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16 Jun 2024  (114 Views) 
Tan Kin Lian - Perspectives

Singapore people pays too much taxes
The people of Singapore have to pay many layers of direct and indirect taxes.
The direct taxes are income tax, goods and services tax, vehicle taxes (including COE, road tax, petrol tax, parking fees and ERP), levy on foreign maids, taxes on liquor, tobacco, gambling and stamp duties.

Some of these taxes, such as COE and stamp duty on properties are big ticket items.
The indirect taxes are the low interest rate paid on Central Provident Fund savings (where the excess earnings become revenue to the government) and the high cost of housing (where a large part of the cost is revenue to the government).

The sale of state land is another large source of revenue to the government but it is accounted separately.

The government collects more revenue than is needed to provide the public goods. It generates a large surplus in most years, which are transferred to the national reserves or to various endowment funds (which are difficult to keep track of).

The alternative to generating a large surplus is to reduce the tax burden and lower the cost of living borne by the people.

Some of the government spending are unnecessary (such as the $550 million on ERP 2.0) or excessive (such as the very high salaries paid to political office holders). There are many other examples that have been quoted elsewhere

As the ordinary people struggle with the high cost of living, they should send a strong message in the coming general election that they want this important bread and butter issue to be addressed at its root cause.

Tan Kin Lian

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