Government Support Update – Singapore
Quarter 4 is now upon us, and unfortunately the impact from Covid-19 continues to present challenges. When the crisis arrived with a bang in Q1 this year, we hoped, and in many cases anticipated that by the end of Q3, that the worst would have passed. While much of Asia-Pacific has made significant strides in battling the pandemic, travel looks as though it will remain largely off limits for some time to come and cases numbers are back on the rise in Europe and North America.
Through the course of this year the Singapore Government has implemented various measures to support businesses with the central focus on maintaining jobs through assistance via the “the 3Cs: cashflow, costs, and credit”.
Below, we summarise the current status of the main support provided and key aspects that businesses in Singapore should consider to ensure they are not missing out.
Main Government Support Schemes
The main direct financial support from the Singapore government has been around maintaining jobs via by way of the Job Support Scheme (JSS) in addition to rental support schemes, with enhanced support in significantly impacted sectors such as hospitality and tourism.
The good news in relation to JSS, is that the Government has recently announced that the program will be extended through to the end of March 2021. The Government will co-fund between 10% to 50% of the first $4,600 of the gross wages for each local employee. Hence in addition to the latest JSS pay-out coming within this month, further pay-outs will follow in March and June 2021 .The higher tier bracket of 50% will mainly be for those in the aviation and tourism sectors, while hospitality and retail will benefit to 30%. Most other businesses will receive support at 10%.
In relation to rental relief, in June this year the Government passed into law support mechanisms providing the equivalent of approximately 2 months of rent for qualifying commercial properties, and approximately 1 month of rent for industrial and office properties. You can find our overview of this here – Rental Relief Overview
What is important to note here is that there are dependencies on landlords to act. Hence if you’ve yet to receive such relief from your landlord, do continue to follow up. For those in Co-Working spaces, these are mainly seen as services agreement as opposed to rental agreement and hence outside the scope. That said, we have seen several cases, as should be expected, of Co-Working spaces provide temporary relief or doing deals with members, but often on a case by case basis rather than blanket approach.
Another aspect of support that will benefit many in the coming quarter is that all companies will receive a corporate income tax rebate this year of 25% of tax payable, capped at $15,000 per company. With corporate tax returns to be filed online by December 15, do keep this in mind.
Other Government Support
The website https://govassist.gobusiness.gov.sg provides a great overview of the vast array of supports schemes. This now includes a great E-Advisor tool to help businesses navigate through the vast amount of information across the various Government pages and portals
Unfortunately some of the commonly used schemes such as the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) and the SME Working Capital Loans have the requirement of 30% local ownership.
There are however schemes available to all and as per above the E-Advisor tool is a great resource to navigate this specific to your business. In relation to specific areas that we think can benefit many companies in Singapore, we highlight the following:
- Direct subsidy support in hiring new graduate via the SG United Traineeships Program
- Varying Schemes for Digital Solutions: Do note that while some are covered only under the PSG, but there are others that are available to all, and this link also provides information free resources
- Enhance tax deductions for Internalization of your Singapore business: when filing your YA2020 corporate tax return, do ensure you are getting the benefit of this for any business development travel in 2019 pre-Covid.
As highlighted above, beyond the main job support and rental relief schemes there is a vast array of benefits available to business. It just requires a time investment to research the right areas for your business and the new E-Advisor tool is a great place to start.
Do feel free to reach out to us at Stepping Stone if you have any queries on the above.