In a ruse to “re-position Singapore for value-creation and fund social and welfare programmes”, international accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) lobbied the Singapore government to lower business taxes and increase the GST tax.
According to the Tax leader of PwC Singapore, Chris Woo, Singapore’s taxes is “low” compared to other countries with generous welfare programmes. He then said “nothing should be off the table” including raising GST.
Chris Woo, have conveniently deflected the fact that Singapore residents pay one of the lowest income taxes in the world, and that if there is a need to raise taxes, the increases should instead be focus on raising income taxes and bringing back capital gains tax, dividends tax and estate duty.
Any increase on GST is clearly an attack against the middle class and low income as they pay a higher percentage of their income on GST as compared to the wealthy.
Also, Singapore’s retirement system rest solely on individual’s CPF contributions, henceforth an ageing population actually do not spend a single cent of taxes unlike tax incentives given to businesses. The Singapore government also do not spend much on healthcare as Singapore’s healthcare system is dependent on MediSave, also contributed solely by individual’s income. Using an ageing population and growing healthcare costs as an excuse to suggest raising GST in Singapore is at best mischievous and misleading.
The London-based MNC also published a paper to recommend more tax breaks for businesses. PwC claimed that more tax incentives out from taxpayers should be given to enterprises to attract more foreign direct investments. Effectively, PwC is calling for Singapore to continue its tax haven status.
“If tax incentives are used as an economic tool, taxpayers need to do their part to justify the benefits derived: they must show the incremental contributions to Singapore’s economy. Such a demonstration could come from having relevant controls to ensure compliance with international tax principles.”