Singapore Budget 2020 affecting companies tax

Jobs Support Scheme ("JSS")

Current Treatment

Not applicable

New Treatment

Employers will receive an 8% cash grant on the gross monthly wages of each local employee (applicable to Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents only) for the months of October 2019 to December 2019, subject to a monthly wage cap of $3,600 per employee.   

Employers do not need to apply for the JSS. The grant will be computed based on CPF contribution data.   

Employers can expect to receive the JSS payment from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) by 31 July 2020.

Wages paid to business owners will not be eligible for the grant. 

Enhancement to Wage Credit Scheme ("WCS")

Current Treatment

Under WCS, the Government will co-fund a part of wage increases given to Singaporean employees earning a gross monthly wage of up to $4,000.

  • 2013 to 2015: 40% cap at $4,000
  • 2016 to 2018: 20% cap at $4,000
  • 2019: 15% cap at $4,000
  • 2020: 10% cap at $4,000

Employers do not need to apply for the WCS. The grant will be computed based on CPF contribution data. 

Payouts will be given to employers by 31 Mar of the payout year.

New Treatment

The monthly wage ceiling will be raised from $4,000 to $5,000 for qualifying wage increases given in 2019 and 2020.

  • 2013 to 2015: 40% cap at $4,000
  • 2016 to 2018: 20% cap at $4,000
  • 2019: 20% cap at $5,000
  • 2020: 15% cap at $5,000

Government co-funding levels will also be raised for 2019 and 2020 qualifying wage increases by five percentage points, to 20% and 15% respectively. 

Corporate Income Tax ("CIT") Rebate 

Current treatment

YA2019: 20% of tax payable, capped at $10,000

New treatment

YA2020: 25% of tax payable, capped at $15,000

Automatic extension of interest-free instalments of 2 months for payment of CIT on Estimated Chargeable Income (“ECI”) filed within 3 months from the companies’ financial year-end (“FYE”)

Current Treatment

Tax payable on first ECI e-Filed within

  • 1 months from year end: 10 months
  • 2 months from year end: 8 months
  • 3 months from year end:  6 months
  • After 3 months from year end: No instalments allowed

New Treatment

Tax payable on first ECI e-Filed within

  • 1 months from year end: 12 months
  • 2 months from year end: 10 months
  • 3 months from year end:  8 months
  • After 3 months from year end: No instalments allowed

Increase the number of YAs for which the current year unabsorbed capital allowances (“CA”) and trade losses for a YA (collectively referred to as “qualifying deductions”) may be carried back 

Current Treatment

“Qualifying Deductions” (“QD”) can be carried back for one YA immediately preceding that YA in which the CAs are granted or the trade losses incurred capped at $100,000.

New Treatment

“Qualifying Deductions” (“QD”) for YA2020 can be carried back for three YA  (i.e YA2017) capped at $100,000.

Provide an option to accelerate the write-off of the cost of acquiring plant and machinery (“P&M”)

Current Treatment

A taxpayer who incurs capital expenditure on the acquisition of P&M in the basis period can claim Capital Allowances (CA) over

Section 19A

  • 100% Write-Off in One Year
  • Write-Off Over Three Years

Section 19

  • Write-Off Over the Prescribed Working Life of the Asset

New Treatment

A taxpayer who incurs capital expenditure on the acquisition of P&M in the basis period for YA2021 (i.e. financial year (“FY”) 2020) will have an option to accelerate the write-off of the cost of acquiring such P&M over 2 years.

The rates of accelerated CA allowed are as follows:

a) 75% of the cost incurred to be written off in the first year (i.e. YA2021); and,
b) 25% of the cost incurred to be written off in the second year (i.e. YA2022).

Provide an option to accelerate the deduction of expenses incurred on renovation and refurbishment (“R&R”)

Current Treatment

A taxpayer which incurs qualifying expenditure on R&R during the basis period for the purposes of its trade, profession or business can claim Section 14Q deduction  over three consecutive YAs starting from the year in which the R&R expenditure is incurred, i.e. 1/3 of the R&R expenditure can be claimed in each of the three YAs.

The amount of R&R costs that qualify for tax deduction as a business expense is capped at $300,000 for every relevant three-year period, starting from the year in which the R&R costs are incurred.

 

New Treatment

A taxpayer which incurs qualifying expenditure on R&R during the basis period for YA2021 (i.e. FY2020) for the purposes of its trade, profession or business will have an option to claim R&R deduction in 1 YA (i.e. accelerated R&R deduction).

