Singapore, 9 April 2004 – For seven years, rain or shine, Mr Tan Ah Tee had been taking Philip Ang to school every day in his taxi. Because of Mr Tan’s dedication, Philip was able to attend classes regularly and successfully complete his certificate in Business Study and later go on to obtain a Diploma in Accountancy. Two other taxi drivers provided transport to Philip for 11 years when he started working. Their support has helped Philip to become a Senior Finance Executive today.
Many others like Philip probably have also benefited from this special door-to-door taxi service. Without the taxi uncles and aunties, many physically disabled children may face great transport difficulties in getting to schools. Similarly, physically disabled adults rely on taxis for their transport needs if they are unable to access public transportation.
As a gesture of goodwill to taxi drivers, Philip prompted The Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD) to provide an E-Filing service to help them file their income tax returns. This is to thank all taxi drivers for their support in providing the disabled transport whenever they need it. Many of the disabled may not be able to leave their homes if not for the taxi service.
Nine physically disabled persons from SPD are specially trained to provide this E-Filing service. The E-Filing team has undergone 40 hours of training that included knowledge on personal taxation and simulated exercises on various different scenarios on tax issues. The training was conducted by Philip and Jan Lee, another disabled person who had also relied on the taxi service during his entire school years. A special session was also held by the Inland Revenue Authority (IRAS) to familiarize the team on IRAS E-Filing system.
Philip says, “”Many people have helped me to be where I am today. I am happy to be able to contribute to the society that gave me the opportunity to do what I like and achieve my potential. I hope people do not see us any differently as physically disabled just means physically challenged.””
Dr Ow Chee Chung, Executive Director of SPD says: “”Very often, people view the disabled as the ones always on the receiving end, unable to give and contribute. However, we do have a team of very enthusiastic people who have the right attitude and motivation to want to work. The E-Filing service is an example to show that the disabled can contribute too and they have a role to play in society as well.””
The E-Filing service is available from 15 March to 15 April, Mondays to Fridays from 11am to 3 pm. The operating hours are carefully selected taking into consideration the taxi peak hours in the mornings and evenings and other e-clubs that already offer weekend services.
Taxi drivers who wish to use the service can call personally at the SPD Ability Centre with their EF-PIN Letters or Income Tax Returns Form, and supporting documents of income, expenses and claims. To avoid queuing and waiting, taxi drivers can call first and arrange a convenient time with the E-File team at Tel: 6579 0746. The service is free for all taxi drivers.
The E-Filing service is begun this year as one of the events in SPD’s 40th Anniversary celebrations. It is also one of the initiatives in SPD’s ongoing plans to provide job training and opportunity for people with physical disabilities. This follows the successful pilot test of training a group of people with physical disabilities to be web designers. SPD web designers have since gone on to design and maintain websites and design electronic greeting cards on a commercial basis.
Future plans include providing bookkeeping and secretarial services. This is to allow people who do not have the creative flair for web-design and graphic art to participate in opportunities for other work.