Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat will deliver Singapore's Budget statement for this year on Feb 19 at 3.30pm in Parliament.
The Ministry of Finance (MOF) and government feedback unit Reach said in a statement on Monday (Feb 12) that a live webcast of the Budget Speech will be available on the Singapore Budget website.
MOF is partnering the Singapore Association for the Deaf to provide simultaneous sign language interpretation of the speech on the website.
In addition, there will be real-time updates of key announcements from the speech on the MOF Facebook page and Twitter account.
The public may use the hashtag #SGBudget2018 to view Budget-related tweets and postings.
The speech will also be broadcast live on Channel NewsAsia and 938Now, on the Channel NewsAsia website, and on Mediacorp's Toggle.
The public can also subscribe to the Budget statement mailing list to receive the full Budget statement via e-mail after it has been delivered. They can sign up for the service from now till Feb 15.
There are various feedback channels for the public to submit their views on the announced Budget measures after the speech has been delivered.
These channels include the Singapore Budget website, Reach discussion forum, Reach Budget microsite, Reach Singapore Facebook page and Reach's toll-free hotline on 1800-353-5555.
Reach will also be organising a Budget 2018 Conversation on Feb 20, which will be hosted by Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah and Reach chairman Sam Tan.
Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim will chair the Reach-Berita Harian Budget 2018 Conversation in Malay on Feb 28.
The public can also participate in a Budget 2018 Facebook Q&A session on the Reach Facebook page on March 1 from 8pm to 9pm.
To provide feedback in person, the public can visit Reach's Listening Points at several booths across the island on various days from Feb 21 to March 4. Some of these booths are at One Raffles Place, River Hongbao Pets Fiesta at The Float @ Marina Bay and Teck Whye Market Square.
For more details, e-mail Reach at [email protected] or visit the Reach Budget 2018 microsite.
The Straits Times will be covering the Budget live. Get real-time updates and watch live streaming at www.straitstimes.com. There will also be videos explaining key Budget announcements as well as a special-edition Budget e-mail newsletter. Visit ST's Budget microsite at str.sg/budget2018 for more Budget stories.
By taking charge of his own learning, Mr Y.Y. Ling, 26, has had his fair share of challenges.
The film-maker said more can be done to support fledgling businesses and young people starting out in their careers.
Mr Ling said when he first became interested in the industry, the transition from graphic design to film-making was costly and not accessible.
"Learning a new skill costs more than the $500 SkillsFuture budget we are allocated, and to support the transition into new industries, there needs to be more extensive subsidies, and the courses available should be more intensive," he said.
"Most of us turn instead to seeking knowledge online or learning from our own experiences."
He said the process to access funds and support for small start-ups is so time-consuming and complicated that it could set such businesses back by months - time that they do not have.
He said: "The processes are so complicated that there are start-ups dedicated to help other start-ups navigate the application for funding.Perhaps some money can go into working out systems and infrastructure for start-ups to tap in to."
Mr Ling circumvented the issue by seeking ways to independently fund his project - including the use of crowdfunding - but he added that should there be more support, start-ups will likely flourish even more.
Meanwhile, undergraduate Esther Yeoh, 21, is concerned about the job hunt she faces when she graduates.
Last year, it was reported that fresh graduates have been finding it harder to secure full-time employment in the last few years.
Miss Yeoh, who is studying English literature and European studies, hopes for more courses to help graduates bridge the ever-widening skills gap they face when they enter the workforce.
"The Government, with its SkillsFuture Credit, is doing a good job, but I am thinking of courses that help people cross that bridge from university to work, instead of just reaching out to people who are already in the workforce," she said.
These courses could teach skills such as photo editing, marketing, graphic design and communications in a way that is aimed at young graduates, she said.
How will the Budget tackle issues such as transport, technology and the environment?
"Greater regulatory oversight" may be needed in the private-hire sphere, said Singapore University of Social Sciences economist Walter Theseira.
"There may be only one ride-hailing platform that will control virtually all ride-booking services and have unprecedented control over prices, where rides are available and who can work as a driver.
