Don't levy tax on vacant properties

PHOTO: Don't levy tax on vacant properties

I agree with the divergent views expressed by Mr Ang Miah Boon ("Higher property tax will put squeeze on retirees") and Mr Toh Cheng Seong ("Prudence vital for asset-rich, cash poor") last Wednesday.

I belong to the large group of retirees who are asset-rich and cash-poor. Many of us depend on rental earnings as our sole source of income.

In the report ("Govt 'will look out for asset-rich, cash-poor'"; Nov 18), Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong was quoted as saying that in designing its tax system, the Government is "very mindful of this particular group of sandwiched Singaporeans".

If the new property tax regime is meant to be fairer, then what is the rationale for removing the refund of property tax on unoccupied buildings?

Taxes should not be imposed when there is no profit or gain.

People depending on rental for income would not want to leave their property vacant; they are always on the lookout for suitable tenants. So is it fair to tax them when they are unable to find tenants and, thus, not receiving income?

Also, Mr Toh suggested reverse mortgage schemes as a solution for asset-rich, cash-poor seniors.

Being interested in such schemes to see out my retirement years, I have queried many financial institutions on reverse mortgages for rented properties, but have not been able to find any. Perhaps those in the know can advise me on this?

Geoffrey Kung

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