Refresh Progressive Wage Approach and Coverage

What is the Progressive Wage Model?

Developed by tripartite committees consisting of unions, employers and the government, the PWM helps to uplift low-wage workers in the cleaning, security and landscape sectors.

Wages in these sectors had stagnated due to widespread cheap sourcing. The low wages in turn resulted in high turnover and labour shortages.

The PWM benefits workers by mapping out a clear career pathway for their wages to rise along with training and improvements in productivity and standards.

At the same time, higher productivity improves business profits for employers. Service buyers also enjoy better service standards and quality.

What is the Local Qualifying Salary (LQS)?

The Local Qualifying Salary is used to determine the number of local employees that count towards a company’s foreign worker ratio.

This ensures that local workers are employed meaningfully, rather than being employed on token salaries to allow the employer access to foreign workers.

A Singaporean or Permanent Resident employee employed under a contract of service, including the company’s director, is counted as:

  • 1 local employee if they earn the LQS of at least $1,400 per month.
  • 0.5 local employee if they earn half the LQS of at least $700 to below $1,400 per month.

Refresh Progressive Wage Approach and Coverage

On 29 Aug 2021, Government has accepted three suggestions from a tripartite work group to uplift lower-wage workers on his National Day Rally speech. 

1. Expand progressive wages to new sectors, including:

    • Retail from Sept 2022,
    • Food Services from March 2023 and;
    • Waste Management from 2023.

2. Extend existing cleaning, security and landscape PWMs to in-house workers from Sept 2022.

3. Introduce new occupational progressive wages to:

    • Administrators from March 2023 and;
    • Drivers from March 2023.

4. From Sept 2022, firms employing foreign workers have to pay at least the Local Qualifying Salary (LQS) of $1,400 to all local workers.

Currently, firms have to pay some local workers this amount, depending on how many foreign workers they hire.

Different industries have different foreign worker quotas.

Example: companies in the services sector have to pay 13 locals S$1,400 or more before they can hire seven foreign workers to fulfil its quota of 35 per cent.

From Sep 1, 2022, any firm employing foreign workers will have to pay at least the minimum salary to all its workers before it can hire any foreigners.

5. Progressive wages and LQS will be converted to fair hourly rates for those working part-time or overtime.

Meaning that firms will be able to hire locals on different work arrangements and pay them a fair wage based on hours worked, without affecting their foreign worker quota.

6. A Progressive Wage Mark will also be introduced to accredit companies that are paying all their workers progressive wages.

The mark will tell consumers which companies are paying all their workers “decent wages”

Covid-19 Relief for Construction Firms Facing Higher Foreign Manpower Cost

Construction firms here will soon be able to seek relief for higher foreign manpower costs from their contract partners if their workers’ salaries have been affected as a result of Covid-19-related measures.

This will be done through an amendment to the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act Bill that was introduced in Parliament on Monday (May 10).

Under the amended law, affected contractors, including sub-contractors, may apply to the authorities for an assessor to adjust the contract sum to take into account an increase in foreign manpower salary incurred between Oct 1 last year and Sept 30 this year due to reasons relating to Covid-19.

Part 10A of he Covid-19(Temporary Measures) Act has come into operation on 6 August 2021. Part 10A provides a framework for parties to construction contracts to apply for relief from their contractual counterparties if they are affected by an increase in cost of work permit holders due to the Covid-19 events such as border control quotas set by Government limiting the inflow of foreign workers.

Part 10A Critieria

COTMA Part 10A (which commenced on 06 August 2021) allows contractors in eligible contracts to apply to an independent Assessor. The Assessor has the power to adjust the contract sum of eligible construction contracts taken into consideration of the increase in foreign manpower salary cost incurred anytime during the period from 01 October 2020 to 30 September 2021 (both dates inclusive). 

Criteria:

  • Construction contracts entered before 1 October 2020
  • Contract must not have been terminated(or notice of termination given) before 10 May 2021
  • Construction works under the contract must not have be certified as completed as at 10 May 2021

Contractors must show proof of reasonable attempts to negotiate with their clients before they can apply to an Assessor. 

Part 10A Application Procedure

Party A must first apply to the Registrar for the Appointment of an Assessor.

