Grabbing the headlines above all else was the eventual increase of the Goods & Service Tax (GST) to 9% (up from the current 7%).
In order to help help lower-income Singaporeans cope with living costs associated with GST, the GST Voucher (GSTV) was introduced as a permanent scheme in Budget 2012. Each year since then, Singaporeans look forward to payouts given to them through the GST Voucher scheme.
And the same question is asked each year, “How much money will I be receiving?”
Overview Of The GST Voucher Scheme
Understandably, the cash component always gets the most attention, but the GST Voucher actually comprises three separate components – namely, Cash, U-Save, and Medisave.
2018 GST Voucher – Cash
Cash: Lower-income Singaporeans will receive a higher cash payout from the government.
2018 GST Voucher – U-Save
U-Save: Lower and middle-income Singaporean HDB households will receive quarterly rebates to help them offset their utilities bills. This is paid in January, April, July, and October.
On top of the permanent U-Save rebate increase of between $40 to $120 announced in 2017, the government announced in Budget 2018 that there will be an additional U-Save of $20 a year for 3 years, from 2019 to 2021 for eligible HDB households.
This additional support should cover the increase in electricity and gas expenses for HDB households arising from the carbon tax as households adjust and make efforts to reduce their electricity and gas consumption over time.
2018 GST Voucher – Medisave
Medisave: If you are 65 and above, you will receive a top-up to your Medisave Account. This will be paid in August.
Who Qualifies For GST Vouchers?
As a permanent scheme, the support provided by the GST Voucher is primarily aimed at ongoing support for lower-income individuals in Singapore. The permanent nature of the GST Voucher scheme makes it a sustainable form of support, rather than just a temporary one.
In addition to not owning multiple properties, two main criteria are used to determine GSTV – Cash eligibility.
(1) Annual Income Earned (based on Assessable Income for YA2017): Singaporeans who earn $28,000 and below will meet the first eligibility criteria for GSTV – Cash payout. The payout in 2018 will be based on assessable income for YA2017, which in turn, is based on income earned in 2016.
(2) Annual Value Of Home (as at 31 Dec 2017): Singaporeans who meet the first criteria and whose annual value of home is $13,000 or less (if you stay in a HDB flat, your home annual value would be less than $13,000) will be entitled to the highest amount of cash payout (from GSTV – Cash), which is $500 in total for 2018. Those whose home has an annual value of between $13,001 to $21,000 will receive a total of $250.
Even if you are not eligible for the GSTV – Cash payout, you may still be entitled to receive the GSTV – U-Save rebates. This rebate is given to all Singaporean HDB households, unless they own multiple properties. It’s helpful in offsetting utility bills, and the actual rebate amount will vary depending on flat size.
Singaporeans aged 65 and above with an annual home value not exceeding $21,000 will also receive a Medisave top-up, as long as they do not own multiple properties.
When Do I Get The Payout?
Both the regular Cash and Medisave top-ups will be paid out in August while the U-Save rebate is paid out in January, April, July and October each year.
For GST Voucher 2018, timeline for payments is as follows.
|July 2018||1st U-Save Rebate|
|August 2018||GST Voucher – Cash & GST Voucher Medisave|
|October 2018||2nd U-Save Rebate|
|January 2019||3rd U-Save Rebate|
|April 2019||4th U-Save Rebate|
How Will I Receive The Money ?
Having a designated bank account for the money to be credited into your account would be the most convenient way for you to receive your GSTV – Cash payout. This will be faster and more convenient compared to the hassle of waiting 2 additional weeks for the cheque to be mailed to you and having to cash it in at the bank.
By default, your designated bank account would be the last account that has been used to receive payout from the government. If you wish to check or change the bank account, you can do so at the GST Voucher website.
If you have already registered to receive GST Voucher payouts in the past, you do not need to do anything and will automatically receive your GST Voucher payouts this year as well.
For those who have not signed up for the GST Voucher scheme or other government payouts, they have until Dec 31 to sign up online or through a hard copy forms at community centres.
How Will I Be Notified?
From July 2017 onwards, an SMS notification service will be introduced to provide timely updates to Singaporeans regarding GST Voucher – Cash and Medisave. Citizens with mobile numbers updated with SingPass will receive SMS notifications, while other recipients will receive letter notifications.
Through the SMS notifications, you will be informed if you qualify for the GST Voucher – Cash and Medisave, and when the GSTV – Cash payments have been credited. This is faster and more convenient than having to wait for the notification letters to arrive in your mailbox.
SMS notifications will be sent to the mobile number that you have registered for your SingPass Account.
If you have yet to register your mobile number with SingPass, notification letters will continue to be mailed to you. To be able to receive timely SMS notifications on your GST Vouchers in the future, simply log on to the SingPass website to register your mobile number. Once you have done so, you can enjoy greater convenience and also do your part for the environment by reducing paper usage!
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