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CPF’s repeated insistence on woman staying overseas to pay up

Seven years after she left the country, a Singaporean lady was contacted by the Central Provident Fund (CPF) to settle her outstanding Medisave contribution or face possible court action.

Ms  ‘A’ Tan left for Germany in 2003 and had been staying there since. In April last year, CPF contacted Ms Tan to make payment for her Medisave contribution amounting to staggering estimate of SGD $12,600. Her full story is featured in the article “Medisave – pay up or be charged?”  under the fictitious name ‘Jane’.

In May, Ms Tan wrote in to CPF to appeal against the payment. She cited her dire financial situation as a reason why she would not be able to pay.

She further added that she feared she might not see her monies in the CPF account again due to the CPF minimum sum scheme.

CPF did not respond.

Ms Tan wrote again in January this year, and this time CPF replied.

It asserted that as Medisave is compulsory, the Board was unable to waive the outstanding Medisave fees but would be willing to consider a lower monthly installment payment for her.

Ms Tan wrote back reinterating her reasons for not being able to pay. She further added:

“As i am not living in Singapore and don't intend to return anywhere in the near future, is it neccessary that i pay this amount now?”

In its reply two days later, CPF maintained its original position. It also wrote:

“Self-employed persons are required to make Medisave contributions if they earn a net trade income of more than $6,000 a year.”

When TOC contacted CPF to seek their clarification on this matter, CPF responded:

“More information about self-employed persons' Medisave liabilities can be found on this website:http://ask-us.cpf.gov.sg/explorefaq.asp?category=23043. Alternatively, you may contact our CPF Call Centre at 1800-227 1188.”

Source: relax.com.sg

Ms Tan told TOC that she feared entering Singapore with her Singaporean passport.

She hopes that CPF can give her an assurance in document saying that no court actions will be taken against her if she were in Singapore due to her outstanding payments.

“I don't want court action in Singapore in my life but what should i do as i don't earn enough money to settle it even in installment plans. So i am left with no choice but to enter Singapore again with a foreign Passport even to visit my family,” she wrote.

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The following is the email exchange between CPF and Ms Tan from January 2011. (Note: Certain details have been omitted at the request of Ms Tan)

Name: Ms XXXX Tan

Feedback form submitted by Ms XXXXX Tan on Self-Employed dated 06 January 2011 (Thursday), at 21:23:11

Dear Sir/Mdm,

I am refering to my self employed medisave account.

As i am living overseas now & am only earning about XXXX euro per month, I am unable to contribute to top up my account as i am fighting to survive  here with only ca. XXX euro in my paycheck.

I have explained my situation in an email to you dated in May 2010. To date, i have not heard from any Officer of the CPF board.

A short reply would be appreciated. If necessary, i can forward you& your office a copy of the last email i have sent.

Thank you very much.

yours sincerely,

XXXX Tan

___________________________________________________________________________

Datum: Mon, 10 Jan 2011 10:38:59 +0800

Von: [email protected]

Betreff: Re: Feedback on Self-Employed [Our Ref: SES/SMTP2/SXXXXXXXY]

Dear Ms Tan

MEDISAVE FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED SCHEME

We refer to your email of 6 January 2011.

With regard to your request in May 2010, we are sorry that we are unable to trace the correspondence. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Self-employed persons are required to make Medisave contributions if they earn a net trade income of more than $6,000 a year. This applies to income earned from 1 January 2002 onwards. For income earned before 1 January 2002, self-employed persons are required to contribute Medisave if their yearly net trade income was more than $2,400. Medisave payable is computed based on net trade income declared to the Income Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).

Our records show that you were assessed by the IRAS with a net trade income of more than $2,400 for year 1995 to 2001 and a net trade income of more than $6,000 for year 2002. Hence, you are required to make Medisave contributions for the mentioned years.

As Medisave is compulsory, the Board is unable to waive the outstanding Medisave payable by you.

You may wish to settle your Medisave payable through instalments.

Instalment payment is a concession granted on condition that the self-employed person makes an up-front payment of a specific amount and undertakes to pay the instalments by GIRO.

We can grant you a concession of 12 monthly instalments, on condition that:

a)      an up-front payment of $632 of your Medisave outstanding is made;

and

b)      you complete an Application For Interbank GIRO form for

the instalment payments.

You may view your outstanding Medisave payable under 'my cpf Online Services? by going to: http://www.cpf.gov.sg.  You will need to login with your SingPass. Upon successful login, select "Check my Medisave Liabilities”. The SingPass Online Request service is available at the CPF homepage.