  • The prescribed application period is from 6 August 2021 to 14 October 2021
  • The application must be made via Form A

Response from Registrar

If the Registrar is satisfied with the application, he/she will end to Party A the following:

  • An acknowledgement of receipt of the application; and
  • A response to the application via Form D or the electronic location at which the Form D may be obtained.

Notifying respondents

Party A must serve a copy of the application and the Registrar Response to the following parties within two working days after the date Party A receives the response

  • Party B and any other party to the contract, and any assignee thereof; and
  • Any person who is Party A’s guarantor or surety, or who has issued any performance bond or equivalent.

Party A must then, within two working days after the service of the copy of the application and the Registrar Response to the above parties, submit to the Registrar a declaration in Form C of such service.

Application fee

Once the relevant parties have been notified and the Form C declaration has been submitted, the Registrar will inform Party A of the application fee and the payment procedure. The application fee is based on the increase in the amount of foreign manpower salary costs incurred (the amount of foreign manpower salary costs incurred because of a COVID-19 event minus the amount of foreign manpower salary costs that would have been incurred in a circumstance without COVID-19

Refer to this table to ascertain the fee payable for an application.

Once the prescribed application fee is paid the Registrar will send a notice of the appointment of an Assessor to Party A and inform the date and place for the hearing if applicable.

Response from respondents

If Party B wishes to contest an application, they must submit to the Registrar a response to the application via Form D no later than five working days after being serve the copy of the application and the Registrar Response by Party A.

The response must also be served on:

  • Party A and any other party to the contract, an d any assignee thereof; and
  • Any person who is Party A’s guarantor or surety, or who has issued any performance bond or equivalent.

Assessor’s determination

The Assessor will them determine whether:

  • Part 10A is applicable to the case;
  • Party A had made a reasonable attempt to negotiate with Party B;
  • There has been an increase in the amount of eligible foreign manpower salary costs;
  • It is just and equitable in the circumstances to adjust the contract sum; and
  • The quantum of the adjusted amount.

Other Forms (only to be submitted when applicable):

Form B – Withdrawal of Application for Determination

Phase Two Heightened Third Alert

Update: Enhanced JSS Support from 16 May to 31 August 2021

The enhanced payout corresponding to wages paid for Apr to Jul 2021 will be disbursed in September 2021, while the enhanced payout corresponding to wages paid in Aug 2021 will be disbursed in December 2021. As JSS payouts are intended to offset and protect local employees’ wages, employers who put local employees on mandatory no-pay leave (NPL) or retrench them will not be entitled to the enhanced JSS payouts for those employees.

Enhanced Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) Support

SectorEligibility CriteriaCurrent JSS
Support
(1 Apr 2021 –
15 May 2021)
Enhanced
JSS Support
(16 May 2021

13 Jun 2021*)
Food and
Beverage
Entities must be classified under SSICs 56, or 68104. Licensees registered as
individuals will also be included if they make mandatory CPF contributions for their employees.
10%50%
Performing Arts &
Arts Education
Entities must:
• Meet at least one of the conditions of being a: (i) participant in a project, activity, programme or festival supported by the National Arts Council (NAC) or National Heritage Board (NHB) between 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2021; or (ii) Museum Roundtable member before 31 March 2021; or (iii) accredited Arts Education Programme (AEP) provider listed in the 2019-2022 NAC-AEP Directory; or (iv) has more than two-thirds of its business in arts/heritage related activities (as defined by one of the 6 qualifying SSICs in criterion 2); and
• Be classified under SSICs 85420, 90001, 90002, 90003, 90004 or 90009.
10%50%
SportsGyms, fitness studios and other sports facilities that must:
• Be classified under SSIC 93111, 93119, 93120 or 85410; and
• Operate sports- and/or fitness-related programmes that are (i) conducted indoors
without masks on prior to P2(HA); or (ii) for those 18 years and under prior to
P2(HA).
0% 50%
RetailQualifying retail outlets must:
• Have physical storefronts; and
• Be classified under SSICs 47191, 47199, 474, 475, 476, 4771, 47721, 4773,
4774, 47752, 47759, 47761, 47769, 4777, 47802, or 4799.
10%30%
Cinema operatorsEntities must:
• Hold a valid Film Exhibition licence from the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA); and
• Be classified under SSIC 5914.
10%30%
Museums, art
galleries and
historical sites
Entities must:
• Meet at least one of the conditions of being a: (i) participant in a project, activity, programme or festival supported by the National Arts Council (NAC) or National Heritage Board (NHB) between 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2021; (ii) Museum Roundtable member before 31 March 2021; or (iii) accredited Arts Education Programme (AEP) provider listed in the 2019-2022 NAC-AEP Directory; or (iv) has more than two-thirds of its business in arts/heritage related activities (as defined by one of the 6 qualifying SSICs in criterion 2); and
• Be classified under SSICs 91021, 91022, 91029
10%30%
Indoor
playgrounds and
other family
entertainment
centres
Entities must:
• Be classified under SSICs 93201 or 93209; and
• Operate family entertainment centres or family attractions-related businesses.
0%30%
Indoor
playgrounds and
other family
entertainment
centres
Entities must:
• Be classified under SSICs 93201 or 93209; and
• Operate family entertainment centres or family attractions-related businesses.
0%30%
Affected Personal
Care Services
Entities must:
• Be classified under SSIC 96022 or 96029;
• Have physical storefronts; and
• Operate personal care services that require masks to be removed (e.g. facial and
spa)
0%30%

