GST Vouchers: Why annual value of homes is used as a criterion06 Mar 2012
WE THANK Mr Tan Chee Tiong ('Fairer way to offer GST Vouchers', last Saturday), who suggested that we use income (including rental income) as the sole basis for who should benefit from the GST Voucher scheme.
The GST Voucher scheme is meant to help less well-off Singaporeans. To distinguish them from the better-off Singaporeans, the criteria for the GST Voucher use both a person's individual income and the annual value of his home.
The annual value of $20,000 means that 80 per cent of homes in Singapore are covered, including low-value private property. Those who own a second property are not eligible for the GST Voucher.
The use of both income and annual value criteria is by no means perfect, but provides us with a fair basis to take a person's income and wealth into consideration.
Among Singaporeans with the same incomes, those who live in private homes are generally better off than those who live in HDB homes. Likewise, those with no income (such as retirees and housewives) living in higher-end homes are generally better off than those with no income living in HDB homes.
Nonetheless, we understand that even those living in homes in the top 20 per cent of the annual value range can experience instances of financial hardship. Other forms of community support such as ComCare can be applied flexibly to help them.
We will review the criteria for the GST Voucher scheme regularly to take into account changes to Singaporeans' income and property values.
Lim Bee Khim (Ms)
Director (Corporate Communications)
Ministry of Finance