Businesses using GST hike as cover for price increases will be investigated: Iras

Iras said the Committee Against Profiteering takes a serious view of any unjustified price increases that use the GST hike as an excuse. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE – Businesses here that have increased their prices or fees in recent days should explain their reasons to consumers and not misrepresent the situation by attributing higher prices primarily or solely to the increase in the goods and services tax (GST), the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) said on Friday.

The Committee Against Profiteering takes a serious view of any unjustified price increase that uses the GST rise as an excuse, and will investigate all feedback on such cases, the authority added.

In an advisory on its website, Iras said the Government is reminding businesses to be transparent when communicating to consumers the reasons for higher prices.

This comes as some businesses have raised prices to account for the impending GST increase and higher operating costs.

GST will rise from 7 per cent to 8 per cent in 2023, and 9 per cent in 2024.

The Committee Against Profiteering was set up in 1994 when the GST was introduced, and was reconvened in March 2022.

It was also reconvened during previous rounds of GST increases in 2003 and 2007.

The current committee is chaired by Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling, and comprises other MPs as well as representatives from industry and grassroots organisations.

Some retailers who spoke to The Straits Times earlier in December said they were still undecided on whether they would absorb the additional GST, and were waiting to see how purchasing patterns would change in 2023 before coming to a decision.

Others said they would likely absorb the increase, as rising prices have already deterred consumers from spending and affected sales.

The higher costs of fuel, utilities and rental, among other things, have been putting pressure on retailers, and may result in them increasing their prices, a spokesman for the Singapore Retailers Association said.

Separately, eyewear chain Owndays said in a notice outside its outlet in Northpoint City mall that it would be absorbing the additional 1 per cent GST.

Ride-hailing platform Tada also said it would be absorbing the increase for its drivers for six months.

  • Additional reporting by Rosalind Ang

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