Rental Relief

  • Hawkers and coffeeshop stallholders, who are self-employed and do not benefit from the JSS, the Government will provide one month of rental waiver for hawker stall and coffeeshop tenants of Government agencies
  • 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, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) will disburse a 0.5-month rental relief cash payout directly to qualifying tenants as part of a new Rental Support Scheme (Annex C). The payout will be disbursed starting from mid-August 2021 and computed based on the latest contractual gross rent within the period 14 May 2021 to 29 May 2021.
  • Separately, property owners who run an SME business or an eligible NPO on their own qualifying commercial property will also be eligible for the cash payout, computed based on the Annual Value of the property (or part of) for Year 2021 as at 14 May 2021.
Most qualifying tenants and owner-occupiers will receive the cash payout automatically without needing to submit an application. The cash payout will not be disbursed automatically to tenants who only rent part of a property, or to tenants who rent a mixed-use property (e.g. a shophouse for both retail and residential use), and/or to licensees. Such businesses should submit an application to IRAS, and provide supporting documents. IRAS will provide more details of the Rental Support Scheme and application process on its website by mid-June 2021.

Further Support for Hawkers

Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment on 22 May 2021, we will subsidise 100% of fees for table-cleaning and centralised dishwashing services for around 6,000 cooked food stallholders in hawker centres managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA) or NEA-appointed operators during the no dine-in period.

COVID-19 Recovery Grant (Temporary)

One-off support for lower- to middle-income employees and self-employed persons who are financially impacted as a result of the tightened measures. Individuals who experience at least one month of involuntary NPL or income loss of at least 50% for at least one month, during the period between 16 May 2021 and 30 June 2021 may apply for CRG-T. 

  • Eligible individuals placed on involuntary no-pay leave may receive a one-off payout of up to $700
  • Those experiencing significant income loss may receive a one-off payout of up to $500
  • Applications will be open from 3 June 2021 to 2 July 2021.

Enhanced COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund

  • From 16 May 2021 to 30 June 2021, from $450/month/vehicle to $750/month/vehicle
  • Changi Airport Group also announced that 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

Sports Resilience Package

Sport and Fitness Operating Grant

  • The grant has been rolled out to provide additional support for over 500 entities, in particular gyms and fitness studios
  • Those eligible for this grant will receive a one-time disbursement, which takes overhead costs such as rental and salaries into account, ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 for the three-week period (May 8-30)

Who can apply?

  1. Businesses under SSIC code 93111: Fitness studios and gymnasiums;
  2. Have received JSS support; and
  3. Sign a written undertaking on preserving jobs, compliance with SafeEntry implementation, and adoption of the SGClean Quality Mark, which will be included in the letter of offer provided to successful applicants for acceptance.

Note: Businesses of similar nature but have different SSIC codes i.e. 85410, 93119, 93120 can apply for Sport Singapore’s assessment.

