Questions remain on property tax

In its reply ("Why property tax must be levied on vacant homes"; Tuesday), the Ministry of Finance did not answer the question raised by Mr Geoffrey Kung ("Don't levy tax on vacant properties"; Dec 3).

It did not explain why there was a need to change the policy on property tax refunds for vacant homes. Was it to plug a loophole or to generate revenue? Was it introduced because of a concern that more properties are becoming unoccupied as a result of the cooling measures and the cut in the influx of foreign workers, who typically stay in rental homes?

When there is a change in policy, it would be good for the people to know the rationale behind it, instead of leaving them to speculate. Also, I am interested in the ministry's view that property tax is the only tax on wealth in Singapore. How does it define wealth, which can come in many forms such as cash, equity, or fixed assets like property?

When wealth is accumulated from income, it is already taxed. But if it is kept in the form of cash, there is no tax. However, when the same cash is invested in property, it is taxed as "wealth", regardless of whether that property generates rental income.

Ang Miah Boon

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