Singapore Budget 2018: Tax hike kicks in for all tobacco products

20 February 2018:

Lighting up might cost smokers more from now on as an increase in excise duty on all tobacco products kicked in yesterday.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that firms will have to pay more in taxes to sell tobacco in Singapore, in a push to discourage people from smoking.

A 10 per cent increase in excise duty for all tobacco products is the latest in a slew of initiatives to keep Singapore smoke-free.

The tax hike is expected to “boost revenues”, said Mr Low Hwee Chua, regional managing partner for tax at Deloitte Singapore and South-east Asia.

It will go some way in ensuring additional resources for the country, as “the Government went to great lengths to emphasise that, while the surplus looks good, there are no guarantees beyond 2020”, Mr Low added.

Ms Evelyn Lim, executive director and head of tax at BDO tax advisory, supports the hike, calling it a “good measure to make Singapore more liveable”.

“The hike, aimed at reducing consumption, is aligned with the national vision to build a smart, green and liveable city,” she said, adding that the tax may help to further lower the proportion of smokers here, which hovers between 12 and 14 per cent of the population.

Earlier this month, emerging and imitation tobacco products, such as smokeless tobacco products, chewing tobacco and shisha, were completely outlawed.

The minimum age for smoking will also be raised to 19 on Jan 1 next year.

It will then be raised progressively every January until 2021, when smokers have to be 21 before they can light up.

Currently, the minimum age is 18.

With yesterday’s change, each cigarette, which weighs about 2g, will cost firms about 8 cents more, according to the Singapore Customs.

In a circular released yesterday, a customs spokesman said the excise duties for cigarettes containing tobacco and cigarettes with tobacco substitutes have increased from 38.8 cents to 42.7 cents for every gram or part thereof in each stick of cigarette.

A kilogram of cigars, cheroots and cigarillos of tobacco substitutes will cost producers and manufacturers $427, an increase from $388.

The tax hike took effect at 5.40pm yesterday, added the spokesman.

Excise duty is duty levied on goods manufactured in or imported into Singapore, according to the Singapore Customs’ website.

It can be imposed on top of customs duty, which is duty levied on goods imported into the country.

” With yesterday’s change, each cigarette, which weighs about 2g, will cost firms about 8 cents more, according to the Singapore Customs.