Summary

评论:2021年财政预算案及新加坡的税收制度将如何改善

Feb 18, 2021 | 🚀 Fathership

新加坡国立大学副教授Simon Poh表示,在新加坡财政状况面临挑战的情况下,可能需要对某些税收进行调整,但如果相关的保障措施到位,更大程度上的转为利用私有资金可能是改变局面的最终选择。

新加坡:管理整个国家的财政绝非易事。

鉴于流行病的破坏性影响所带来的巨大挑战,这项任务目前就新加坡而言尤其艰巨。

在今年的财政预算案中,副总理兼财政部长王瑞杰不得不连续第二个财年提议支取国家过去的储备金。

值得注意的是,这次的相关金额要低得多——110亿新元,而前一年为427亿新元。

尽管如此,这两年537亿元的总支取额仍然是巨大的,它相当于几十年的预算盈余。

这肯定是个非常艰难的决定,但考虑到这个前所未有的形势,此决定是可以被理解的。

大流行远未结束。特别是对于一些受到严重影响的国家,隧道尽头的光明还很遥远。

但王瑞杰采取了正确的策略,逐步把重点从解决疫情遏制的迫切需求,转向了解决我们长期的财政需求。

当纳税人得知除了汽油税以外并没有提高企业、个人所得税税率或限制购房时,他们一定松了一口气。

考虑到近年来全球范围内降低企业税率的趋势,很少会有人觉得企业税率能有所增涨。

未来企业所得税结构的不确定性

然而,在帮助企业进行重组而于2013年推出的“过渡时期援助配套”(Transition Support Package)成功进行了七个年头之后,企业所得税退税在今年中止,这意味着,公司将普遍缴纳比前几年更高的2020年同等应纳所得税。

2021财年的企业所得税征收预计将增加到180亿新元,这是一个好兆头,此前由于疫情导致的利润减少和持续亏损,企业所得税征收从2019财年的167亿新元跌至2020财年的137亿新元。

撇开净投资回报贡献不谈,企业所得税征收多年来一直为政府带来最多的收入。

但如果因为正在进行的有关“税基侵蚀和利润转移(BEPS)”的讨论,而使决定如何在不同司法管辖区之间分配税权的国际税收规则发生变化,则这种可靠的收入基础可能会被削弱。

