Tuesday, 3 July 2012

2.1 Million Singaporeans to Benefit from GST Vouchers from July 2012

$3.6 billion scheme to help lower-income group; handouts in three forms, including cash
By Janice Tai, The Straits Times, 1 Jul 2012

About 2.1 million Singaporeans will receive cash handouts, utility rebates and Medisave top-ups in the next two months under a new GST voucher scheme for lower-income families that is set to become a fixture.

A sum of $3.6 billion will be set aside to fund this scheme for five years until 2016.

This year alone, $680 million will be spent.

Letters will be sent out from tomorrow to inform individuals of the amount they will get this year.

The scheme, announced during the Budget debate in February, is meant to cushion low- and middle- income families against the goods and services tax.

The handouts come in three forms - cash, Medisave top-ups for elderly Singaporeans and U-Save utility rebates.

Singaporeans who qualify are adults in the bottom 40 per cent income bracket and who live in HDB flats or private property with an annual value of up to $20,000.

About $340 million will be paid out via bank transactions or cheques on Aug 1.

Those with an assessable income of $24,000 or less and living in homes with an annual value of $20,000 or less can get up to $250.

On the same day, another $100 million will go into the CPF Medisave accounts of elderly Singaporeans aged 65 and above.

Those living in homes of annual value of $20,000 or less can get up to $450 in such top-ups.

From this month, 800,000 HDB households will have some $180 million credited into their utilities accounts.

This is the first part of a half-yearly payout, which will come in January and July every year. Those living in one- to two-room HDB flats will receive $130 this month with which to offset, on average, one to two months of utility bills.

Taken in totality, the amount of money a retiree couple living in a three-room HDB flat will receive from the three components of the scheme is enough to offset fully the GST they pay each year.

Such a couple will typically pay $840 in GST annually, the Ministry of Finance estimates, but will receive a total of $1,240.

Most Singaporeans do not need to take any action to receive these handouts, but a small number of eligible individuals who did not sign up for a previous government payout, such as the 2011 Growth Dividends or the 2007 to 2010 GST Credits, will have to sign up by July 18 to receive their payout on Aug 1.

Those who sign up after the July 18 deadline will get their payout after Aug 1. Those who wish to receive this year's payout have until the end of the year to sign up.

To sign up, visit www.gstvoucher.gov.sg, or any community centre, community development council or CPF service centre.

For more information, visit www.gstvoucher.gov.sg or call 1800-2222-888 for details on the cash and Medisave components and 1-800-2222-333 for U-Save.

No comments:

Post a Comment