Tax Alert – Enhanced Support Measures for Businesses and Individuals during Phase 2 (Heightened Alert)

Singapore implemented tighter restrictions on higher-risk activities under Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) [“P2(HA)”] from 16 May 2021 to 13 June 2021 with a view to curb community spread of COVID-19. The following enhanced support measures were announced by the Ministry of Finance on 28 May 2021 to help businesses and individuals during this trying period.

Enhancements to the Job Support Scheme for workers and businesses

The Job Support Scheme (“JSS”) provides wage support to employers for the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages paid to local employees.

For sectors that are required to suspend many, if not all of their operations, JSS support is enhanced to 50%. For those sectors that are not required to suspend operations but are significantly affected by the tightened measures, the JSS support is enhanced to 30%.

The enhanced payout, based on wages paid in April 2021 to June 2021, will be disbursed in September 2021. Employers who put local employees on mandatory no-pay leave or retrench them will not be eligible for the JSS payouts in respect of such employees.

The table below summarises the affected sectors/businesses.

Sectors/Businesses Current Support
(1 April 2021 to 15 May 2021)
Enhanced Support
(16 May 2021 to 13 June 2021*)

Food and Beverage

10%

50%

Performing Arts & Arts Education

10%

50%

Sports such as gyms, fitness studios and other sports facilities

0%

50%

Retail outlets (with physical storefronts) Supermarkets, convenience stores and online retailers are excluded

10%

30%

Cinema operators

10%

30%

Museums, art galleries and historical sites

10%

30%

Indoor playgrounds and other family entertainment centres

0%

30%

Affected Personal Care Services (with physical storefronts)

0%

30%

* If no further changes are made, the JSS support levels will revert to those for 1 April 2021 to 15 May 2021 for the period 14 June 2021 to 30 June 2021.

Rental support for qualifying tenants of commercial properties

To support businesses with rental costs, the Government will provide rental relief to SMEs and eligible NPOs with an annual revenue not exceeding $100 million, who are tenant-occupiers of qualifying commercial properties (see listing in the table below).

Hotel room or function room of a hotel registered under the Hotels Act (“registered hotel”)

Serviced apartment or serviced apartment function room

Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) venues, namely Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre, Singapore EXPO and Changi Exhibition Centre

Premises of a prescribed international cruise or regional ferry terminal, namely Singapore Cruise Centre, Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore and Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

Premises of tourist attractions, shops, warehouse retail, restaurants

Amusement centre, cinema or theatre, sports and recreational building

Child care centre or kindergarten, school, health and medical care building

Backpackers’ hostel, boarding house, guest house, hotel or students’ hostel that is not a registered hotel

Carpark used in connection with the operation of the qualifying properties listed in this table

Spaces used in connection with the operation of the qualifying properties listed in this table but excluding certain premises

Shop-houses that are used for the purposes listed in this table but excluding certain premises

a) For Government-owned commercial properties

A one-month rental relief will be granted for qualifying tenants; this is aligned to the rental waiver for hawker stalls and coffee shops provided during this P2(HA) period. Tenants will be required to pass down the rental relief received to qualifying sub-tenants, if any.

b) For privately-owned commercial properties

Some landlords have given rental waivers or rebates to support their tenants during this P2(HA) period. To provide additional support, a half-month rental relief cash payout will be disbursed directly by Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore [“IRAS”] to qualifying tenants as part of a new Rental Support Scheme. The cash payout will not however be disbursed automatically to tenants who only rent part of a property, or to tenants who rent a mixed-use property. Such tenants would need to make a formal application, with supporting documents, to IRAS.

The payout will take place from mid-August 2021, computed based on the latest contractual gross rent within the period 14 May 2021 to 29 May 2021.

c) Own businesses

Property owners who run an SME business or eligible NPOs on their own qualifying commercial property will also be eligible for the half-month rental relief cash payout, computed based on the Annual Value of the property (or part of) for Year 2021 as at 14 May 2021.

Additional assistance to individuals

COVID-19 Recovery Grant (Temporary)

A new grant, COVID-19 Recovery Grant (Temporary) [“CRG-T”], is introduced to provide one-off support for lower-to-middle income employees and self-employed persons who are financially impacted as a result of the tightened measures.

Eligible to apply during period 3 June 2021 to 2 July 2021 Payout quantum
  • Individuals who experience at least one month of involuntary no pay leave, during period between 16 May 2021 and 30 June 2021.

One-off payout of up to $700

  • Individuals who experience income loss of at least 50% for at least one month, during period between 16 May 2021 and 30 June 2021.

One-off payout of up to $500

Ministry of Education [“MOE”] loans - extension of suspension of repayment and interest charges

MOE had earlier granted a one-year suspension, to 31 May 2021, for the loan repayment and interest charges for Tuition Fee Loans, Study Loans and Overseas Student Programme Loans for all autonomous university and polytechnic graduates. A further four months, until 30 September 2021, has now been granted.

Support for the Transport Sector

  • The COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund payout, from 16 May 2021 to 30 June 2021, to taxi and private hire car drivers is enhanced from $450/month/vehicle to $750/month/vehicle.
  • Retailers in Changi Airport terminals would have their rental fees fully waived for the period of closure, from 13 May 2021 until 13 June 2021.

 

For further information or assistance, please contact:

Koh Puay Hoon, Partner & Head of Tax
T +65 6594 7820
[email protected]

Cindy Lim, Partner
T +65 6594 7852
[email protected]

William Chua, Partner
T +65 6594 7860
[email protected]

Joanna Yap, Partner
T +65 6594 7859
[email protected]