Singapore

Tax Alert – Fortitude Budget

Singapore is preparing to re-open its economy progressively in three phases, starting from 2 June 2020. The Government is committed to continue to provide more support to employees who are still unable to resume work and to businesses which are not yet ready to re-open but continue to be concerned about cash flow and staying afloat.

With this backdrop, the Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced on 26 May 2020 additional support measures in a Supplementary Budget- the Fortitude Budget. The central focus of the Fortitude Budget is to provide support to enable businesses and employees to adapt, transform and seize new opportunities, so as to emerge stronger for the post-COVID world.

SUPPORTING BUSINESSES AND SAVING JOBS

The strengthening of support for businesses continues to revolve around the 3Cs – i.e. cash flow, costs and credit.

CASH FLOW

  • Jobs Support Scheme (JSS)
    • The JSS payouts extended by one more month to cover wages paid in August 2020 to each local employee in all sectors
    • For businesses (e.g. retail outlets, gyms and cinemas) that cannot resume operations immediately after the circuit breaker, wage support continues to be at 75% until August 2020 or when they are allowed to re-open, whichever is earlier. Proration applies if operations resume in middle of the month
    • Base tier of support for severely-affected sectors updated. Aviation and aerospace sectors now receive 75% wage support and 50% wage support for retail, land transport, marine and offshore sectors
    • 75% wage support for the built environment sector (which includes construction) for wages paid between June and August 2020

COSTS

  • Foreign Worker Levy (FWL) Waiver and Rebate

    Applicable to businesses not allowed to resume operations on-site immediately after the circuit breaker is lifted and all businesses in the construction, marine and offshore and process sectors

    • FWL waiver will be 100% in June and 50% in July 2020
    • FWL rebate will be $750 in June and $375 in July 2020

  • CPF Contribution Rate Increase for Senior Workers

    Deferred for a Year, from 1 January 2021 to 1 January 2022

    The CPF Transition Offset scheme similarly deferred for a year

  • Rental Relief for SMEs through Government Cash Grant

    In addition to property tax rebate for 2020 announced earlier, a cash grant, to be automatically disbursed through property owners from end-July 2020, to offset rental costs of qualifying SME tenants

    • Approximately 0.8 month’s of rent for commercial properties (e.g. shops)
    • Approximately 0.64 month’s of rent for non-residential properties (e.g. industrial and office properties)

    Landlords must pass on benefit to SME tenants

    SME property owners who run a trade or business on their own property will also be eligible for the cash grant

    Application to IRAS required if property is partially let out or rented out to both SME and non-SME tenants under a single property tax account

  • Mandated Rental Waiver by Landlords

    A Bill will be introduced mandating that landlords of commercial properties contribute by granting a rental waiver to their SME tenants who have suffered a significant revenue drop in the past few months

    If the Bill is passed by Parliament, it will provide approximately an additional two months’ rental relief to qualifying SME tenants of commercial properties. Some relief will also apply to SME tenants of industrial and office properties

    Further details are expected to be announced in June 2020

  • Rental Waivers for Tenants in Government Owned/Managed Non-residential Premises

      Earlier announced months of rental waiver Additional months of rental waiver
    Stallholders in hawker centres and markets

    3

    2

    Commercial tenants

    2

    2

    Other non-residential tenants

    1

    1

CREDIT

  • Introduction of Financing Support for Promising Start-ups

    The new scheme aims to support promising start-ups in Singapore who are in need of capital to develop their businesses

SUPPORT BUSINESSES FOR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Digital transformation is unavoidable and is here to stay for the post-COVID era.

Boosting E-payment Adoption

  • Subject to meeting conditions, a bonus of up to $1,500 ($300 per month over a period of five months) to stallholders in hawker centres, coffee shops and industrial canteens for adoption of the unified e-payment solution. This is aimed at reducing contact with customers and cash during transactions

    Transaction fees will be borne by Government until 31 December 2023

Digital Resilience Bonus

  • The Bonus provides additional support to enterprises seeking to uplift their digital capabilities. Targeted at Food Services and Retail sectors currently

    Bonus payouts of up to $10,000 (see table below) to offset cost of adopting pre-defined categories of digital solutions on top of baseline solutions, PayNow Corporate and e-invoicing

    Category Digital solutions Bonus payout
    $

    1

    Business process solutions

    • Accounting;
    • HR/Payroll; and
    • Digital ordering (for Food Services)/Inventory management (for Retail)

    2,500

    2

    Digital presence

    • Online food delivery or e-procurement (for Food Services)
    • E-commerce (for Retail)

    2,500

    3

    Data-driven operations

    • Data mining and analytics

    5,000

SUPPORT EMPLOYEES IN DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Employees have to stay relevant to remain employed and should take every opportunity to upgrade and reskill.

  • SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package launched to create job opportunities, train and raise the skills of our people for future jobs
  • Hiring Incentive enhanced to cover hiring of local employees of all ages (with increased support for those aged 40 and above) who have gone through an eligible reskilling or training programme

    Any hire from 27 May 2020 onwards Salary support Maximum support in total
    $

    Aged 40 and above

    40% of monthly salary for 6 months

    12,000

    Aged below 40

    20% of monthly salary for 6 months

    6,000

View summary

 

Koh Puay Hoon, Partner
T +65 6594 7820
[email protected]

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

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

Hsu Chong Hoe, Director
T +65 6594 7861
[email protected]