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New Bills covering GST, income tax, investments

Four Bills were introduced in Parliament yesterday - two by the Finance Ministry and two by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
The Straits Times - October 16, 2012
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New Bills covering GST, income tax, investments

FOUR Bills were introduced in Parliament yesterday - two by the Finance Ministry and two by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. These will put in place some of the Budget measures, and also enhance protection of retail investors.

  • The Income Tax Amendment Bill contains 31 tax changes, including those announced in this year's Budget.

Some key changes are the provision of a one-off cash grant to small and medium-sized enterprises, capped at $5,000, to offset higher business costs, as well as an increase in earned income reliefs to a maximum of $8,000 and $12,000 for elderly and handicapped elderly people, to help them stay employed.

  • The Goods and Services Tax Voucher Fund Bill will establish a fund to finance payouts under the permanent GST Voucher Scheme, a programme to help families cope with the rising cost of living. This is to ensure funding for the scheme will still be available even in a bad economy.

This year, $3.6 billion was set aside to finance the first five years of the scheme. Of this, $680 million is expected to be spent in this financial year, and the rest will be put into the fund.

  • The Securities and Futures Amendment (SFA) Bill and Financial Advisers Amendment Bill are to enhance safeguards for investors and to regulate over- the-counter derivatives.

The SFA Bill will propose amendments in five broad areas, including making official the obligations of issuers when they classify capital market products, which is intended to provide certainty on the more complex products that are termed Specified Investment Products.

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