The amount of R&R costs that qualify for tax deduction as a business expense is capped at $300,000 for every relevant three-year period, starting from the year in which the R&R costs are incurred.

Extend the Mergers & Acquisitions (“M&A”) scheme

Current Treatment

Under the M&A scheme, an M&A allowance will be granted to a company that acquires another company during the period 1 Apr 2010 to 31 Dec 2020 (both dates inclusive). The M&A allowance will be allowed on a straight line basis over five years and the allowance cannot be deferred. Companies must meet certain conditions to remain eligible for M&A allowance for each Year of Assessment (YA) during the five-year write-down period.

  • 1 Apr 2016 to 31 Dec 2020:  The M&A allowance is 25% of the value of acquisition, , subject to a maximum amount of $10 million for all qualifying share acquisitions in the basis period for each YA. Maximum M&A allowance for each YA will be reached with an acquisition of $20 million in that YA.
  • 1 Apr 2015 to 31 Mar 2016: The M&A allowance is 25% of the value of acquisition, , subject to a maximum amount of $5 million for all qualifying share acquisitions in the basis period for each YA. Maximum M&A allowance for each YA will be reached with an acquisition of $20 million in that YA.
  • 1 Apr 2010 to 31 Mar 2015: The M&A allowance is at 5% of the value of acquisition, subject to a maximum amount of $5 million for all qualifying share acquisitions in the basis period for each YA. Maximum M&A allowance for each YA will be reached with an acquisition of $100 million in that YA.4

New Treatment

The M&A scheme will be extended to cover qualifying acquisitions made on or before 31 December 2025.

The scheme will remain unchanged for acquisitions made on or after 1 April 2020, except for the following:

  1. Stamp duty relief will lapse for instruments executed on or after 1 April 2020; and
  2. No waiver will be granted for the condition that the acquiring company must be held by an ultimate holding company that is incorporated in and is a tax resident of Singapore. This will apply for acquisitions made on or after 1 April 2020.

Singapore corporate tax exemptions caa 18 Feb 2020

Partial tax exemption for companies (from YA 2020)

Chargeable income% exempted from TaxAmount exempted from Tax
First $10,000@75%=$7,500
Next $190,000@50%=$95,000
Total $200,000 =$102,500

Tax exemption scheme for new start-up companies (where any of the first 3 YAs falls in or after YA 2020)

Chargeable income% exempted from TaxAmount exempted from Tax
First $100,000@75%=$75,000
Next $100,000@50%=$50,000
Total $200,000 =$125,000

Partial tax exemption for companies (YA 2010 to YA 2019)

Chargeable income% exempted from TaxAmount exempted from Tax
First $10,000@75%=$7,500
Next $290,000@50%=$145,000
Total $300,000 =$152,500

Tax exemption scheme for new start-up companies (where any of the first 3 YAs falls in YA 2010 to YA 2019)

Chargeable income% exempted from TaxAmount exempted from Tax
First $100,000@100%=$100,000
Next $200,000@50%=$100,000
Total $300,000 =$200,000

YA 2020
Companies will be granted a 25% Corporate Income Tax Rebate capped at $15,000.

YA 2019
Companies will be granted a 20% Corporate Income Tax Rebate capped at $10,000.

YA 2018
Companies will be granted a 40% Corporate Income Tax Rebate capped at $15,000

Government Grants – SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme

The SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme offers Employers a grant of up to S$15,000 per individual employed under the programe.

Background

The SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme is a work-learn programme that gives fresh graduates (within three years of graduation or Operationally Ready Date for National Servicemen) from polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) a head-start in careers related to their discipline of study. It provides them with more opportunities, after graduation, to build on the skills and knowledge they acquired in school, and better supports their transition into the workforce.

Participating employers can recruit local fresh talent, within three years of graduation or the Operationally Ready Date for National Servicemen and prepare them to take up suitable job roles. Participants in the programme can look forward to a structured career progression pathway within the organisation.

Benefits for the Employers

You will be able to groom and retain suitable talent with the relevant skills and aptitude to meet the needs of your company.

You will also receive a grant of up to $15,000 per individual placed in the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme to defray the costs of developing and providing structured on-job-training and to encourage them to set out career progression pathways.

* Terms and Conditions apply

To sign up, please visit ELP portal.

Changes on statutory requirements for AGM and filing of AR

To provide greater clarity for companies and reduce the compliance burden, the timelines for holding Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and the filing of annual returns will be aligned with the company’s FYE.