"It may not be necessary to regulate overnight, but the tools should be in place to monitor the market," he said.
Dr Theseira added that Singapore might invest in electric vehicles or autonomous vehicles, both of which will require new infrastructure if they are to be adopted by the masses.
Mr Benjamin Chiang, partner at Ernst & Young Advisory, said there should be more initiatives to enhance Singapore's digital literacy and mastery, with necessary systems in place to "build and maintain digital trust".
There is also a need to "nurture a vibrant ecosystem of private sector business for smart cities to thrive", he said, with possible approaches including encouraging funding for targeted innovative companies and enhancing the effectiveness of research and development incentives.
Associate Professor Rajasekhar Balasubramanian, who is the deputy head for Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the National University of Singapore, said 2018 will be the year of climate action in Singapore.
He said: "I foresee allocation of more research and development funds with a stronger commitment from the Government to transitioning to a low-carbon economy."
This can be achieved by improving energy efficiency and conservation, decarbonising electricity and fuels, and switching end-users to low- carbon supplies.
He said deep cuts in carbon emissions are needed to prevent adverse impact arising from climate change, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions will have beneficial effects on public health.
Mr Malcolm Chen is 72 years old, and his goal is to keep the wheels of learning turning.
This positive attitude to lifelong learning has translated into the retiree starting his own non-profit organisation, known as Ageless Bicyclists.
Under this banner, he has been teaching children with special needs to cycle.
However, he first had to learn to be a cycling coach, as well as understand how to deal with children who are differently abled.
"I think the Government can put more funds into training courses such as SkillsFuture so that people like me can constantly upgrade themselves," Mr Chen told The New Paper.
"The courses can be more specific as well - tailored to people in certain age groups. I know there are courses for mid-career professionals, and it would be nice to have some targeting say, the pioneer generation. "
In terms of healthcare, Mr Chen is happy with what the pioneer generation currently receives.
However, he hopes that more can be done in terms of transport infrastructure, especially in areas with a higher proportion of elderly residents.
"They should do away with the button that you have to press to get the traffic lights to turn green. Instead, they can just let the lights turn green at regular intervals.
"Sometimes, older people like me forget to press the button and we stand there waiting for the lights to turn green," he said.
Mr Chen also felt that the traffic light duration for people to cross the road should be longer in areas where more senior citizens live.
"Sometimes, the road can be so long and the duration of the green light doesn't give me enough time to cross," he added.
Currently, the elderly and people with disabilities can get more time to cross the road, but they have to first tap their cards on the card reader on the traffic light pole.
This year's Budget looks set to focus on raising revenue to fund the big-ticket initiatives introduced in recent Budgets to strengthen the social safety net and boost economic restructuring, experts said.
In unveiling it on Monday, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat will likely also explain why Singapore needs to broaden its sources of revenue, said Mr Liang Eng Hwa, who chairs the Government Parliamentary Committee for Finance, Trade and Industry.
Tax consultants believe the most likely source of additional revenue will be the goods and services tax, which some predict would go up by 1 or 2 percentage points. Last raised in 2007, the GST - at 7 per cent now - is one of the lowest among developed countries.
In past Budgets, the big-ticket items were multi-billion-dollar measures such as the Pioneer Generation Package and Industry Transformation Programme, as well as higher payouts to the less well-off from programmes such as ComCare and the GST Voucher Fund.
"With these long-term plans in place, it is timely to look at how we can finance what we have set out to do in a responsible and sustainable way, so I think this year, the focus will be a lot on that," said Mr Liang.
Singapore has produced overall Budget surpluses in recent years only by drawing on the net investment returns (NIR) framework, which allows the Government to spend up to half of the long-term expected real returns from assets managed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, GIC and Temasek Holdings. Since Temasek's inclusion in the framework in 2015, the NIR has contributed more than $14 billion annually, making it the largest source of Budget revenue.
It would be prudent to now ex-amine where else the Government has scope to raise revenues, said Mr Liang.
Deloitte Singapore tax partner Danny Koh said the GST rate would likely be raised by 1 or 2 percentage points. "We would propose the Government consider a staggered increase of 1 percentage point at a time, to help lessen the financial impact on the lower-income group in Singapore," he added.
