My point: Level playing field for local firms

PHOTO: My point: Level playing field for local firms

SINGAPORE - With online shopping all the rage these days, local brick-and-mortar companies are increasingly being squeezed.

Besides high rentals and lack of manpower, companies that have achieved a certain level of turnover face another challenge - the need to charge goods and services tax (GST).

They are at a disadvantage compared to large online stores not registered in Singapore but selling their wares here.

These retailers are subject to GST only if the cost of their products adds up to more than $400. Some of them even offer to label their products as "gifts" so GST is not levied.

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore and Singapore Customs should look into levelling the playing field for our home-grown companies, instead of penalising them once they have achieved a modicum of success.

Such businesses help in providing gainful employment for citizens and support our economy, unlike overseas online retailers.

Either charge GST for overseas purchases whose value is less than $400, or allow local companies to not levy GST for items priced below that amount.

Peter Chen

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.