The Government recognises that businesses may adjust prices due to factors such as increase in operating costs including wages, utilities, rental and materials. While the Government does not regulate the pricing decisions of individual businesses, it is not acceptable for businesses to use the GST increase as the pretext for any increase in prices beyond the GST rate change. Where there is a need to raise prices, businesses should be transparent in communicating the actual reasons for the price increases to consumers, and not misrepresent the situation by attributing the price increases primarily or solely to the GST increase.
The Government has been working with industry stakeholders on initiatives such as the Price Kaki mobile app to raise awareness on price transparency and facilitate price comparisons. Price Kaki allows consumers to compare prices of over 10,000 items sold at supermarkets and 37,000 cooked items sold at food courts, hawker centres and coffee shops, and is a useful resource for consumers to get the best deals or a basic pricing benchmark. We urge consumers to do such price comparisons when making purchasing decisions.
To ensure that businesses comply with GST regulations relating to rate change, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) will conduct audits to check that the correct GST rate is applied and that GST-registered businesses display GST-inclusive prices. It will also look into consumers’ specific feedback on non-compliance with GST rate change rules.
The Committee Against Profiteering (CAP) takes a serious view when a business uses the GST increase as a cover to raise prices. If there are grounds to suspect profiteering on the pretext of the GST increase, the CAP will work with partners including the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore, People’s Association, and Consumers Association of Singapore, to engage the relevant businesses to find out the reasons for the price increases. The CAP will not hesitate to make public errant businesses. Members of the public can report such cases via the CAP’s online and offline channels.