You may make your up-front payment using any one of the following modes:

1.      E-Payment - log on to our website and pay through the internet if you have Internet banking facilities with UOB/DBS/Citibank/OCBC.

2.      D-Pay (ATM Cards) / Diners Club Credit Card ? at any AXS Station.

3.      ATM - at any SAM machine

4.      ATM Card / Cash ? at any Singapore Post offices.

5.      Crossed cheque made payable to CPF Board

For option 4 and 5, please use the payment form SE 3 Medisave payment form for Self-Employed?.

An instalment plan will be issued to inform you of the amount to be deducted and the dates of deduction after your GIRO has been approved. However, if you have difficulties in maintaining the instalment amount, you may appeal for a lower monthly instalment plan using the Form CPF SE Appeal: Appeal for Instalment Payments by Self-Employed Persons

You can click on  http://mycpf.cpf.gov.sg/Self-Employed/Gen-Info/Forms/se_FormsVP.htm to print the required forms.

Please visit the CPF website http://www.cpf.gov.sg for more information.

Alternatively, you may contact our CPF Call Centre at 1800-227 1188.

Yours sincerely

Tay Wen Ling (Miss)

Self-Employed Section

Central Provident Fund Board

__________________________________________________________________________

10/01/2011 03:11 PM

To:     [email protected]

Subject:        Re: Feedback on Self-Employed [Our Ref: SES/SMTP2/SXXXXXXXY]

Dear Madam,

i have explained that i earn only ca. XXXX euro per month. Out of this ca. XXXX euro, i have to pay for my monthly rent (XXX euro per month), compulsory state insurance (XXX euro per month), German taxes (XXX euro per month) , public transportation fees (XXX euro per month)and living expenses (the rest of what is left). I have explained in the email that due to this amount that i earn, i couldn't even come back in Nov 2009 to witness my brother getting married.

As you can see, it would be impossible to pay the amount as you requested even as an upfront guarantee. If i have the money, i would gladly pay you the upfront amount as you have requested.

As i am not living in Singapore and don't intend to return anywhere in the near future, is it neccessary that i pay this amount now? I have just got my degree and would like to give myself a chance to find a good job here while working first as a self employed person.

Regards,

XXXX Tan.

P.s: i can gladly scan you the original documents (all in German) basing on my income for the 2010 to show to you that i am not exagerating. Life is hard here too, just as in Singapore. Plus, the currency here is euro (1euro = 1.62 S$) I will give you an example : 1 cup of coffee in Mcdonald's Singapore cost 1 S$. The same will cost also 1 euro here. Hence, I am paying 1.62 S$ for every cup of coffee i buy. So please don't think that we as overseas Singaporeans earn far more than the locals back home. The standard of living here is as high, if not higher, than that in Singapore.

Thank you.

________________________________________________________________________

Datum: Wed, 12 Jan 2011 17:33:29 +0800

Von: [email protected]

Betreff: Re: Feedback on Self-Employed [Our Ref: SES/SMTP2/SXXXXXXXXY]

Dear Ms Tan

MEDISAVE FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED SCHEME

We refer to your email of 10 January 2011.

We note that you are currently overseas. Self-employed persons are required to make Medisave contributions if they earn a net trade income of more than $6,000 a year. This applies to income earned from 1 January 2002 onwards.

If you wish to pay your outstanding Medisave contributions by instalments, please email us at [email protected] to work out the repayment arrangement otherwise, reminder letters would be sent to you from time to time.

Please visit the CPF website http://mycpf.cpf.gov.sg/Self-Employed/home.htm for more information on Self-Employed Scheme. If you have further queries, you may email us at[email protected]. We can also be contacted at CPF Call Centre

1800-227 1188.

Yours sincerely

Tay Wen Ling (Miss)

Self-Employed Section

Central Provident Fund Board

___________________________________________________________________________

The following is CPF’s reply to TOC’s enquiry

[email protected]

[email protected]

date: Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 6:22 PM

subject: Re: Attn To: Ms Tay Wen Ling [Our Ref: SES/ SMTP6/SXXXXXXY] mailed bycpf.gov.sg

Dear Ms Choo

MEDISAVE FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED SCHEME

We thank you for your email of 7 February 2011.

More information about self-employed persons' Medisave liabilities can be found on this

website:http://ask-us.cpf.gov.sg/explorefaq.asp?category=23043. Alternatively, you may contact

our CPF Call Centre at 1800-227 1188.

Yours sincerely

Kuah Mei Yin (Miss)

Self-Employed Section

Central Provident Fund Board

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