Timeline for holding AGMs and filing of annual returns​

Holding of AGMs

Current

For Companies with FYE ending on or after 31 Aug 2018 

(a) Timeline 1: Hold first AGM within 18 months of incorporation, and subsequent AGMs yearly at intervals of not more than 15 months

(b) Timeline 2: Financial statements tabled at AGM must be made up to a date within 4 months (for listed company) or 6 months (for any other company) before the AGM date.

For listed companies: Hold AGM within 4 months after FYE For any other company: Hold AGM within 6 months after FYE

Filing of Annual Returns

Current

For Companies with FYE ending on or after 31 Aug 2018 ​

For companies having a share capital and keeping a branch register outside Singapore
• File annual returns within 60 days after AGM

For other companies
• File annual returns within 30 days after AGM

For companies having a share capital and keeping a branch register outside Singapore:
• File annual returns within 6 months (if listed) or 8 months (if not listed) after FYE

For other companies:
• File annual returns within 5 months (if listed) or 7 months (if not listed) after FYE

Annual return can be filed only:
• after an AGM has been held;
• after financial statements is sent if company need not hold AGM; or
• after FYE for private dormant relevant company that is exempted from preparing financial statements.

Changing of Company’s Financial Year End (FYE)

With effect from 31 August 2018,

1. companies must notify the Registrar of their FYE upon incorporation and of any subsequent change;

Company A is incorporated on 1 Jan 2019. The company must notify the Registrar of its FYE upon incorporation.

Company B was incorporated on 1 Jan 2018 and has not yet lodged any AR with ACRA.
After new law comes into effect, the company’s first FYE will be deemed by the new law to be 1 Jan 2019.

Company C’s FYE deemed by the new law is 31 Mar 2019 

On 31 Jan 2019, company A wants to change its FYE to 30 Apr 2019  
• Not required to seek Registrar’s approval

• FYE changed to 30 Apr 2019.  

2. companies must apply to the Registrar for approval to change their FYE:

  • if the change in FYE will result in a financial year longer than 18 months; or
  • if the FYE was changed within the last 5 years; and

3. unless approved by the Registrar, the duration of a company’s financial year must not be more than 18 months in the year of incorporation.

Continuing from previous example

On 31 Dec 2020, company C wants to change its FYE to 1 Feb 2021  

Company C must seek Registrar’s approval for the FYE change because this is the second change within the last 5 years of the last changed FYE (30 Apr 2019).  

Company D indicated in its AR filed in 2019 that its previous FY ended on 31 Mar 2019. Its next FYE should be 31 Mar 2020. 

On 31 Jan 2020, company Dwants to change its FYE to 31 Dec 2020. 

Company D must seek Registrar’s approval for the FYE change because this will result in a financial year which is longer than 18 months (from 1 Apr 2019 to 31 Dec 2020). 

4. only FYE of the current and immediate previous financial year may be changed (provided that statutory deadlines for the holding of AGM, filing of annual return and sending of financial statements have not passed).

Company E’s FYE notified in AR last filed with ACRA is 31 Mar 2021. Its next FYE should be 31 Mar 2022. 

On 10 Nov 2025, company E wants to change its FYE for 2022 from 31 Mar 2022 to 31 Dec 2022.  

Company E is not allowed to do so, because it can only change its previous or current financial year.

Company F indicated in its AR filed in 2019 that its previous FY ended on 31 Mar 2019. Its next FYE should be 31 Mar 2020.

On 1 Dec 2020, company F wants to change its FYE from 31 Mar 2019 to 31 Dec 2020.

Company F is not allowed to do so, because the deadline for the holding of AGM, filing of AR or sending of financial statements for the current financial year have passed. 

A company’s financial periods starting on or after 31 Aug 2018 by default will be taken to be a period 12 months for each financial period.

Important information for newly Incorporated companies that have yet to file Annual Returns

Companies incorporated before 31 August 2018 will have their FYE deemed by law to be the anniversary of the date previously notified to the Registrar as their FYE date.

Company G has indicated in its AR previously filed with ACRA that its FYE is 31 Mar 2018.
After new law comes into effect, the company G’s next FYE will be deemed by the new law to be 31 Mar 2019.

In the absence of such notification before 31 August 2018, the anniversary of the date of incorporation will be deemed by law to be their FYE.

Company H was incorporated on 1 Jan 2018 and has not yet lodged any AR with ACRA.
After new law comes into effect, the company H’s first FYE will be deemed by the new law to be 1 Jan 2019.

