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Reapply for the GST offset package

05 Feb 2008

We refer to the letter by Mr Lin Zi (??) "Who are the Ones Affected by GST" (???, ?????) dated 23 Jan 2008 in SMDN.

2. Mr Lin noted that last year's GST increase has a greater impact on the lower income Singaporeans, as validated by the GST Offset Package which gave more benefits to lower-income Singaporeans and the elderly. Indeed, between 2007 and 2011, those living in 3-room, 2-room and 1-room flats would receive total benefits of up to 10, 16 and 19 times the annual increase in GST expenditure respectively.

3. Mr Lin therefore suggested that the sign up deadline for GST Credits be extended since he believed that most of those who did not sign up were poorer Singaporeans.

4. Extensive publicity and outreach was done over the past year to remind Singaporeans to sign up for their GST Credits by 31 December 2007. Notification letters were sent out in May 2007, along with flyers customised to different housing type, apart from the very frequent media reports. A second round of reminder letters was sent out in November 2007 to those who had not yet signed up by then.

5. Posters were also displayed at locations frequented by the elderly and helpdesks were set up at 102 Community Centres/Clubs and CPF Board Service Centres. From June 2007, grassroots leaders also visited about 30,000 low-income and elderly Singaporeans living in 1 to 3-room flats.

6. As a result of all these efforts, almost 97% of eligible Singaporeans signed up for their GST credits by 31 December 2007, with over half of the 79,000 non-sign-ups living in private properties with annual values in excess of $10,000. As there had been repeated publicity and outreach efforts, any further extension of the deadline will not achieve much. Hence, we will not be extending the deadline. However, Singaporeans who did not sign up for their 2007 GST Credits may still sign-up for their 2008 Credits from mid May to December 2008. Singaporeans who have already signed up for their 2007 GST Credits do not need to sign up again to receive future payouts.