How Will Budget 2019 Affect You?
Can’t be bothered to read up on everything that was announced in this year’s Budget? We get it – what you really want to know is what’s in it for you. We’ve got you covered. Here’s how the Budget will affect you, depending on which demographic you fall under:
1. Middle-income Singaporeans
For the Year of Assessment 2019, Singaporeans will get a 50% personal income tax rebate, subject to a cap of S$200. According to Mr Heng, the cap is put in place so that benefits go mostly to middle income-earners.
Eligible households will also receive 1.5 – 3.5 months of rebate on their Service and Conservancy Charges (S&CC):
|S&CC rebate (months)|
|HDB Flat type||April 2019||July 2019||October 2019||January 2020||Total for FY2019|
|1 and 2 rooms||1||1||1||0.5||3.5|
|3 and 4 rooms||1||0.5||0.5||0.5||2.5|
|Executive and Multi-generation||0.5||0.5||0.5||-||1.5|
- 50% personal income tax rebate (S$200 cap)
- S&CC rebates of between 1.5 – 3.5 months
2. Seniors (or those who financially support them)
This year’s Budget placed an emphasis on senior spending. If you are eligible for the Merdeka Generation Package, you’ll receive a slew of benefits:
|Merdeka Generation Package (MGP)|
|Eligibility||- Those born in the 1950s
- Those born in 1949 or earlier, but missed out on the Pioneer Generation Package
Beneficiaries must have obtained their citizenship by 1996.
|Benefits||S$100 top-up to PAssion Silver card|
|MediSave top-up of S$200 a year for 5 years, starting 2019|
|Special Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) subsidies and 25% off at polyclinics and public Specialist Outpatient Clinics|
|Additional MediShield Life premium subsidies (5% to 10%)|
|Additional participation incentive of S$1,500 for joining CareShield Life (when the scheme becomes available in 2021)|
|When is it available?||Eligible seniors will be notified by April 2019 and receive their Merdeka Generation cards from June 2019.|
Seniors who are aged 50 and above in 2019 who are not receiving MGP benefits may also be eligible for a 5-year MediSave top-up of S$100 a year for 5 years.
Seniors aged 50 to 64 with under S$60,000 retirement savings in their CPF accounts will receive a CPF top-up of up to S$1,000. The top-up will be credited into the Special Account for those aged 50 to 54, and into the Retirement Account for those aged 55 to 64.
- Merdeka Generation Package
- 5-year Medisave top-up
- CPF top-up
3. Lower-income Singaporeans
Eligible lower-income Singaporeans (those with an income of not more than S$28,000 for the Year of Assessment 2018, and do not own more than one property) will receive a GST Voucher of up to S$300:
|Annual Value of home (as at December 31, 2018)|
|Age in 2019||Up to S$13,000||More than S$13,000 and up to S$21,000|
|21 and above||S$300||S$150|
Lower-income workers who receive Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) payments will also get a Workfare Bicentennial Bonus – this is an additional 10% of their WIS payment for work done in 2018:
|10% of the total annual WIS payment for work in 2018|
|Age in 2018||Employee||Self-employed person|
|35 to 44||S$100 to S$150||S$100|
|45 to 54||S$100 to S$220||S$100 to $147|
|55 to 59||S$100 to S$290||S$100 to S$197|
|60 and above||S$100 to S$360||S$100 to S$240|
- Up to S$300 GST Voucher
- Workfare Bicentennial Bonus (additional 10% of WIS payments)
4. Lower- to middle-income Singaporeans who need healthcare support
The Budget 2019 speech revealed that CHAS subsidies will be enhanced in three ways:
- CHAS will be extended to cover all Singaporeans for chronic conditions, regardless of income
- Subsidies for common illnesses will be extended to CHAS Orange cardholders
- Subsidies for complex chronic conditions will be increased
This year’s Budget also introduced the new CareShield Life, an enhancement of the current ElderShield scheme. Effective 2020, CareShield Life will provide lifetime coverage with monthly payouts of at least S$600 a month for those who become severely disabled.
In addition, ElderFund will be launched next year to help severely disabled, lower-income Singaporeans who need additional financial support for long-term care.
- Enhanced CHAS subsidies at GP clinics
- CareShield Life and ElderFund
5. Frequent travellers
Amid all the bonuses doled out this year, frequent travellers have drawn the short end of the stick. Starting February 19, returning travellers will have a smaller allowance on tax-exempt goods bought overseas. If you spend less than 48 hours overseas, the value of goods bought overseas that can enjoy GST relief is reduced from S$150 to S$100. If you spend more than 48 hours overseas, the relief is reduced from S$600 to S$500.
Duty-free alcohol allowance will also be reduced from 3 litres to 2 litres, effective April 1 2019:
|A||1 litre||1 litre||-|
|B||1 litre||-||1 litre|
|C||-||1 litre||1 litre|
- Reduced GST import relief and alcohol concession
6. Students (or parents of students)
Under the S$1.1 billion Bicentennial Bonus, students will receive additional financial support in the form of:
- S$150 top-up to Edusave accounts for primary and secondary students
- Up to S$500 top-up to Post-Secondary Education Accounts for Singaporeans aged 17 to 20
The top-ups are expected to be made by mid-2019.
- Top-ups for Edusave and Post-Secondary Education Accounts
7. Owners of diesel cars and taxis
In a move to reduce diesel consumption, the government announced an increased diesel excise duty, from S$0.10 to S$0.20 per litre. At the same time, the Annual Special Tax for diesel cars and diesel taxis have been reduced by S$100 and S$850 respectively.
- Increased diesel excise duty
- Reduced Annual Special Tax