Senior Minister of State Indranee Rajah Warns Singaporeans That Online Purchases Might Be Taxed Soon

Whether we prefer spending on China’s Singles’ Day or US’ Black Friday, it’s clear that revenue generated from online shopping is increasing steadily. According to TechInAsia, Alibaba’s Singles’ Day Sales ended on a “climatic high” by generating a staggering sum of S$31.66 billion in just 24 hours.

Most Singaporeans choose to make their purchases online due to several reasons, including cheaper prices.

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However, this may not be an incentive to shop online anymore. Especially if what Senior Minister of State for Finance Indranee Rajah suggests, actually comes to pass.

In an exclusive interview with Bloomberg, Ms Indranee shared that e-commerce would be a possible area that Singapore is targeting to diversify its tax base.

Current Procedure

Under the current Singapore Customs law, customers must pay a fee before they are able to collect their packages from SingPost, if the value of their goods exceeds $400.

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This could all change if a GST is applied to products bought online. Ms Indranee speculated that in 20 years, “online platforms will be mainstays” in world commerce. This would change “the way people purchase” products.

The Senior Minister Of State For Finance argued that if e-commerce does not become “part of the tax regime, there’s going to be a lot of holes there”. This is likely due to the fact the customers would seek to evade paying GST by purchasing products from online vendors, since purchasing the same item from a retail shop would require the customer to pay the 7% GST charge.

Taxing smaller orders may be difficult

Although implementing taxes for orders below $400 are on the cards, Ms Indranee admitted that this could potentially be complicated. She added that countries such as Thailand have considered imposing such taxes but have faced objections.

Well, it seems that Singaporeans are taking a similar stance as netizens shared their opposition to such a measure. Some questioned what a levy on e-commerce means.

Others provided some ‘useful’ suggestions to increase the governments revenue.

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According to one netizen, the only people who will be happy with the implementation of taxes on e-commerce, are these few.

Soon, Very Soon

With Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong admitting that a “raise in taxes is not a matter of whether but when“, we may be forced to do some online shopping for a smaller wallet. Seems like Ms Indranee’s suggestion that Singaporeans should “do [our]  shopping” now, may well be words of advice rather than a laughable afterthought.

Featured image from Facebook