SEP Project Grant

  • Aims to support about 300 projects – thrice the original number – that help self-employed people collaborate with each other and develop initiatives targeted at enhancing the health and wellness of Singaporeans
  • Successful grant applicants, who can work individually or with others, may obtain up to $25,000 in funding per project

Sport and Fitness SEP Support Fund

  • Those who have experienced at least 50 per cent income loss during the three weeks will be eligible for a one-time cash assistance of up to $400

Continuing Coach Education (CCE) Training Allowance Grant

  • Fitness instructors can claim $7.50 for every claimable hour for the CCE training, programme or event up to a maximum of $300 per person until March 31, 2022
  • These include CCE courses facilitated by CoachSG, ExPRO Fitness on-demand online learning content and events, and courses offered under Union Training Assistance Programme as endorsed by the National Instructors and Coaches Association

Setting up a Singapore Family Office

What is a Singapore Family Office (SFO)?

A Singapore Family Office usually refers to an entity which manages assets for or on behalf of only one family and is wholly owned or controlled by members of the same family. The term ‘family’ in this context refers to individuals who are lineal descendants from a single ancestor, as well as the spouses, ex-spouses, adopted children and step children of these individuals.

SFOs are exempted from engaging in fund management and financial advisory activities from licensing requirements. Under the statutory exemptions, an SFO may be exempted from licensing requirements if it was structured as either (a) a corporation which manages funds for its related corporations, or (b) a corporation that provides financial advisory services to its related corporations.

Requirements to be a SFO

MAS may consider the following to be of a SFO arrangement:

  • where there is no common holding company, but the assets managed by the SFO are directly held by natural persons of a single-family;
  • where assets are held under a  discretionary trust, the settlor of the trust and the beneficiaries are members of the same family;
  • where a family trust is set up for charitable purposes, the charitable trust is funded exclusively by settlor(s) from a single-family; and
  • where non-family members such as key employees of the SFO are shareholders in the SFO for the purpose of alignment of economic interest and risk-sharing, the initial assets and additional injection  of funds are funded exclusively by a single-family.

The business would need to have an interview with the MAS, which we will help to coordinate and prepare the client for.

Tax Exemption

After incorporation of the Single Family Office, various holding companies would be incorporated under the family office structure. There are some conditions that must be met if the corporation wants to qualify for the Enhanced Tier Fund Tax Exemption Scheme (also known as Section 13X).

For example, the office would need to hire at least three investment professionals, invest at least S$50 million into the fund entity and have local business spending of at least $200,000 a year.

The business would have to go through an interview with the MAS, which we will help to coordinate and prepare the client for as well as to see an investment strategy before granting approval for the business to qualify for Section 13X tax exemption.

The 13X exemption allows specified income derived from certain designated investments to be exempted from tax. The designated investments include a wide range of assets such as stocks, shares, securities and derivatives.

Tax Incentives

Family offices in Singapore could apply for a tax incentive under the Financial Sector Incentive-Fund Management Scheme (FSI-FM) which incentivises fund management and the provision of investment advisory services in Singapore.

Under this scheme, fee income derived by a Singapore fund manager from managing or advising a qualifying fund is taxed at a rate of 10% instead of the usual corporate tax rate of 17%. 

To qualify for the scheme, a fund manager must hold a Capital Markets Services (CMS) licence, employ at least 3 experiences investment professionals earning at least S$3,500 per month and have a minimum AUM of S$250 million. This is very relevant for large family offices, where the scale of operations and the income derived from managing or advising qualifying funds could be substantial.

Operational Requirements

The company must first decide where the family office will be located in order to set up the family office. Other administrative tasks include establishing family governance guidelines and come up with a Family Constitution, opening of bank accounts, implementing IT systems for portfolio aggregation and so on.

Budget 2021 – Emerging Stronger Together

Budget 2021, with the theme Emerging Stronger Together, combines measures to help families, workers and businesses weather the Covid-19 crisis in the immediate term, with measures to accelerate structural adaptations for the long term.

Tax Changes - GST

Extend GST to (i) goods imported via air or post that are valued up to (and including) the current GST import relief threshold of S$400 (“low-value goods”), and (ii) business-to-consumer (“B2C”) imported non-digital services, through the extension of the Overseas Vendor Registration and reverse charge regimes

Existing Tax Treatment

Currently, low-value goods that are worth $400 or less and are imported via air or post are not subject to GST. 

