Driver Elliot Lin, 32, said: “If you have to pay, you have to pay.”
Mr Lin said he is driving part-time, and the extra income he draws from driving would mean “an incremental tax increase of less than $100”.
“I’m very shocked. I may go back to driving taxis.”
Not so for others. A 50-year-old who drives for Grab and Uber and claims to be drawing around $9,000 a month said: “This is going to be a problem. Not just for me. I think a lot of drivers will have an issue. I don’t think self-employed people declare their full income.
NUS Social Sciences economist Walter Theseira said: “It’s only fair that people pay the same income taxes regardless of whether the money was earned through self-employment or wage employment.”
He added that it was more important to look at Central Provident Fund contributions. “Self-employment through private-hire or taxi-driving is excessively attractive financially because drivers do not have to pay CPF contributions.
In a similar way, hawkers, market stallholders and other business people may not be able to dodge the taxman once cashless payments become the norm.
Iras is also reaching out to others in the so-called “sharing economy”, which includes people who rent out their homes – fully or partly – via platforms such as Airbnb. Iras said it has made available information on its website on “the taxable income of those in sharing economy”.
“This raises their take-home earnings significantly… While this may appear ‘good’ in the short run, it puts the drivers at risk of not being able to finance their homes, or support themselves in retirement,” he said.
While there is no similar arrangement for cabbies – who accept mostly cash fares – We understands that once Singapore goes cashless, taxing taxi drivers according to their actual take-home pay should become more feasible.