The case for redistributive taxation in Singapore

An understanding of moral philosophy arguments can help drive good tax policy to alleviate inequality

In light of the recent debate on whether Singapore should consider imposing wealth and inheritance taxes on ultra-high net worth individuals, this article seeks to address two key questions: whether wealth should be taxed and how it should be taxed. The first question is one of moral philosophy while the second is one of tax policy.

The question of whether wealth should be taxed can be viewed as part of the broader question of whether there should be redistributive taxation. The idea behind redistributive taxation is to achieve a net redistribution of wealth from those better off to those worse off by ensuring that the former pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits from the state, and vice versa.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2019, with the headline 'The case for redistributive taxation in Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe