Second Reading Speech By Mrs Lim Hwee Hua Senior Minister Of State For Finance On The Goods And Services Tax (Amendment) Bill 2008, at The Parliament, 18 Nov 200818 Nov 2008
Mr Speaker, Sir, I beg to move, "That the Bill now be read a second time".
2. The Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill 2008 comprises four tax changes. The first amendment gives legislative effect to a tax change announced in Budget Statement 2007, while three other amendments are tax changes arising from regular reviews to improve the administration of the GST system.
3. A public consultation on the Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill 2008 was conducted between August and September 2008. This Bill has incorporated the feedback received.
GST BUDGET CHANGES
4. Let me highlight the tax changes covered by this Bill.
First, zero-rating treatment for the sale, leasing and servicing of containers used in the international transport of goods
5. As announced in Budget 2007, to promote Singapore as a shipping and logistics hub, the sale, leasing and servicing of containers used in the international transport of goods is now allowed zero-rating. This is similar to the existing treatment for ships and aircraft. Clause 2 of the Bill reflects this change.
Second, zero-rating treatment for prescribed machinery used in the manufacture of goods for export, and related services
6. In 2007, the GST Act was legislated to cater for the zero-rating of prescribed tools and relevant services used in the manufacture of goods for export. Clause 3 of the Bill extends the zero-rating treatment to supplies of prescribed machinery, which are akin to specialised tools, and relevant services used in the manufacture of goods for export.
Third, statutory power to appoint agent to recover GST arrears from non-taxable persons
7. Currently, the Comptroller has statutory power under the GST Act to appoint agents to recover GST arrears but only for arrears owed by taxable persons (i.e. persons who are registered for GST or are liable to register for GST). Hence, the Comptroller is unable to recover GST arrears owed by non-taxable persons under the GST Act, such as directors who commit GST fraud offences through their GST-registered companies. Clause 4 of the Bill provides the Comptroller with the statutory power to appoint agents to recover GST arrears from both taxable and non-taxable persons.
Fourth, allowing the Government to set-off the amount of outstanding tax owed to it
8. The GST Act will also be amended to allow the Government to set-off tax arrears against monies due to the taxpayer from the Government. As I have already explained this change in my earlier speech for the Property Tax Amendment Bill, I will not go into the details again.
9. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move.