Companies can change their FYE by notifying ACRA before or after 31 August 2018 .

Disqualification of directors

Amendment to disqualification of directors

The Companies (Amendment) Bill 2014 was passed by Parliament in October 2014.
One of the amendment is pertains to the disqualification of directors.

Reasons for disqualification

Reasons which will disqualify a individual from being a director includes the following:

  • Section 148 of the Companies Act: Bankruptcy
  • Section 149 and Section 154(2) of the Companies Act: By an Order of the Court
  • Section 149A of the Companies Act: Company being wound up for reasons of national security or interest
  • Section 154(1) of the Companies Act: Convicted of an offence involving fraud or dishonesty that is punishable with an imprisonment term for 3 months or more
  • Section 155 of the Companies Act:
    • Has been convicted for 3 or more filing related offences under the Companies Act within a period of 5 years or
    • Has 3 or more High Court Orders made against him compelling compliance with the relevant requirements of the Act, within a period of 5 years
    • Has 3 or more of his companies struck off the register by ACRA under section 344 within a period of 5 years. The 5 year period will commence from after the date on which the third company is struck off.

Disqualification period

The disqualification period depends on whether the director has been sentenced to imprisonment.

Sentenced with imprisonment

If the director is imprisoned, his disqualification will begin when he is convicted, and will continue for another five years or shorter as ordered if disqualified by the Courts after he is released from prison.

Sentenced without imprisonment

If the director was not sentenced to imprisonment, he will be disqualified for 5 years or shorter as ordered if disqualified by the court, from the date of his conviction.

What happens after disqualification

The individual will be listed on the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority’s (Acra’s) public register. A disqualified individual will not be allowed to be a director or take part in the management of any local or foreign company. He may continue to incorporate a new company or be appointed as a director of his previous company after the end of his disqualification period.

An news article about an director being disqualified under Section 155 of the Companies Act:
https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/acra-to-name-disqualified-directors-in-public-register

Government Grants – SME Talent Programme (STP)

The SME Talent Programme (STP) offers up to 70% funding support to help you defray the cost of the monthly stipend when you engage students through internships.

Funding
SMEs are eligible for up to 70% funding support to defray the cost of the internship stipend. Here is the minimum amount you should pay interns:

At least S$800 a month for ITE and polytechnic students
At least S$1,000 a month for university students.

Eligibility
SMEs should meet the following criteria:

  • At least 30% local shareholding
  • Group annual turnover of up to S$100 million OR group employment size of up to 200 workers
  • Offer potential career opportunities with a clear job description and career progression path
  • Possess sound Human Resource processes
  • Willing to participate in Enterprise Singapore’s Human Resource Maturity Diagnostics (HRMD) to facilitate future capability upgrading

Apply

Apply Approach the following Approved-in-Principle (AIP) partners to apply for this programme. The STP AIP partners will assess and qualify SMEs, and will play an active role in matching suitable student interns to the participating SMEs. The STP AIP Partners may be contacted for more information about the programme, eligibility and application process.

STP AIP Partner

Email address

Action Community for Entrepreneurship
Association for Small and Medium Enterprises
Restaurant Association of Singapore
Singapore Food Manufacturers’ Association
Singapore Manufacturing Federation
Singapore Retailers Association

Government Grants – Changes to Work-Life Grant (effective from 1 July 2018)

What is WorkPro?
Launched in Mar 2013, WorkPro encourages employers to implement progressive employment practices to benefit Singaporeans through job redesign, age management practices and flexible work arrangements.

Employers can receive the following funding support under the enhanced WorkPro:

  • Age Management Grant
  • Job Redesign Grant
  • Work-Life Grant (effective from 1 July 2018)

NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) are the official Programme Partners appointed to market and administer WorkPro.

Who can register for WorkPro?
Any company registered or incorporated in Singapore including societies and non-profit organisations such as charities and voluntary welfare organisations.

What are the changes?

  • Requiring each company to have just one employee, instead of 20 per cent of all employees, to be on flexible work arrangements to qualify for grant.
  • Funding employers $2,000 per employee over two years, up to 35 employees.
  • To make job sharing a more attractive option, the enhanced Work-Life Grant will provide a higher incentive of $3,500 per employee, instead of the current $2,000.
How to apply?

For more information on WorkPro, employers may contact the Programme Partners. Their contact details are:

SNEF
Website: www.snef.org.sg
Email: workpro@snef.sg

NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute)
Website: www.e2i.com.sg
Email: followup@e2i.com.sg

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