Deloitte's regional managing partner for tax, Mr Low Hwee Chua, noted that the Government has historically adopted targeted measures to help those affected by an increase in GST rates. He cited the distribution of GST vouchers to eligible households, with lower-income families receiving more help.
Lower-income households spend a greater proportion of their income, and GST is essentially a tax on consumption, he noted, adding: "We believe that if the GST rate were to be increased, the trend of targeted measures is likely to continue."
PwC Singapore tax leader Chris Woo expects measures to make digital transactions like e-commerce purchases subject to GST. Personal and corporate income taxes are unlikely to go up, he added, as it would hurt Singapore's competitiveness in relation to other financial hubs.
Dr Lily Neo, MP for Jalan Besar GRC, noted it is important to maintain a prudent fiscal stance, while still providing ample support to the elderly and less well-off. She thus hopes the Budget will offer more intangible types of help, for instance, by finding ways to connect needy families to assistance schemes run by different ministries and agencies.
"The key is how to spend our money to get the best results possible," she said.
Meanwhile, the Singapore People's Party has called on the Government to ensure an equitable distribution of wealth, so the most vulnerable in society will not get left behind.
In its statement on the Budget on Monday, the party urged the Government not to raise the GST. Instead, it suggested income tax rebates for middle-income workers whose pay has not increased to help offset inflation and the rising cost of living.
Among other suggestions, the party recommended looking at allowing young married couples to rent flats from the Housing Board before deciding whether to buy one, and allocating more resources towards mental healthcare.
It’s official. GST will increase to 9%, up from the current rate of 7%.
However, this increase will not be immediate. Rather, it will take place from between 2021 to 2025, depending on the economy and some other factors.
Since GST is levied on all products and services in Singapore, this means we should be prepared for a slight increase in the cost of living once the GST hike kicks in.
Source: Singapore Budget 2018
Family with children can look forward to higher Edusave top-ups for their kids. The government announced that it will be increasing annual contributions from $200 to $230for primary school students, and from $240 to $290 for secondary school students. This will take effect from 2019.
The Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) is a grant introduced to encourage adult children to live with/or near their elderly parents.
The PHG has been increase from $20,000 to $30,000. This will apply for those who are buying a resale flat to live with their elderly parents/adult children.
For those who are buying a resale flat to live near their parents/adult children, the grant will remain at $20,000. However, the criterion with be expanded from within a 2km radius, to within a 4km radius, thus allowing more Singaporeans to qualify.
There will be a flat 10% increase in tobacco tax across all tobacco-related products. This means cigarettes, cigars and any other tobacco related products are going to cost more moving forward.
You can check out the current tax rates for tobacco and other dutiable goods in Singapore here.
All Singaporeans aged 21 and above will receive a one-off SG Bonus of up to $300, thanks to the surplus from Budget 2017.
This bonus will be based on assessable income. Those with an assessable income of $28,000 and below will receive $300; those with an assessable income of between $28,001 to $100,000 will receive $200, with the remaining higher income group of above $100,000 receiving $100.
This one-off SG Bonus is on top of the usual GST and U-Save vouchers.
For those who are unaware, there is a Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD) that applies each time we buy a property in Singapore, be it public or private. The BSD tax rates are progressive, meaning, you pay a higher tax rate as your property value becomes higher. You pay this BSD regardless of whether this is your first, second or subsequent property.
BSD will increase from 3% to 4% to all properties with a value of more than $1 million. Here’s how the tax will be calculated.
For example, in the past, a $2 million property will incur a BSD of $54,600. Under the revised rates, the same $2 million transaction will incur a BSD of $64,600, or about $10,000 more.
Read Also: Singapore Budget 2018 – Full Recap
Visit our special Singapore Budget 2018 page to read up on all the budget-related articles that have been written.
The post Singapore Budget 2018: Here Are 6 Important Changes That May Impact Our Lives appeared first on DollarsAndSense.sg.
I am not a expert in budget terms.
