What Is WMCR and How Can It Help You?

Being a mother is hard. Being a mother while working is even more challenging. Thankfully, the Singapore government acknowledges the struggles of working mothers around the country. To help give this group support, it introduced Working Mother’s Child Relief, also called WMCR, in 2004.

If you want to learn more about how to take advantage of the Working Mother Child Relief in Singapore, you’re on the right page. In this guide, we’ll discuss what it is, its eligibility, the amount of WMCR you can claim depending on your child, and new changes that are set to be implemented in 2024 based on Budget 2024.

Here at OMY Singapore, you will discover the following:

What Is Working Mother Child Relief?

Working Mother’s Child Relief is a personal tax relief program in Singapore that is targeted towards mothers.

The goals of this child relief for working mothers include helping families with children, encouraging parents to take up Singapore citizenship for their children, and motivating married women to stay in the workforce even after having kids.

Who Can Qualify for Working Mother Child Relief?

Working Mother Child Relief

To qualify for WMCR and claim its benefits, a person must meet these criteria for Working Mother Child Relief:

  1. Be a working mother (can be married, divorced, or widowed)
  2. Have a taxable income from employment through the following:
    • Business or trade
    • Pensions
    • Profession or vocation
  3. Must maintain a child who is a Singapore citizen as of 31 December 2021, and has qualified the conditions under the Handicapped Child Relief or Qualifying Child Relief. This means:
    • The child must be born to you and your current or ex-spouse, be legally adopted and unmarried or is a stepchild.
    • The child must not be over 16 years or studying full-time at a college, university, or educational institution at any time of the year.
    • The child must not have an annual income over S$4,000 including salaries from the National Service, allowances, school attachment, internship, or part-time employment. This excludes bursaries, scholarships, and other similar allowances.
    • For children who are physically or mentally handicapped, there are no income or age conditions. Mothers can qualify as long as their child is born to their current or ex-spouse, is legally adopted, or is a stepchild.

Keep in mind that the IRAS Working Mother Child Relief is claimed once per year, and you must satisfy all these requirements by the end of the year.

If the child passes away, the WMCR can still be claimed during the current Year of Assessment.

How Does the Child Order Affect Working Mother Child Relief?

Not all Working Mother Tax Relief benefits are the same. The amount claimable under the Working Mother Child Care Relief programme is based on the child’s order, which is determined not only by birth but also by the order in which the child became part of the family.

Child How the birth order determined
Child born to you or your current or ex-spouse Birth shown in the birth certificate
Child born to you or your current or ex-spouse before marriage Date of marriage
Step child Birth shown in the birth certificate
Legally adopted child Date of the legal adoption based on the adoption papers
Child who is not a Singapore citizen at birth Date of the approval of SG citizenship

Note: Even decreased and stillborn children are counted towards the birth order.

Upcoming Changes for WMCR

For working mothers that will claim their benefits for children born or adopted before 1 January 2024, the WMCR will be calculated as a percentage of the earned income. For those who have more than one child, the percentages can be added together up to 100% of the earned income of mothers.

However, a new amendment was announced as part of Budget 2024 that will change how much WCMR benefits can be claimed. For children born on or after 1 January 2024, the new WMCR will be changed to a fixed monetary relief.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, the Singapore government already has an incredible set of measures to support children. However, these “need to be adjusted, to ensure that more support is given to those with greater needs.”

Take a look at this table to find out more.

Order of child WMCR for children born/adopted before 1 Jan 2024 WMCR for children born/adopted on or after 1 Jan 2024
First child 15% of mother’s earned income S$8,000
Second child 20% of mother’s earned income S$10,000
Third child and beyond 25% of mother’s earned income S$12,000

With this amendment, it would be possible for low-income mothers with multiple children to cover 100% of their earned income. The old way to calculate the benefits mostly had advantages for high-income mothers who can enjoy higher tax benefits.

To give you an example, let’s take a look at these cases:

Case 1: High income

Person A is earning S$100,000. If her first child is born before 1 January 2024, her chargeable income based on the IRAS child WMCR will be S$85,000. Assuming she has no other tax reliefs, she will pay roughly S$3,900 in income tax. But with the new rule in place, the WMCR will be set to S$8,000. Therefore, her chargeable income will be S$92,000. Considering this, she will pay around S$4,700 in taxes.

More From OMY: Best Personal Loan for Low Income Earners in Singapore

Case 2: Low income

Person B is a low-income earner who gets paid S$30,000 per year. If she has a first child that was born before 1 January 2024, the WMCR Tax Relief will be S$4,500 based on the old rule. Therefore, her chargeable income would be S$25,000, and she will pay S$110 as income tax. But with the new rule, her chargeable income would only be S$22,000. Therefore, she will only pay $40 income tax.

Can Working Mothers Still Claim Based on Percentage of Their Earned Income?

For mothers who have been claiming Working Mother Child Relief IRAS or will be claiming it for their children born in 2024, they can still enjoy benefits based on the percentage of their earned income.

It is also possible for mothers to claim under a fixed amount and percentage of earned income. For instance, if Person C’s first child was born in 2020 and her second child was born in 2024, she can claim under both methods of the WMCR Singapore tax.

Is There a Cap for the Benefit of Working Mother Child Relief?

Yes. Parents (both mothers and fathers) may only claim Qualifying Child Relief of Handicapped Child Relief for their child who meets the qualifying conditions. This amounts to S$4,000 per child for QCR and S$7,500 per child for HCR.

Meanwhile, working mothers can claim QCR/HCR and WMCR on the same child with a total cap of S$50,000 per child. The QCR/HCR claim will be applied before WMCR, regardless of the mother or father applied for it. So, if you’re wondering how to claim working mother child relief, it will only be limited to the remaining amount.

Keep in mind that there is also an S$80,000 personal income tax relief cap for every year of Assessment.

More From OMY: Discretionary Income vs Disposable Income in Singapore

A Word From OMY

The Working Mother Child Relief programme is definitely making the life of parents, especially mothers, easier. With the new changes set to be implemented soon, it is expected to bring great benefits to low and average income mothers.

More From OMY: How to Reduce Income Tax in Singapore Legally

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