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GST Vouchers given to lower-end private homes too: Ministry

25 Feb 2012

MR TAN Guan Rong ('Private home owners'; Tuesday) asked why this year's Budget did not include retirees living in old private properties.

The GST Voucher is a fiscal redistribution scheme aimed at benefiting less well-off Singaporeans. It requires an approximate way to distinguish the less well-off and the better-off, from among the entire population of adult Singaporeans.

The GST Voucher is therefore based on their incomes and the annual value of their homes.

This is by no means a perfect system. But it is fair to have both criteria. Among Singaporeans with the same incomes, those who live in private homes are generally wealthier than those who live in average HDB homes.

Further, retirees and homemakers who have no incomes but who live in higher-end homes are generally better off than lower-income Singaporeans who live in HDB homes.

The GST Voucher, however, includes Singaporeans living in lower-end private properties, that is, with an annual value of $20,000 or less. The annual value cap of $20,000 covers about 15 per cent of private properties. Those who live in these properties would qualify for the GST Voucher - Medisave if they are aged 65 and above. Additionally, if their annual incomes are below $24,000, they would also qualify for the GST Voucher - Cash.

Mr Tan cited the example of a person who owns a second property in addition to the HDB flat he lives in. Those who own more than one property will not be eligible for the GST Voucher.

Lim Bee Khim (Ms)
Director (Corporate Communications)
Ministry of Finance