All goods imported via land or sea are already taxed, regardless of value.

B2C imported non-digital services (such as live interaction with overseas providers of educational learning, fitness training, counselling and telemedicine) are also not subject to GST.

New Tax Treatment

GST will be extended to:
a) Low-value goods which are imported via air or post. This will be effected via the Overseas Vendor Registration and reverse charge regimes. Jurisdictions that have extended their GST or Value Added Tax (“VAT”) regimes to cover imported low-value goods include Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

b) B2C imported non-digital services. This will be effected via the Overseas Vendor Registration regime. Jurisdictions which already tax similar services include Australia and New Zealand. 

This change will take effect from 1 January 2023.

Enterprise Financing Scheme - Venture Debt Programme

A programme aimed at startups, where Government takes up to 70% of the risk on loans with participating institutions.

  • Increase cap on loan quantum from $5 million to $8 million
  • Expecting approximately $45 million of venture debt to be catalysed over the next year

CTO(Chief Technology Officer)-as-a-Service

This initiative aims to provide companies with access to professional IT consultancies, to help firms identify and adapt digital solutions more efficiently.

Digital Leaders Programme

Will be launched to help firms hire core teams to further develop their digital transformation roadmap.

Extensions of Existing Business-Focused Schemes

Enhanced support levels of up to 80%, from 70% previously for enterprise schemes, such as Scale-up SG, Productivity Solutions Grant, Market Readiness Assistance, and Enterprise Development Grant from end-September 2021 to end-March 2022.

Local Enterprises Funding Platform

An investment scheme targeted at large local enterprises was announced by Mr Heng. Under the scheme, the Government will set aside $500 million for a commercially managed funding platform with Temasek, which will match the investment. This means there will be S$1 billion in total for the fund manager to invest in non-control equity and mezzanine debt of large local enterprises.

Growth and Transformation Scheme for Built Environment Sector

This scheme is aimed to digitalise processes and upskill workers through the entire value of the Built Environment sector (includes construction, real estate and environment and facility services businesses). It will require developers to work closely with their consultants, contractors, and suppliers to level up as an ecosystem or value chain. 

Further details about the scheme will be given by The Ministry of National Development during the debate on its budget.

Corporate Venture Launchpad (CVL)

The launchpad will provide co-funding for corporates to build new ventures through pre-qualified venture studios.

Open Innovation Platform (OIP)

Enhanced with new features such as a cloud-based Digital Bench for accelerated virtual prototyping and testing. Through OIP, problems faced by companies and public agencies can be matched with solution providers. The platform also co-funds prototyping and deployment.

Global Innovation alliance (GIA)

The GIA catalyses cross-border collaboration between Singapore and major innovation hubs across the globe. Its network has 15 city links, including four South-east Asian cities: Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta and Manila. This will be expanded to more than 25 cities around the world over the next five years.

In addition, the Co-Innovation Programme will be included in GIA. The programme will support up to 70 per cent of qualifying costs for cross-border innovation and partnership projects.

Jobs Support Scheme (JSS)

Extend support for Tier 1 sectors (Aviation, Aerospace, and Tourism)

  • 30% for wages paid from Apr to Jun 2021, and 10% for wages paid from Jul to Sep 2021

Extend support for Tier 2 sectors (such as Retail, Arts & Culture, Food Services, and Built Environment)

  • 10% for wages paid from Apr to Jun 2021

Covid-19 Recovery Grant

Continual support for workers who lost their jobs or experienced significant income loss.

  • Up to $700 per month for 3 months for employees who have lost their jobs or are placed on involuntary no-pay leave for at least 3 consecutive months
  • Up to $500 per month for 3 months for employees and self-employed persons who are facing average income loss of at least 50% for at least 3 consecutive months

Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI)

The JGI supports employers to accelerate their hiring of local workers between September 2020 to September 2021 (inclusive), so as to create good, long-term jobs for locals.

SGUnited Traineeships

The SGUnited Traineeships (SGUT) programme provides recent graduates with opportunities to gain industry-relevant work experience and build professional networks, amidst weaker hiring sentiments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Workforce Singapore co-funds 80% of the qualifying training allowance for host companies offering traineeship opportunities targeted at recent graduates, with the remaining being funded by the employer.

