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Earlier this week, Singapore’s finance minister Mr Heng Swee Keat carried the traditional black briefcase and stepped up to the parliament podium today to make his first ever budget speech. His budget that puts forward government financial policy between 1st April 2016 – March 31st 2017 was strongly focused on the economy. Here’s a quick summary of what he put forth:
FOR HOUSEHOLDS IN GENERAL
- GST VOUCHERS OF $250/$500 will be issued for all Singaporeans aged 21 and above . If you Annual Value of Home falls below $13,000 congratulations you’ll be getting $500 this year, otherwise you’ll be getting $250.
- HDB SERVICE AND CONSERVANCY CHARGES REBATES OF BETWEEN 1 – 3 MONTHS will be made available to all HDB households.
- PERSONAL INCOME TAX RELIEVED WILL BE CAPPED at $80,000 per year starting from YA2018.
FOR FAMILIES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN
- A NEW CDA ACCOUNT CALLED THE FIRST STEP ACCOUNT was announced, parents of children born from 24th March onwards will receive $3,000 in their CDA. Dollar for dollar matching from the government up to co-savings cap will remain.
- CLAIMABLE MEDISAVE FOR PRE-DELIVERY MEDICAL EXPENSES WILL DOUBLE
- A NEW PILOT INITIATIVE CALLED KIDSTART will draw government and community resources to help needy children under the ages of 6 to receive support
- A FRESH START HOUSING SCHEME WILL PROVIDE RENTAL HOUSING ASSISTANCE for families with children, to qualify, parents must stay employed and ensure that their young kids keep going to school.
- OUTDOOR ADVENTURE EDUCATION will be expanded for all students through a new master plan, with a new outward bound campus to be built on Coney island, set to launch by 2020.
ON EMPLOYMENT AND EMPLOYABILITY
- SKILLSFUTURE WHICH IS A PART OF THE GOVERNMENTS LONG TERM GAME PLAN will now include SkillsFuture Study Awards to develop specialist skills in 12 sectors for early to mid-career Singaporeans regardless of qualifications
- WAGE SUPPORT SCHEMES WILL BE IMPLEMENTED to help those who face greater difficulty in finding jobs
- A TECH SKILLS ACCELERATOR WILL BE SET UP TO Identify specific skills in demand in the ICT sector and assist Singaporeans to develop skill standards and certification in this field. They will also work with anchor employers who have agreed to hire based on skills not certification
FOR LOW INCOME FAMILIES
ENHANCEMENTS WILL BE INTRODUCTED TO THE WORKFARE INCOME SUPPLEMENT (WIS) SCHEME WIS will be paid every month instead of quarterly at present. The qualifying income ceiling will also be raised to $2,000/mth
- THE SILVER SUPPORT SCHEME WILL BE LAUNCHED IN JULY 2016. It will benefit the bottom 20% of seniors, who will receive payouts of $300-$750/quarter. The first payout will be a double payout including a back-payment for the 2nd quarter of 2016. There will be no need to apply for the scheme, and 140,000 seniors are expected to benefit.
- A PILOT SCHEME WILL BE LAUNCHED TO BUILD COMMUNITY NETWORKS FOR SENIORS. This will bring together schools, VWOs, seniors with a team of full time officers to provide co-ordinated health and social support.
- A NEW AREA CALLED THE JURONG INNOVATION DISTRICT WILL BE LAUNCHED that will create an innovative urban environment to house different activities within a single next gen industrial district. The area will house R&D, protoyping labs, advanced manufacturing and robotics. It will also function as a living lab with testing and development of future technology such as self-driving cars. The first phase is expected to be completed by 2020
- PIC CASH PAYOUTS WILL FALL FROM 60% TO 40% on expenditures on or after 1st August 2016, PIC will expire after YA 2018, indicating that there will be no extension for the scheme. Tax deductions under the scheme will remain the same
How Much GST Credits You’ll Be Getting?
The bigger question on most Singaporeans’ minds is how much will they be getting this year, $250/ $500? Well first off, you need to have had an assessable income of $26,000 or less in YA 2015.
If you meet that condition, the answer is pretty simple, if you live in a HDB flat , odds are you should be getting $500 – This of course, depends on where you stay. If you live in a condominium, apartment or landed property, you’ll probably be getting $250 this year.
How can you find out exactly how much you’ll be getting from GST Credits this year?
2016’s GST Credits are based on the Annual Value of your home. If you’re a homeowner, all you need to do to check that value to is login to mytax.iras.gov.sg.
The value of your home will be available there at no cost. If you are not the homeowner and want to avoid an awkward conversation with your parents about how much their house is worth, you can simple go to E-Val and find out. Though you’ll have to pay $2.50 to do so.
To find out more about the annual value of your home visit IRAS here.
What are your thoughts on the Budget 2016? Comment them below!