Thursday, February 04, 2010

GST is a costly exercise

I attended a 3 hour briefing on GST. My worse fears were confirmed. GST is complicated and costly. For every transaction, the GST taxpayer has to go through a complicated table of rules to decide on the classification, timing, and many other issues. It is so easy to make a mistake and be subject to an offence with penalty.

I hope that GST be scrapped soon. We should go back to higher income tax to collect the revenue needed to run the country (and avoid two layers of taxation, with the complicated rules and compliance cost). In fact, GST is more complicated than income tax.

A businessman should focus his attention on running the business, rather than on collecting GST for the government. He should not be required to spend money to recruit accountants, who are costly, to keep the records to comply with GST.

The accountants love GST as it means work, business and profit for them. The civil servants love GST as it means more job and opportunities. But these means additional cost and hassle to businesses and consumers. What a waste, to spend so much resources on unproductive activities.

Tan Kin Lian


Fried Rice said...

Yes indeed. When I started my business 5 years ago, after calculating the admin cost of doing up the GST monthly, I threw in the towel of voluntary contribution.

Never look back. It was something that I always share with other entrepreneurs.

The idea is to keep the idea of business simple and avoid administrative distractions like voluntary GST.

Another issue that pissed me off is the constant survey that I received from IDA. Waste of time and doesn't see what is the true objective of such survey.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. The other negative aspect of GST is that poor people ended up paying tax just like rich people. GST basically transfers part of the tax burden to those who can ill afford. I can never understand the notion that it was meant to help the poor.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to the Day Mr Tan being voted up to "That Chair" of Singapore. And i shall see if this GST thingy could have a solution to it. =)

Tan Kin Lian said...

I wanted to organize a group to carry out research on GST, to show that it is a bad tax. I searched the Internet and found that most countries have adopted GST. I do not know why so many countries adopt this type of tax which is inefficient and wasteful. Maybe, they have some good reason, or the blind is following the blind?

Anonymous said...

Bec people has little or no say.
The orinary people, who want it?

Anonymous said...

Country's interest is often not aligned with citizens'. Just like a company's interest and its employees'.
GST is good for the country, otherwise why more and more countries are adopting this tax. It collects tax from anywhere and everywhere. It collects tax from all people, young or old. So in a way, it is fair and it hits everybody on the street.

Tan Kin Lian said...

Hi, 7:33 AM

Taxation is necessary. It is also good, if it is used to provide social services in a more cost effective way.

However, consumption tax is the worst form of taxation that can be devised. Income tax is better, even a flat rate income tax.

Read my views in a separate article "A positive approach towards taxation".

Anonymous said...

Taxing everybody regardless of income is a bad system. Tax should be borne largely by people who can afford it. That's why income tax rate goes up according to your income. If I understand it correctly, the government implemented the GST and lower the income tax to make it more attractive for the investors.

Anonymous said...

Kin Lian,

That is how this country has the most well-paid ministers and president because we suckers work like donkeys for them.

The only way to get rid of the GST is to get rid of the regime that favors GST. And this can be done through the ballot box.

But knowing Singaporeans mentality at the ballot box I think we are destined to be owned by the PAP for the rest of our lives.

Anonymous said...

I wish to repeat once again, the abolition of GST shall be made an election issue in the next GE. I do not have any problem if one has to make to pay GST if one patronize a 5 star hotel, high class restaurant or anything related to high class living lifestyle.

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