By Dinesh Dayani, Dollars and Sense
Before the big unveiling, many Singaporeans, us included, expected a bumper giveaway since the nation is turning 50 this year. Appearently, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam didn’t get the memo, as the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister decided to take a more prudent view instead.
Here are 5 ways you may get more money from Budget 2015
1. GST Vouchers (or better known as undeserving free handouts)
Yes, raise your hands wildly and start cheering. Up to 1.4 million Singaporeans will receive GST Vouchers this year. Going as high as $300, these vouchers are meant to offset the GST Burden on ordinary Singaporeans like you and I. From past trends, we notice people often bank the cheques claiming that they’re going to save this money prudently, only to end up blowing it on an even more expensive purchase which they otherwise may not have made.
We guess spending it does improve our economy at the same time, so why not. Just remember to spend it in Singapore.
2. Income Tax rebate!
There’s a quote we remember quite fondly. “There are only two things in life you can be sure of. The first is that you will die. And the second is that you will have to pay taxes”.
There will be a one-off tax rebate of 50%, capped at $1000, for those who pay income tax. That means your tax bill (assuming you do pay income tax) will be lower. Logically, you’d want to put it aside for a rainy day, or even to offset next year’s income tax.
But hey, we’re only Singaporeans, we need to blow it on a holiday to Australia.
3. Road tax rebates!
Holy ****, we’re getting a little bit afraid now. So many rebates, so little time to spend it. Vehicle owners will enjoy road tax rebates. You get up to 20% off for cars, 60% for motorcycles and 100% for commercial vehicles.
However, we do not recommend buying a car just yet. Thinking short-term is a sure way to end up bankrupt. And for those of you needing more ammunition against buying a car, pump prices will go up as well since petrol duty will increase by close to 50% for some fuels.
These two new introductions look like a way to start taxing people who use our roads more often. It’s logical to think the more petrol you pump, the more you are driving. Then again, when fuel prices go up, public transport prices will have to reciprocate this rise in cost.
Will it be too far fetched to think that this could just be an excuse for next year public transport price hike?
4. Extension of the Wage Credit Scheme
For those earning under $4,000, the government is going to co-fund our wage increases until 2017. It finally looks like we’re going to get the well-deserved pay hike we’ve been complaining about never receiving. Although this figure is now at 20% (down from 40% previously), the extension definitely gives our employers more time to give us that pay raise which we deserve a long time ago.
5. More tax revenues
Just like every Singaporean worth his or her salt, we’ll never feel happy until someone is in misery. So boom, Mr Shanmugaratnam delivers.
The top 5% of income earners, or those earning at least $160,000, will have to fork out more in income taxes. Given the fact that the top 10% of income tax payers fund 80% of the tax revenues collected, we can expect this slight increase in their taxes to be worth almost exactly $400 million a year. This will go a long way to easing the other rebates Singaporeans would be getting.
Taking from the rich to give to the poor? Not a concept ordinary Singaporeans are familiar with, but it’s true.
This article was first published at DollarsandSense.sg