因此,跨国公司可能不再觉得在新加坡开展业务具有吸引力。

目前有很多不确定因素,我们无法确定如果这些情况发生,新加坡将受到多大的影响。

税收结构进一步变化的范围

考虑到这一点,无论BEPS下的新规是否成功和如何成功,政府可能都不得不考虑进一步调整税收制度,来保持强大、稳定的收入基础。

令人欣慰的是,个人所得税的年度征收额一直很稳定,在过去三年徘徊在120亿新元和130亿新元之间。新加坡人不仅收入增加了,而且还为国家的发展付出了应有的份额。

但通过对超高收入者实行高于22%的税率,可使这种税收结构在不久的将来有更大的进步空间。

有些人可能会问,即将到来的消费税上调不会解决这个问题吗?答案是肯定的,但只是在一定程度上解决这个问题。

的确,仅次于这两种所得税的第二大收入来源是消费税。

与企业所得税类似,可能是由于疫情对消费的抑制作用,消费税征收额从2019财年的112亿新元降至2020财年的99亿新元。

随着经济的复苏和消费的增加,预计2021财年消费税征收额将恢复至113亿新元。

事实上,从2023年开始,对通过航空和邮政进口的低价商品以及消费者进口的非数字服务(包括教育学习和健身训练)实行消费税,征收的消费税收入可能会有所提高。

如果经济在今年以预期增长率4%至6%的较高水平复苏,副总理王瑞杰很可能会决定在2022年至2025年中的某个时间尽早实施消费税上调。

汽油税不会减少

尽管汽油税上调已立即生效,但政策原因背后的主要动机可能是不鼓励司机使用内燃机车。

2020财年机动车税收总额为22.1亿新元,与所得税和消费税相比微不足道。

此外,今年征收的附加税很可能会被针对摩托车手、出租车司机和私召车司机所宣布的临时退税所抵消。

为借贷铺路

那么除了改变税收结构以增加收入之外,政府还能做什么呢?2021年财政预算案给出了一些答案。

有趣的是,根据即将在议会辩论的“国家重大建设借贷法令”,今年的预算为政府利用长期债券资助基础设施项目铺平了道路。

这是一种公平的做法,因为基础设施改善的直接受益者有责任为这些项目提供资金。

假设有一个稳健的过程来选择风险较低、以适当期限债券来融资的基础设施项目,那么这种方法还可以缓解多年来用于地铁线路和沿海防御工事建设的庞大支出。

考虑到未来几年全球经济可能处于低利率的环境中,这种方法是谨慎的,可遗留问题是有哪些保障措施可用来管理利率上升的风险。

不过,很明显的是借贷有助于缓解新加坡原本紧张的财政状况所带来的压力。

这种利用机构投资资金来资助公共项目的立场也明显体现在使用绿色债券来支持符合“新加坡绿色发展蓝图”(Singapore Green Plan 2030)的项目,该计划还实现了在发展绿色资本市场中巩固新加坡金融中心地位的更大目标。

所有这些措施都将使新加坡未来的财政状况更加稳健。

随着新加坡从大流行病中恢复,同时避免所有新的外部冲击,政府应尽快恢复预算平衡,开始积累盈余。

当这种情况发生时,有关是否归还过去已提取的储备金的问题将成为下一个焦点。

这将是财政部长要解决的一个愉快的问题。

听Eco-Business创始人Jessica Cheam在亚洲新闻台《气候对话》(The Climate Conversations)上讲述“新加坡绿色发展蓝图”:

Simon Poh是新加坡国立大学商学院会计系副教授(客座)。文本观点是作者的观点,不代表新加坡国立大学的见解和观点。


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This commentator thinks MCI ad should not have featured poor Malays

May 12, 2022 | 🚀 Fathership
A Hari Raya advertisement by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) was 'cancelled' by certain netizens online for depicting lower income Malays according to reality.

"Message for Syawal", a two-and-a-half-minute video published last month (Apr 30) captures moments in the life of a low-income Malay family living in a rental flat.

Storyline


Pictured: Screenshot from MCI video "Message for Syawal"

The video, which is peppered with Malay proverbs, shows the family moving out of their rental flat to a new home several years later where they celebrate Hari Raya.

The father of the family works as a mover while the mother is a housewife.

Their young son, Syawal, skips school to earn extra income for his family before a teacher flags his absence from school to his parents.

The mother in the video later decides to return to work to alleviate her family’s financial difficulties while the father gets a new job.


Pictured: Screenshot from MCI video "Message for Syawal"



Why some netizens are outraged

The video sparked backlash online, with some viewers saying that it contained stereotypes about the Malay community.

The stereotypes:
  • The father works as a mover - commonly perceived to be a low-income job
  • The mother is jobless
  • The son plays truant
  • The family lives in a rental flat for low-income earners

Commentator implied that poor Malays shouldn't be portrayed in public to prevent stereotypes


Pictured: Screenshot from Homeground Asia video

A video commentary by The Homeground Asia went further by criticizing how the video propagates the narrative that Malays are poor and lazy, and that the ministry should have created a video that is more relatable to both the less fortunate and the more affluent Malays.

Adi Rahman, one of the interviewees in the video went further by making sweeping assumptions that the ministry lacked cultural intelligence and did not consult the community on the narrative.

Ironically, in talking about inclusivity, Adi implied that the realities of poor Malays should not be shown in public.

For example, his rationale suggested that the video contained characters (the mover, jobless mother and the son who skips school) that contribute to the problem of other races seeing the Malays in a stereotypical and reductive light.

In other words, show the good stuff but not the reality.

Adi even accused the ministry for not consulting the Malays in the vetting of the video narrative.

His accusations were without merit, however, when the Ministry said in a statement (Apr 30) that Malay-Muslim viewers - presumably a focus group - had seen the video prior to its release, and perceived the story to be heart-warming, although some expressed reservations.


Pictured: Adi Rahman - one of the commentators in Homeground Asia video



Stereotyping or masking reality?

The ministry said last month (Apr 30) the video was meant to show "a family’s journey of resilience in facing challenging circumstances and how mutual support and encouragement could nurture the process”.

Other netizens felt it was an overreaction and that low-income families shouldn't be dehumanized in a way that they are removed from the conversation. They felt that the video was a call-to-action for those from the underprivileged to strive for a better life through hard work and seeking help that's already available.

The only missed opportunity in the MCI video was perhaps the suggestion that Malays in low income families living in a rental flat could not celebrate Hari Raya unless they get a flat on their own.

But of course, like Homeground Asia, that is also a sweeping assumption.