MOF confirms the NS Excellence Award is taxable as it’s an incentive, not a gift

Attention, my fellow NSmen! This is one topic concerning you if you are one of the garang fellas aiming for the NS Excellence Award (NSEA)!

Although this does not really concern me since I am not aiming for the NSEA, anyways eyebrows were raised when it was announced that the NSEA is indeed, taxable.


Now, before you go completely apeshit over this, hear me out.

Apparently, the NSEA is an incentive to reward good performance during National Service. Hence, it is a work performance incentive.

Huh, so much for it being an award.

Eh well, feel free to go apeshit now.


Understandably, Netizens were not too pleased with the fact that the NSEA is taxable.

Considering how it’s supposed to be an award, taxing the NSEA just seems a little ridiculous.

Ultimately, when discussed with some friends of mine, they agreed that the whole taxing process is undervaluing the contribution they made during National Service as a whole.

In fact, some netizens also feel that the tax is “petty” and that National Service is “cheap” as a result (yikes!).

Image: Louis Ng Kok Kwang Facebook

Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat said that:

“The NS Excellence Award, or NSEA, is accorded to Operationally Ready National Servicemen who have performed in the top 30% of their cohort in In-Camp Training and courses during their Operationally Ready National Service. As it is an incentive to reward good performance during National Service, the NSEA, like other income from an individual’s good performance, is taxable.”

“However, where it is a gift from the Government to show appreciation to NSmen in general and is not a reward for good performance, the gift will not be taxable. An example is the NS50 Recognition Package.”

“To support and in recognition of their service to the nation, NSmen are eligible for a tax relief of between $1,500 and $5,000.”


Well, okay. But just one question though.

Why don’t they just reduce the amount of money (taxed amount) for the NSEA and make it a “gift” instead of an “incentive”? I know this is not how taxes are supposed to work, but wouldn’t it seem nicer overall if NSEA isn’t taxable?

Anyway, I hope this wouldn’t demoralize our NSmen. After all, staying fit and healthy only benefits you in the long run, right?

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