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Singapore government still studying e-commerce tax: Indranee

WITH under two weeks to go till the Budget speech on Feb 19, the government is still studying the implementation of an e-commerce tax, Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah said on Wednesday morning.

"It's certainly something that we would like to do," she said in a live radio interview on Money FM89.3, Singapore's first and only business radio station.

"But we've got to be careful how we do it because we've seen some other countries where they implemented it and then had to dismantle it, sort of go back on it, because it didn't work out quite well."

She quipped: "So keep shopping whilst you can."

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The possibility of an e-commerce tax was first raised by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in his 2017 Budget speech.

In Wednesday's interview, which lasted just under half-an-hour, Ms Indranee stressed that the Budget is "not about what set of goodies" is on the way, but is "actually a strategic financial plan".

She reiterated the upcoming Budget's focus on innovation and helping workers build capabilities, as well as encouraging volunteerism and philanthropy.

Asked about measures to help the needy cope with the expected hike in the goods and services tax (GST), Ms Indranee noted that in the past, increases in GST were buffered by a GST support package.

"But it's not just offset packages," she added, pointing to how income tax is progressive and social transfers are similarly geared towards helping the needy more.

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