S'poreans abroad and GST vouchers13 Jul 2012
Mr Jagir Singh Riar (“Settlers abroad shouldn’t get GST vouchers” 10 July 2012) has rightly pointed out that the GST Voucher (GSTV) should be aimed at benefiting the less well-off Singaporeans who incur GST here. The GSTV benefits are significant. On average, the GSTV will help lower-income families offset about half of the GST they pay each year. Retiree couples living alone in smaller flats can expect to receive a GSTV that will more than fully offset their yearly GST expenses. Middle-income families can also expect to receive a GSTV that will partially offset their GST expenses.
As a fiscal redistribution scheme, we need a way for us to distinguish between those who incur GST in Singapore, and those who do not, from amongst the entire population of adult Singaporeans. We have used Singaporeans’ place of residence registered with the Government as the basis to decide whether they incur GST in Singapore. Invariably, these may also include a small group of Singaporeans who study, work or live overseas, and return to Singapore from time to time. Our system is by no means a perfect one but it is a practical, objective and efficient way to ensure that the target group of 2.1 million beneficiaries receive their payments expeditiously. We will continue to fine-tune our approach with experience and thank Singaporeans like Mr Singh who have provided useful feedback on the GSTV scheme.
Lim Bee Khim (Ms)
Director (Corporate Communications)
Ministry of Finance