Singapore Budget 2018: Top 5 announcements that may affect you

Singapore's Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat concluded his Budget speech on Monday, Feb 19, with several key announcements that will impact ordinary Singaporeans. Here are the main highlights.

1. One-off SG bonus for adult Singaporeans

Singaporeans above the age of 21 will receive a one-off "SG Bonus" this year, ranging from $100 to $300, depending on their income.

The payout comes as the Government expects an overall budget surplus of $9.6 billion, or 2.1 per cent of GDP, for the 2017 financial year, said Mr Heng.

Read more here.

2. GST to be raised to 9%

The Government plans to raise goods and services tax (GST) from 7% to 9%, to be implemented sometime from 2021 to 2025.

The exact timing will depend on the state of the economy, how much expenditures grow, and how buoyant existing taxes are, said Mr Heng.

Read more here.

3. New e-tax for imported services

From Jan 1, 2020, consumers and businesses who buy imported services from suppliers based overseas which have no establishments in Singapore will have to pay goods and services tax (GST).

The new e-tax will be levied on two types of services: business-to-consumers (B2C), including video and music streaming services, apps and online subscription fees, as well as business-to-business (B2B), such as marketing services, accounting services and IT services.

It will not affect e-commerce for goods such as online shopping.

Read more here.

4. Increase of Foreign Domestic Worker levy and raising of the qualifying age for concession

The monthly levy for the first maid employed without a levy concession will be raised to $300 from the current $265, while the monthly levy for the second maid employed without a levy concession will also increase to $450, up by $185.

At the same time, the qualifying age for levy concession under the aged person scheme will be raised to 67 years, instead of 65.

These moves will be effective from April 1, 2019.

Read more here.

5. Bigger grants to buy resale flat with parents, singles to get grants to live near parents

The Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) has been enhanced with immediate effect. Singles will now get a grant of $10,000 if they buy a Housing Development Board (HDB) resale flat near their parents, and singles who buy a flat to live with their parents will now get $15,000.

Families who buy a flat to live with their parents or married children will now get $30,000 instead of $20,000.

In addition, HDB is also simplifying the criterion of what constitutes a flat that is "near" -- from "within 2km" to "within 4km".

Read more here.