Looking for a quick list of grants and subsidies for businesses in Singapore? Skip to our table here.
The streets are empty, and so are the offices. We’ve taken the vigilant approach as a nation and maintaining social distancing in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, for businesses, it’s a difficult period of time.
Most of us rely on the strict rules of balancing income and expenditure to keep our businesses running, make plans for expansion or future projections. However, the suddenness of a virus outbreak has tipped this balance off its scales and many are struggling to stay afloat.
We all know that this too will pass. But in the meantime, the priority is to ensure that we make it through this challenge and pull through this difficult time. Here are some ways the government is supporting businesses through this crisis.
What you need to know
The government is focussing on the 3 Cs, mainly cash flow, cost and credit in the Resilience Budget which not only aims to help citizens, as individuals but also businesses get through this tough time.
For convenience sakes, we’ve compiled the various initiatives in a table below. You can click on each header to jump straight to the relevant section.
List of Grants and Subsidies For Businesses in Singapore
|Deferment of Income Tax Payment||Who It Benefits: All business owners and freelancers|
How: Deferment of income tax for 3 months
|Property Tax Rebate||Who It Benefits: Commercial property owners, Hawker stall owners under NEA, Tenants under gov agencies|
How: Up to 30% rebate in property tax or rental
|COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill||Who It Benefits: Business owners or inidviduals with contractual obligations|
How: Landlords are not allowed to evict or hold tenants to their contractual obligations during the COVID-19 crisis
|Job Support Scheme||Who It Benefits: Business owners, Employers|
How: Up to 75% of co-funding for employee salaries
|Credit Provision||Who It Benefits: Business owners looking for loans|
How: Enhanced credit provision schemes
Deferment of Income Tax Payment
In order to increase the amount of cash flow for companies and self-employed persons during this period of time, the government has initiated an automatic deferment of income tax payments for 3 months.
This will benefit business owners and freelancers who are experiencing cash flow issues. Good news, the deferment is automatic and will apply to income tax due in April, May and June 2020.
|Businesses||Deferment of income tax payment due in|
|Companies||Apr, May and Jun 2020|
|Self-employed persons||May, Jun and Jul 2020|
|Employees||May approach IRAS if they need help with tax payments and wish to avail themselves to this arrangement|
Table and information obtained from www.gov.sg
Property Tax Rebate
As part of the Unity Budget announced, Property Tax will be reduced or completely waived for different businesses.
Industries that are more severely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, such as tourism-related establishments like hotels and restaurants will pay no Property Tax. This is an increase in the 15%-30% rebate which was previously announced.
Other businesses, such as offices and industrial properties affected will be granted a rebate of 30% for 2020.
Landlords have been urged to fully pass on the rebate to tenants by reducing rentals or offering rental rebates. So if you haven’t heard from your landlord, drop them a message to enquire about this.
|Stallholders in hawker centres managed by NEA or NEA-appointed operators||3 months (up from 1 month announced in Budget 2020)|
|Eligible tenants under government agencies||2 months (up from 0.5 months announced in Budget 2020)|
|All other non-residential tenants||0.5 months|
Table and information obtained from www.gov.sg
Government fees and charges, such as conservancy fees will also be frozen for one year, from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.
COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill
In order to safeguard businesses who are unable to fulfill their contractual obligations amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the government will also be introducing a bill that protects evictions.
Stipulated to take effect in mid-April, it covers agreements made before March 25 and will suspend contractual obligations for 6 months.
What does this mean for businesses?
Simply put, if you’re unable to cover your rent due to the COVID-19 outbreak, your landlord will not be allowed to evict you, repossess your premises or sue you.
This applies to all contractual obligations, which can apply to a multitude of industries. Construction companies will not be liable for liquidated damages or delays arising from the virus. Events and tourism-related contracts and venue providers are not allowed to forfeit deposits unless approved by an accessor on a panel formed by MinLaw.
If you need to be relieved from your obligations, you’ll need to inform the other party involved, which can be as simple as sending an email or text stating that you are unable to pay your rent due to the COVID-19 situation.
Disputes that arrive from such issues will also be resolved by the ministry through eight panels of around 100 assessors made up of professionals like lawyers and accountants. A website will be set up for dispute lodging and verdicts will be given within five days. The process is fast, affordable and simple and no lawyers will be required.
Job Support Scheme
In order to help employers retain their local employees (Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents, the government will be co-funding monthly wages for 9 months.
For more severely affected industries like Aviation and tourism, 75% of the first $4600 of gross monthly wages per employee will be co-funded.
For F&B businesses, 50% of the first $4600 of gross monthly wages per employee will be co-funded.
For all other sectors, 25% of the first $4600 of gross monthly wages per local employee will be co-funded.
In order to determine your eligibility for the special sectors, login to IRAS here.
All other sectors are automatically considered for the 25% JSS
If you’re experiencing credit shortage, various financing schemes have also been further enhanced so you’ll be able to obtain loans easily.
More information can be found here.
It’s a tough fight, but tough times don’t last, tough businesses do. While we’re holding tight and waiting for the situation to get better, don’t just muck around. Besides the various grants and subsidies for businesses in Singapore, it’s a great time to look into the various strategies you can employ to change a dire situation into a winning one. Creative approaches and radical changes can really help break through a challenging situation.
So don’t give up! We’re rooting for you every step of the way.
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Till then, stay safe and I look forward to your topics!