SGUT will be extended for one year until 31 March 2022 to continue supporting fresh jobseekers from the 2021 graduating cohort, in addition to those who have graduated in 2020 and 2019, with the following adjustments:

  • Starting from 1 April 2021, the stipend for ITE and diploma SGUT positions will be increased from $1,100 – $1,500 to $1,600 – $1,800 and from $1,300 – $1,800 to $1,700 – $2,100 respectively to encourage take-up. The stipend for university SGUT positions will remain unchanged.
  • The maximum duration of each traineeship will be reduced from nine to six months from 1 April 2021 onwards, in line with the economic recovery and to encourage employers to offer trainees full-time jobs.

SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme - Company Attachment (SGUP-CA)

The SGUP-CA programme is a full-time attachment programme with approved host organisations for mid-career individuals to gain industry-relevant experience, develop new skills and boost employability. Trainees currently receive a training allowance of up to $3,000 per month for the
duration of the programme. The Government funds 80% of the training allowance, while the host organisation funds the remaining.

SGUP-CA will be extended for one year until 31 March 2022 to continue supporting mid-career jobseekers with the following adjustments to encourage take-up:

  • The maximum training allowance for mature trainees3 will be increased to up to $3,800 per month.
  • The minimum training allowance for non-mature trainees will be increased to $1,600 per month
  • The Government co-funding rate for mature trainees will be increased to 90%.
  • The maximum training duration of each company attachment will be reduced from nine to six months from 1 April 2021 onwards, in line with the economic recovery and to encourage employers to offer trainees full-time jobs.

SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme - Company Training (SGUP-CT)

The SGUP-CT programme is a full-time training programme for mid-career individuals, developed and delivered by market-leading companies such as Google, Shopee, and IBM.

Trainees will receive a training allowance of $1,500 per month for the duration of the programme, to cover basic subsistence expenses. Individuals can use their SkillsFuture Credit to offset the course fees.

SGUP-CT will be extended for one year until 31 March 2022 to continue to support mid-career jobseekers in reskilling and upskilling, with the following adjustments:

  • The capacity of in-demand courses and courses with good hiring opportunities will be expanded, to increase chances of jobseekers securing a job in growth sectors as the economy recovers.
  • SGUP-CT courses will be made more compact from 1 April 2021 onwards, with a duration of up to six months in general, to channel jobseekers more quickly to employment opportunities.

SGUnited Skills (SGUS)

The SGUS programme is a full-time training programme comprising certifiable courses delivered by Continuing Education and Training (CET) Centres, including Institutes of Higher Learning. The training courses are designed in partnership with industry. Trainees will also have the chance to apply the skills learnt during the programme, through opportunities like workplace immersions and industry projects.

Trainees can also benefit from employment facilitation efforts offered by training providers. SGUS courses are conducted in a modular format to facilitate transition to employment as and when job opportunities are present.

Trainees will also receive a training allowance of $1,200 per month for the duration of the programme, to cover basic subsistence expenses. Individuals can use their SkillsFuture Credit to offset the course fees.

SGUS will be extended for one year until 31 March 2022 to continue supporting the reskilling of mid-career jobseekers with the following adjustments:

  • The capacity of in-demand courses and courses with good hiring opportunities will be increased to help jobseekers access job opportunities in growth sectors as the economy recovers.
  • SGUS courses will be made more compact from 1 April 2021 onwards, with a duration of up to six months in general, to channel jobseekers more quickly to employment opportunities.

GST Voucher - Cash Special Payment

Lower-income Singaporeans who qualify for the GST Voucher (GSTV) – Cash (paid every August) will each receive an additional Cash Special Payment of $200 in June 2021. In total, lower-income Singaporeans can receive up to $500 in GSTV – Cash and Cash Special Payment this year, to help them with their daily living expenses. The GSTV – Cash scheme benefits Singaporeans aged 21 years and above in 2021 with:

(i) Assessable Income (AI) for the Year of Assessment (YA) 2020 of not more than $28,000,

(ii) Annual Value of place of residence (as reflected on NRIC) as at 31 December 2020 of not more than $21,000, and

(iii) ownership of not more than one property (see Table 1).

