Thursday, May 17, 2018

More efficient ways of collecting tax revenue

I prefer a system of import duties and excises imposed on manufacturers to collect revenue for the country. This was used in the past by most governments to raise revenue.

I dislike GST as a way to collect revenue, as it increases the cost of administration.

Let me explain the differences.

Suppose a company imports 1 million packages of snacks. They pay import duty only once on the import.

Under the GST system, the retailers all over the country have to collect GST on every package that is sold to the consumers. It means the GST has to be collected and accounted one million times.

Why do it 1 million times when it can be done once?

It is also easier to decide that items need to attract import duty or can be exempted.

The tax accountants may argue that the retailers are able to reduce the work if they have a computer system to handle the transactions. But some of the retailers are small businesses and it can be costly to buy the computer systems. They have to employ staff to handle these systems.

The same concept can apply to all items that are to be taxed, such as cigarettes, petrol, water, etc. The revenue can be collected at the source, i.e. the import or production of these items, rather than at the point of sale.

Tax on services can be collected at the point of sale. This can apply to restaurants and hotels and professional services, such as lawyers and lawyers.

In the case of Singapore, we do not need most of these revenues because the government already collects them from big ticket items, such as the sae of land, sale of property and sale of cars.

I wish to see most countries abolish their GST and revert tomore efficient ways of collecting their tax revenue.

Do you agree?

Tan Kin Lian

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