Not sure how to make sense of Budget 2019? Here's 5 important highlights from Singapore's biggest financial announcement of the year.
It’s easy to be confused with the multiple messages reported in Budget 2019. But, we make it easy for you by breaking down the 5 big highlights from the broadcast of Singapore’s biggest financial announcement of the year – the Singapore Budget 2019.
Here are 5 highlights from the Budget that you should take note of.
1. $1.1 Billion Bicentennial Bonus
How will the $1.1 billion Bicentennial Bonus be distributed? The average Singaporean will have up to $500 in cash. That’s:
- $300 cash in GST vouchers
- a 50% personal income tax break for Year of Assessment 2019, capped at $200
That’s not counting the 1.5 to 3.5 month rebates for service and conservancy charges that you get to enjoy. We’re talking about an estimated handout from $570 - $650*.
Additionally, if you’re a parent with children in primary and secondary school, your kids get a $150 top-up to their Edusave accounts. 17 to 20 year olds also enjoy $500 added to their Post-Secondary Education Accounts (PSEA).
Older Singaporeans aged 50-64 also receive an extra $1,000 top-up to their CPF accounts if they have lower CPF balances.
*Estimate based on service and conservancy charges for a resident living in the West Coast area.
2. $6.1 Billion Merdeka Generation Fund
This year, the government has focused a portion of the budget to the Merdeka Generation, specifically those who are born in the 1950s (aged between 60-69 years old this year) and who obtained their citizenship by 1996.
On top of the benefits from the bicentennial bonus, the Merdeka Generation will also get a:
- $100 top-up to their Passion Silver Cards
- $200 Medisave top-up each year for 5 years from 2019 - 2023 for outpatient care
- and a $1,500 incentive should they choose to join Careshield Life.
Together with a $2,500 incentive announced earlier, the Merdeka Generation will get a total of $4,000 in incentives when they join Careshield Life. Furthermore, they are also entitled to further subsidies for outpatient care at polyclinics and specialist outpatient clinics for life, on top of Medishield Life premium subsidies for life.
3. $5.1 Billion Long-Term Care Support Fund and CHAS
The Long-Term Care Support Fund is set to help Singaporeans with long-term care through CareShield Life premium subsidies and an enhanced Eldershield scheme with details to be unveiled later.
This year, the CHAS (Community Health Assist Scheme) is also enhanced to all Singaporeans with chronic conditions, regardless of income. Subsidies for common illnesses are extended to citizens with the CHAS orange card, as well as those with complex chronic conditions.
Singaporeans born in 1969 or earlier also get a $100 MediSave top-up each year for 5 years from 2019 to 2023, if they do not receive Merdeka or Pioneer Generation benefits.
4. $100 Million SME Co-investment Fund III
Budget 2019 signalled the government’s initiative to strengthen and transform existing economic capabilities. The $100 million SME Co-Investment Fund III aims to scale-up SMEs in the private sector. If you’re a business owner of an SME, you can look forward to government-funded programmes like Scale-Up SG that will boost innovation, growth and internationalisation of your company.
The SME Working Capital Loan Scheme for unsecured working capital loans is also extended until March 2021.
5. Reduced Taxes, Increased Excise Duty on Diesel
At the time of announcement, the diesel tax duty was immediately raised by 10 cents per litre to 20 cents per litre. The annual special tax on diesel taxis and diesel cars was reduced by $850 and $100 respectively. Commercial diesel vehicles also enjoy road tax rebates of 100%, 75%, and 50% until 2021.
So how will Budget 2019 impact your personal finance decisions? Watch our space for more updates and information on how you can better manage your finances, given the new benefits you'll enjoy this year!
Hear what Rohith Murthy, SingSaver's country manager, had to say in his interview with Money FM 89.3 on 18 Feb 2019[playlist ids="27376"]
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