Any Good for common man? ( specific) - Need your review
I mean for the Middle-class ranged people!
GST is not the only thing on the rise after this year’s Budget announcement. Property buyers now also have to deal with paying up to 4% of the property purchase price in Buyer’s Stamp Duty if they’re paying more than $1 million for their new home. But this is actually not a major penalty on the super-rich, so who in Singapore is really affected by this?
Buyer’s Stamp Duty, or BSD, is a tax you pay when you buy property in Singapore. You can’t avoid it, but for most people, you don’t have to pay more than 2% of the property purchase price. As of Tuesday, 20th February 2018, properties with a purchase price or market value of more than $1 million have to pay a BSD of up to 4% of the property purchase price.
Here’s how BSD is calculated now:
|Purchase Price or Market Value of the Property||BSD Rates for residential properties||BSD Rates for non-residential properties|
This means that if your property costs exactly $1 million, there is no change to your BSD. It is still $24,600, just like before. However, if your property costs more than $1 million, you now have to pay 4% on the amount above $1 million, instead of 3%. A property costing $2 million, for example, would now incur $64,600 in BSD, $10,000 more compared to the $54,600 you would previously have paid.
It’s true – the more expensive your property, the more minuscule the BSD seems.
If you were buying some $6 million property in Sentosa Cove, for example, you would now have to pay $224,600 in BSD or 3.74% of your purchase price, compared to $174,600 or 2.91% previously. While that is an increase of $50,000, it’s only an additional 0.83% of your purchase price. What’s $50,000 more to someone who can afford a $6 million property?
But imagine you’ve exhausted all your financing options to pull together just enough funding to buy some modest condominium unit for $1.2 million instead. You’ve barely managed to accumulate the $60,000 in cash for the downpayment.
Now, thanks to the new change, you would now have to pay $32,600 in BSD or 2.72% of your purchase price, compared to $30,600 or 2.55% previously. That’s an increase of $2,000. $2,000 that could’ve helped with the renovations, or with paying your first utilities bill – what with the increase in electricity and water costs in 2018.
If you can afford a condominium unit in Singapore, even the most expensive resale flat will be well within your reach. Even in a relatively expensive district like Bishan, where 5-room resale flats can cost around $750,000 on average, it’s still a significant difference in price compared to a similar-sized condominium unit in the same area, which will typically cost you $1.25 million.
Just the difference in purchase price alone is already a hefty $500,000. Depending on your income level and whether you plan to stay near or with your parents, you could actually be eligible for up to $120,000 in housing grants. This is thanks to the increase in the Proximity Housing Grant, also recently announced at this week’s Budget.
That means a 5-room resale flat could now cost almost half the price of a similar-sized condominium unit in the same neighbourhood.
At first glance, the increase in the Buyer’s Stamp Duty may not seem like a big change. After all, it is only an increase in the marginal rate from 3% to 4% and will only affect properties that cost more than $1 million.
In the context of making our taxes more progressive, the increase in BSD is in line with other tax changes. Personal income tax rates were increased for top income earners in 2015, and income tax reliefs were capped in 2016. The purpose of these tax changes is to ensure that those who have more, contribute more back to society.
However, property taxes have a funny way of trickling down to those who don’t have as much.
By making it slightly more expensive to buy property above $1 million, the government is driving price-sensitive property buyers, who may have been on the fence about buying a condominium unit, towards relatively cheaper resale flats.
Property buyers in Singapore could then inadvertently find themselves in a self-fulfilling prophecy. If they anticipate that resale flat prices will rise, they may decide to rush to buy resale flats now. This increase in the demand for cheaper housing will then have the exact effect of pushing up the price of resale flats.
According to HDB’s Resale Price Index, resale flat prices have been on a downward trend since mid-2013. While the increase in the Buyer’s Stamp Duty may be seen by some as a hint that the property cooling measures are not going to be lifted anytime soon, it may have the unexpected effect of reversing the drop in resale flat prices.
And that is not good for property buyers in 2018.
Hope it's a wise dicision.
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Thanks for sharing. This is a heads up on what we'll be getting for this year 2018.