A range of tax increases, including a 2 percentage point increase to 9 percent in the goods and services levy, were unveiled by Singapore Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in his budget speech to Parliament as among measures to financially equip the city state for financial pressures that will come with a rapidly aging population.
The government’s fiscal 2018 budget comes less than a week after data showed the island nation’s economy grew at a slower pace in the fourth quarter than previously estimated and the government forecast expansion will moderate this year as an export boom that began in 2017 eases.
Higher taxes were expected by all 12 economists in a Bloomberg News survey, with 11 anticipating the GST would be increased. Heng surprised, however, with a hike to 4 percent from 3 percent in the top marginal stamp duty on properties worth more than S$1 million ($762,000), with the change effective tomorrow.
Here are some of the biggest winners and losers of the Singapore budget.
Rebate — Corporate income tax rebate raised to 40% for 2018, and extended to 20% in 2019
Companies spending on research and development will benefit from a plan to increase tax deductions to 250%
Infrastructure — The city-state raised spending on infrastructure to S$20 billion, and is looking at borrowing to finance Changi Airport’s new Terminal 5 and other projects as well as starting a new rail fund
Healthcare firms — Stand to benefit from government focus on increased spending, especially for elderly care
Raffles Medical Group Ltd., Talkmed Group Ltd., Singapore Medical Group Ltd., Healthway Medical Corp., Health Management International Ltd., Clearbridge Health Ltd.
Real estate investment trusts — Proposal to remove tax on exchange traded funds’ investments in the firms
Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust, Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust, CapitaLand Mall Trust, CapitaLand Commercial Trust, Frasers Logistics & Industrial Trust, Frasers Commercial Trust, Frasers Centrepoint Trust, Mapletree Commercial Trust, Keppel REIT
Education and skills providers — Increased spending on education and skills development aimed at reducing income inequality
Raffles Education Corp., Overseas Education Ltd., MindChamps PreSchool Ltd.
Offshore and marine companies got a reprieve with the deferral of an increase in levies imposed on foreign workers
Keppel Corp., SembCorp Marine Ltd., Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Holdings Ltd.
Higher GST will erode consumers spending power in shops, restaurants and hotels:
Restaurants: Jumbo Group Ltd., No Signboard Holdings Ltd., Japan Foods Holding Ltd., ABR Holdings Ltd.
Food and beverage: Yeo Hiap Seng Ltd., Fraser and Neave Ltd., Food Empire Holdings Ltd., QAF Ltd., BreadTalk Group Ltd., Kimly Ltd.
Retailers: Sheng Siong Group Ltd., Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd., Metro Holdings Ltd, Aspial Corp., Hour Glass Ltd., Challenger Technologies Ltd, Isetan Singapore Ltd., Courts Asia Ltd.
Hotels: Genting Singapore Plc, Hotel Properties Ltd., Hotel Grand Central Ltd., Hotel Royal Ltd., Amara Holdings Ltd.
Other consumer-related stocks: mm2 Asia Ltd., Unusual Ltd., Cityneon Holdings Ltd., Haw Par Corp., Straco Corp.
Increased top marginal stamp duty may lead to fewer new real estate purchases
CapitaLand Ltd., City Developments Ltd