GST Voucher - U-Save Special Payment

All eligible HDB households will receive an additional 50% of their regular GST Voucher (GSTV) – U-Save this year, through a one-off GSTV – U-Save Special Payment (see Table 2). This U-Save Special Payment will be credited in April 2021 and July 2021, together with their regular U-Save.

Service and Conservancy Charges Rebate

Eligible Singaporean households living in HDB flats will receive rebates to offset between 1.5 and 3.5 months of Service and Conservancy Charges (S&CC) over FY2021 (see Table 3).

Top-ups to Child Development Account, Edusave Account, and Post-Secondary Education Account

The Government will provide families with additional support for their children’s education-related expenses. Each Singaporean child will receive a one-off top-up of $200 to the Child Development Account (CDA), Edusave account, or Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA), depending on his/her age and/or academic level (see Table 4). The top-up to the Edusave account is in addition to the annual Edusave contribution that the Government makes.

Bigger $50,000 Start-Up Grant for First Time Entrepreneurs

On 17 August 2020, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced during his Ministerial Speech that S$150 million has been set aside for the enhancement of the Startup SG Founder scheme.

First-time entrepreneurs will be able to access a higher start-up capital grant of S$50,000, up from $30,000, to help them launch their business ideas. In addition to the increase in the start-up grant, a three-month venture building programme has also been introduced to help start-ups get their innovative ideas off the ground.

The reason for the enhancement of the scheme is to spur new development and new growth opportunities. Besides new innovations and solving real world problems, start-ups also help to create more and new types of job opportunities for Singaporeans. By enhancing the Startup SG Founder programme, the government hopes to enable more aspiring entrepreneurs to start new ventures and accelerate the formation of innovative startups in Singapore.

Startup SG Founder "Train" Track

Under the “Train” track scheme, Enterprise Singapore has appointed Venture Builder and Accredited Mentor Partners (‘VB-AMPs’) with strong track records of venture building to provide 3-month Venture Building (VB) programmes to Singaporeans. The programme will provide support for sourcing innovation, commercialising these ideas into scalable businesses, getting product/solution validation from customers and finding capital.

Eligibility

To be eligible for this track, applicants must fulfil the following criteria:
i. Singaporean Citizen or Permanent Resident;
ii. Commit to 100% attendance for the Venture Building Programme;
iii. Commit to running a startup full time after the programme.

They will also need to pass the VB-AMPs’ screening criteria, which is not limited to:
aptitude, expertise, background and related experience.

The table below summarises the eligibilities of different categories of individuals. The
list below is non-exhaustive, and subject to changes by ESG. Categories of individuals
not listed below will be assessed for eligibility on a case-by-case basis by ESG.

 CategoryEligibility for the VB ProgrammeEligibility for Stipends
Applicants who are full time employed, part-time employed, self-employed or freelancing

1
Applicants who are currently in part-time or full-time employmentNo, unless applicants are willing to tender the resignations before enrolling into the programme.
If programme-eligible applicants are still serving notice during the
programme, pro-rated stipends will be provided after the notice period ends
2Freelancers Yes, provided applicant can be full time committed to the Venture Building
Programme
Yes
3Self employed i. If the business is registered as a sole proprietor, the treatment for freelancers (case #2) will apply.
ii. For all other business entities, the treatment will follow that of case #5.
Former / current startup founders
4Applicants who have previously incorporated a business entity on ACRA (ie. Pte Ltd / LLC / any other business entities), which was nonrevenue generating and is no longer active YesYes
5Applicants with a business entity that is active and live on ACRA, registered as Pte Ltd / LLC / any other business entities, excluding sole proprietorshipNo. If your business entity is a startup, you may wish to apply for the Startup SG Founder grant, provided you meet the eligibility criteria.
No
6Applicants who have been awarded the Startup SG Founder grantNoNo
Students
7Applicants who are currently in full time studiesOnly students in their final year of studies are eligible for the programme. However, if you currently hold a job, you will not be eligible, as per treatment of case #1.No
8Applicants who are currently in part time studies
Yes, if you can be full time committed to the Venture Building programme.Yes
8Applicants who are currently in part time studies
Yes, if you can be full time committed to the Venture Building programme.Yes
9Applicants who are still studying and on scholarship that requires them to
serve a bond after graduation
NoNo
Others
10Applicants who have attended any SGUnited Traineeship or SGUnited Skills ProgrammesNoNo
11Applicants who have previously joined other Venture Building programmes (incl. commercial VB programmes)
NoNo

