Tax system insufficiently progressive? Not really...

Tax system insufficiently progressive? Not really...

The otherwise well-written commentary ("Towards a new tax morality"; last Saturday) did not cite any recent Singapore figures.

According to the latest available annual report (Year of Assessment 2012) of the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, the top 11.8 per cent of tax residents here paid 81 per cent of all personal income taxes collected. The top 1.3 per cent already paid 37.8 per cent.

In contrast, the bottom 46.8 per cent paid only 1.6 per cent. In fact, the lowest 92.5 per cent paid only 27.6 per cent.

I wonder how a tax system like this can be described as insufficiently progressive.

By all means, draw lessons from excesses in other countries. By all means, remind the taxman to be vigilant against tax evaders and mindful of loopholes that may give them a field day. But be careful in making inferences for Singapore, for taxation is a potentially emotive issue that can add fuel to the already simmering but growing flame of social resentment here.

Letter by Cheng Shoong Tat

This article was published on April 23 in The Straits Times.

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