Since the government announced in this year’s Budget that it will be raising GST to 9 percent from around 2021, many Singaporeans have cow beh cow bu about the 2 percentage point increase.
But how does how the GST rate we’re paying (currently 7 percent) compare to that of the most developed nations in Asia?
One of the most telling things we noticed is GST (or Value-Added Tax for some countries) is exempt on basic necessities such as food and medicine.
Perhaps the Singapore government will consider implementing such an exemption as well, and not simply brush it off as, like how a certain Tanjong Pagar Rajah said:
“If you say you’ll exempt all rice, actually, given that the higher income are the ones who can afford to buy more, they are likely to benefit more…”
Because, you know, there’s only so much rice one person can eat in one meal lah, Indranee, whether rich or poor (unless you’re a bit siao like this fella).
And, here’s how Singapore’s GST compares to other top Asian nations (with Australia and New Zealand thrown in at the end for good measure).
GST rate: 7% (to be increased to 9% by come 2021)
(1) Hong Kong
No GST (plan to levy GST was mooted in 2006, but dropped that same year)
VAT rate: 5%.
Exempted from Tax: Educational services and publications, land sales
GST rate: 6%.
Exempted from GST: Basic goods such as fresh and frozen meat; eggs; vegetables; medicine
Exempted from Tax: Education services, child care, healthcare
Consumption Tax: 8%.
Exempted from Tax: Healthcare, education, eldercare services
(5) South Korea
VAT rate: 10%.
Exempted from Tax: Selected basket of groceries, healthcare
VAT rate: 10%.
Exempted from Tax: Essential goods such as rice, salt and corn; healthcare, education
GST rate: Goods and services are divided into 5 categories, and each category is taxed differently:
0% GST: Fresh produce such as bread; fresh milk, food, vegetables, eggs, fresh meat
5% GST: Frozen vegetables; medicines; restaurant meals
12% GST: Frozen meat; butter and cheese; condensed milk
18% GST: Biscuits; soap and shampoos; IT services.
28% GST: Motor vehicles, cigarettes, and carbonated beverages.
VAT rate: 7% (to revert to 10% by 30 Sept 2018).
Tax-exempt: Education services, domestic transport, newspapers, magazines, and schoolbooks.
VAT rate: 17%.
Staggered VAT rates based on category of items:
3% VAT: Produce by low-income taxpayers with low annual turnover
6% VAT: Service industry sector such as information technology services, and cultural and creative services; financial and insurance services; education, healthcare, entertainment, and food and beverage.
11% VAT: Transport services such as telecommunication services; sale of food grains and vegetable oils.
Exempted from tax: Agricultural products; contraceptive drugs and devices.
GST rate: 10%.
Exempted from Tax: Majority of grocery items, such as breads, breakfast cereals, meat, fruit, and vegetables; services such as healthcare, childcare and education
(11) New Zealand
GST rate: 15%.
Exempted from Tax: Financial services, land transactions.