but excluding scholarships, bursaries and similar allowances)
    4. If your child is mentally or physically handicapped, there’s no age or income conditions. You will qualify as long as your child is born to you and your spouse/ex-spouse; or is a step-child; or is legally adopted.

As the WCMR is claimed annually for the Year Of Assessment, you must be maintaining a child who satisfies the conditions of the Qualifying Child Relief or Handicapped Child Relief at the end of the year (i.e. at 31 December 2021 for Year of Assessment 2022).

In the unfortunate event of a child’s death, the WMCR may still be claimed during the relevant Year of Assessment (i.e. for tax filing for Year of Assessment 2022 for child who passed away in 2021)

The Amount Of Relief Depends On The Child’s Order

The amount of WMCR claimable is based on the child’s order. This order is determined not only by birth order but the order which the child joins the family unit.

  • For a child born to you and your spouse/ex-spouse, the date of birth shown in the child’s birth certificate is used to determine child order.
  • For a child born to you and your spouse/ex-spouse before you are married to your spouse/ex-spouse, it is the date of marriage.
  • For a step-child, it is the date of birth shown on the child’s birth certificate.
  • For a legally adopted child, it is the date of legal adoption as shown in the adoption papers.
  • For a child who is not a Singapore citizen at birth, it is the date of approval of Singapore citizenship.

A deceased child is counted towards the child order as well. From Year of Assessment 2022 onwards, a stillborn child will also count towards WMCR when the mother claiming is the natural mother of the stillborn child.

Amount Of Relief Will Change From Percentage Of Earned Income To Fixed Amount For Children Born Or Adopted After 1 January 2024

For working mothers claiming for children born or adopted before 1 January 2024, the WMCR is calculated as a percentage of earned income. For more than one child, the percentages are added together, up to a cap of 100% of mother’s earned income.

As announced in Budget 2023, the WMCR amount will change to a fixed dollar tax relief.

Child Order WMCR For Qualifying Child Born/ Adopted Before 1 January 2024 WMCR For Qualifying Child Born/ Adopted After 1 January 2024
First 15% of mother’s earned income $8,000
Second 20% of mother’s earned income $10,000
Third and beyond 25% of mother’s earned income $12,000

 

Based on the percentage of earned income, it is possible for mothers with multiple (5) children to obtain WMCR that fully covers their earned income. Calculating the WMCR based on percentage of earned income also advantages higher income earners who will enjoy higher tax relief.

For example, if the mother’s earned income is $100,000, the WMCR will be $15,000 for the first child born before 1 January 2024. This will bring her chargeable income to $85,000. Assuming no other tax reliefs or rebates, she would pay $3,925 in income tax. With the change to fixed amount, the WMCR will be $8,000 for the first child born after 1 January 2024. This will bring her chargeable income to $92,000. Assuming no other reliefs, she will pay $4,730 in income tax or $805 more.

For a lower income earner, where the mother’s earned income is $30,000, the WMCR will be $4,500 for the first child born before 1 January 2024. This will bring her chargeable income to $25,500. Assuming no other tax reliefs or rebates, she would pay $110 in income tax (as the first $20,000 doesn’t incur income tax). With the change to fixed amount, her WMCR will be $8,000 for the first child born after 1 January 2024. This will bring her chargeable income to $22,000. Assuming no other reliefs, she will pay $40 in income tax or $60 less.

For an average income earner where the mother’s earned income is $50,000, the WMCR will be $7,500 for the first child born before 1 January 2024. This will bring her chargeable income to $42,500. Assuming no other tax reliefs or rebates, she would pay $725 in income tax. With the change to fixed amount, her WMCR will be $8,000 for the first child born after 1 January 2024. This will bring her chargeable income to $42,000. Assuming no other reliefs, she will pay $690 in income tax or $35 less.

In general, working mothers whose earned income is less than $53,333 will benefit from the change to a fixed amount WMCR for their first child.

Working Mothers Claiming For Existing Children Will Still Continue To Enjoy WMCR Based On Percentage Of Earned Income

For working mothers who are already claiming WMCR for their child(ren) or will be claiming for child(ren) born in 2023, the WMCR will continue to be based on the percentage of earned income.

It is likely that some mothers will claim for WMCR under both ways under the percentage of earned income and fixed amount.

For example, a mother has her first child born on 9 August 2021 and her second child on 14 February 2023, she expects to have a third child in 2024. Assuming all her children qualify, she would receive WMCR under both methods.

WMCR amount for earned income of $60,000
First Child (born on 9 August 2021) $9,000 (15% of $60,000)
Second Child (born on 14 February 2023) $12,000 (20% of $60,000)
Third Child (born in 2024) $12,000

 

Working Mother’s Child Relief Shares A Total Cap Of $50,000 With Qualifying Child Relief/ Handicapped Child Relief

Even with the unlimited number of children that can qualify and computation of percentage of earned income, there is a limit to how much WMCR that working mothers can claim.

Parents (either mother or father) can also claim Qualifying Child Relief (QCR) or Handicapped Child Relief (HCR) for children that meet the qualifying conditions (as mentioned above). This amount is $4,000 per child for Qualifying Child Relief or $7,500 per child for Handicapped Child Relief.

For working mothers, you can claim both the WMCR and QCR/HCR on the same child. This is subject to a total cap of $50,000 per child. Additionally, the QCR/HCR claim will be applied first, regardless of whether it is claimed by the mother or father. The WMCR claim will be limited to the remaining balance of the cap.

Additionally, a personal income tax relief cap of $80,000 applies to all tax reliefs claimed for each Year of Assessment.

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