REACH Contributor Marianne Lee pointed out a possible loophole of the GST Voucher Scheme whereby oversea-based Singaporeans continue to receive GST vouchers by maintaining a local HDB address. She added that this seemed to against the intent of GST vouchers.
The Ministry of Finance has provided the reply below:
Dear Ms Lee,
Thank you for your feedback to REACH on 22 August and 19 September 2015, where you commented that Singaporeans who are permanently overseas should not receive the GST Voucher.
We would like to clarify that the intent of the GST Voucher is aimed at benefitting less well-off Singaporeans who incur GST on their living expenses in Singapore. To identify those permanently residing overseas, we have used the place of residence registered with the Government. Invariably, these may also include a small group of Singaporeans who study, work or live overseas, and return to Singapore from time to time. If we discover that an individual appears to be living overseas permanently but continues to have his registered place of residence in Singapore, we conduct further enquiries to reassess his eligibility for the GST Voucher. Our system is by no means perfect but it provides us with a fair and practical basis to administer a large national scheme, reaching 1.6 million beneficiaries.
We thank you for your feedback and will continue to review the criteria for the GST Voucher scheme regularly.
Quality Service Manager
Ministry of Finance