Budgeting

I Want My GST Voucher!

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Jeff Cuellar

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It’s that time again when working class Singaporeans can receive their annual government kickback known as the GST Voucher Scheme. Not that that bribing giving citizens cash is anything new (This was pioneered in Ancient Rome 2,000 years ago). But the difference here is that recipients will not only receive a cash payment, but a credit for their utilities and CPF Medisave accounts.

Here’s what you can expect to receive from this year’s GST Voucher distribution, as well as ideas on what you can do with your cash payoff payout:

What Is the GST Voucher Scheme and Are You Eligible?

In 2007, when the government unleashed its GST hike, it established the GST Offset Package as its way of saying “sorry for that, we’ll compensate you for some of your GST expenses”. So the government offered GST credits, utilities credits, senior citizens’ bonuses, rental rebates, property tax rebates, assistance for pensioners and low-income families with children, etc.

Today’s successor to the GST Offset Package is the GST Voucher Scheme, a permanent system that does the good work of counteracting the GST hike – but only includes payouts for the following:

 

GST Voucher – Cash

 

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If you’re going to spend your cash on junk… at least buy used junk and make the most of your money (although I don’t want to think about what you need a mannequin head for).

 

Given to eligible recipients every August, the GST Voucher – Cash is a cash payment that is designed to assist low- and middle-income families and retirees by covering some of their yearly GST expenses.

If you were fortunate enough to already have signed up for a government payout (GST Credits, etc.) you’ll receive payment automatically. If not, the government promises to send you a letter in July to inform you of how much you’ll receive.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • You must be a Singaporean citizen living in Singapore.
  • You must be at least 21 years old in 2013
  • Your Assessible Income (AI) for the preceding year (in this case, 2012) must not surpass $24,000.
  • Your home’s Annual Value (AV) as presented on your NRIC must not surpass $21,000.
  • You must not own multiple properties.

Show Me The Money:

The payoff you’ll receive depends on a combination of both your AI and your AV. Here’s what you can expect to collect:

  • You’ll receive $250 if your AI is less than $24,000 and your AV is no more than $13,000.
  • You’ll receive $100 if your AI is less than $24,000 and your AV is between $13,001 and $21,000.

Once you’ve been selected to receive the government payout, you can elect to receive payment through either cheque or direct deposit into your account (DBS, POSB, OCBC, UOB).

To check what your AI and AV are, you can refer to your IRAS tax assessment and latest property tax bill respectively. You can get all this information via myTax Portal.

 

GST Voucher – Medisave

 

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With the GST Voucher – Medisave, I at least have enough to cover the cost of the crappy hospital food.

 

This one’s designed to support our more matured citizens with their medical expenses and requires no action on the part of recipients other than watching their CPF Medisave account increase a few hundred dollars. You’ll automatically be enrolled if you’re eligible.

But if for some reason you meet the eligibility requirements but are not a CPF member or previous recipient of a government payoff (GST Credits, etc.), you’ll receive a letter in July that will show you how to apply.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • You must be a Singaporean citizen living in Singapore.
  • You must be at least 65 years old in 2013
  • Your home’s Annual Value (AV) as presented on your NRIC must not surpass $21,000.
  • You must not own multiple properties.

Show Me The Money:

The payoff you’ll receive depends on a combination of your AI and age. Here’s what you can expect to collect:

  • You’ll receive $150 if you’re between the ages of 65 – 74 and your AI is between $13,001 and $21,000.
  • You’ll receive $250 if you’re between the ages of 65 – 74 and your AI is no more than $13,000.
  • You’ll receive $250 if you’re between the ages of 75 – 84 and your AI is between $13,001 and $21,000.
  • You’ll receive $350 if you’re between the ages of 75 – 84 and your AI is no more than $13,000.
  • You’ll receive $350 if you’re over the age of 85 and your AI is between $13,001 and $21,000.
  • You’ll receive $450 if you’re over the age of 85 and your AI is no more than $13,000.

In the event that your Medisave balance has already reached its contribution ceiling, any excess will be placed in your CPF ordinary account.

 

GST Voucher – U-Save

 

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If you’re wasting utilities as fast as a casino, U-Save won’t make much of a difference (unless you’re actually running a casino out of your HDB flat!)

 

This component of the GST Voucher Scheme, U-Save, is meant to help you with your HDB utilities account in the form of a quarterly rebate. So it will help offset at least a portion of your utilities expenses over a 4-month period.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • If you’re an owner-occupier in your HDB flat, at least one owner or occupier in your flat must be a Singapore citizen.
  • If you’re an owner-occupier who partially sublets your flat, at least one owner or occupier must be a Singapore citizen.
  • If an entire flat has been sublet to you, at least one of your tenants must be a Singapore citizen.
  • Any immediate family members living in your flat must not own or have an interest in multiple properties.

Show Me The Money:

The payoff you’ll receive depends on the type of flat you’re living in. Here’s what you can expect to collect:

Flat Type 1st Quarter (July 2013) 2nd Quarter (October 2013) 3rd Quarter (January 2014) 4th Quarter (April 2014) Total Rebate
1-2 Room Flat $65 $65 $65 $65 $260
3 Room Flat $60 $60 $60 $60 $240
4 Room Flat $55 $55 $55 $55 $220
5 Room Flat $50 $50 $50 $50 $200
Executive Flat $45 $45 $45 $45 $180

If you’re in a situation where your utilities bill is below the GST Voucher – U-Save amount, the excess is automatically rolled over to the next quarter.

*Through the GST Voucher website, you can check your eligibility for the GST Voucher, manage your payment options, and even calculate your government payoff – sign up is open from 1 July 2013 to 31 December 2013.

 

So what will you spend your GST Voucher – Cash on? Share your ideas with us on Facebook!

Image Credits:
*NJ-Nick-Santos* (732-259-1355)Simon’jlctheseodukeraichovak

 

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Jeff Cuellar

I'm known by many titles: copywriter, published author, literary connoisseur, ex- U.S. Army intelligence analyst, and Champion of Capua.