SINGAPORE : The government is looking at expanding the qualifying list for tax deduction of donations in kind.
Currently, certain gifts in kind, including computers, shares, land, buildings, and works of art, already qualify for tax deductions.
But Minister of State for Finance Josephine Teo said there is scope to expand this list to include services, so as to support more of such contributions.
The Finance Ministry, together with the Culture, Community and Youth Ministry, will study how it is done in other countries.
They will also work with community partners to "develop a sensible way to value non—standard gifts".
Nominated MP Laurence Lien said: "I think you can do more to foster generosity by encouraging giving of all kinds, tax deduction for a wider list of gifts in kind. Many companies have new products that they are willing to give away to charity. This is particularly since Singapore is home to many MNCs with export—import functions.
"Currently the 250 per cent tax reduction is given for only a very limited number of products. Why computers and not other products?"
Alvin Yeo, MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC, said: "Donations in kind, apart from a very limited category, as enumerated by Mr Laurence Lien, or in the form of services, do not attract any relief at all. Do we want to force private entities to go through circuitous means to obtain tax relief that their good work merits?
"Would charities attract more donations if these could be rendered in—kind or in the form of services, and treated the same in terms of tax relief?"
Mrs Teo replied: "Given the very wide range of possible gifts, we will have to find an appropriate and not overly cumbersome way for the valuation of gifts. This is not to make things difficult or circuitous as Mr Alvin Yeo described it for potential donors, but to ensure a sense of fairness and equitability."
She said about S$3 million in computer donations and S$18 million in arts and artefacts received tax deductions from 2005 to 2011.
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