Startup SG Founder "Start" Track

Under the “Start” track scheme, teams of entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas can approach any Enterprise Singapore-appointed Accredited Mentor Partners (AMP) with their innovative business ideas. The AMPs will identify and recommend qualifying applicants for funding support based on the uniqueness of business concept, feasibility of business model, strength of management team, and potential market value. Upon successful application, the AMP will assist the startups with advice, learning programs and networking contacts. Enterprise Singapore will also provide the startups with a startup capital grant of $50,000. Startups are required to raise and commit S$10,000 as co-matching fund to the grant.

Eligibility

Applicants will need to reach out to an Accredited Mentor Partners (AMP) of choice and submit their pitch deck for the AMP’s consideration. AMP will assess applicants based on (but not limited to) the following criteria: 

  • Differentiated business – how novel the idea/product/service/business model/process is compared to what is available in the market
  • Feasibility of the business – whether the revenue model is sustainable
  • Potential market opportunity – how large the size of the target market is, and how the company intends to reach out to its customer segments
  • Management team – whether the founding team demonstrate passion and entrepreneurial spirit, and have the relevant technical and business skills to execute the idea.

If the AMP assesses that the applicant has met the eligibility and evaluation criteria, they will provide a letter of recommendation to the applicant. Applicants must then attach this letter in an online application form to be submitted to Enterprise Singapore within 2 weeks from the receipt of the letter of recommendation. Enterprise Singapore will inform the applicant and AMP on the application status for the grant.

The grant is open to all Singaporeans/Permanent Residents who meet the following conditions at the time of application:

  • The team has at least 3 SC/PRs, who are the main applicants of the grant;
  • At least 2 of the 3 main applicants are first-time founders;
  • The main applicants who are first-time founders must hold a minimum of 30% equity in the company collectively;
  • The company must have a minimum 51% SC/PR shareholdings;
  • The company must not be more than 6 months of incorporation at the point of application to the AMP;
  • The 3 main applicants must contribute meaningfully to the company, and not be employed by another employer;
  • At least 2 of the 3 main applicants should be committed full time to the company, and must be key decision makers of the company;
  • The main applicant(s) must not have received any funding for the proposed business idea from another government organization;
  • The proposed business idea must not be in the following list: cafes, restaurants, night clubs, lounges, bars, foot reflexology, massage parlours, gambling, prostitution, social escort services, employment agencies (including recruiting foreign work permit holders and workers/support staff, relocation services, and manpower services), and geomancy.
Click here to submit your pitch deck to an AMP, and if you have received a Letter of Recommendation from an AMP, you may submit an application to ESG here.

FAQs

When will the enhancements to the Startup SG Founder grant take effect?

The enhancements will take effect on 25 Sep 2020. Any applications received by ESG prior to this date will follow the current Startup SG Founder grant conditions, which include:
i. Grant amount of $30,000 over a 12-month period
ii. Co-matching ratio of 1:3 (ie. Founder(s) must raise $10,000 in capital)
iii. Only one main applicant required
Any applications received by ESG from 25 Sep 2020 onwards will follow the new Startup SG Founder grant conditions, (refer to Para 2.ii). Some key conditions include:
i. Increased grant amount of $50,000 over a 12-month period
ii. Reduced co-matching ratio of 1:5 (ie. co-investment of $10,000 required)
iii. Minimum 3 SC/PR employees (including the founder), two of whom must be first-time founders.

How will the grant be disbursed?

If the AMP wishes to recommend the application, the AMP will decide on appropriate milestones together with the applicant(s). The AMP’s recommended application and milestones will then be surfaced to ESG for vetting and approval. The grant will be disbursed in 2 tranches based on agreed project milestones. You will have up to 12 months from the date of letter of offer to meet the milestones to draw down on the grant.

Is the Startup SG Founder enhancement intended to be a one-off? Or will the S$150 million support startups with further enhancements in the future?

ESG continuously reviews all our programmes including the Startup SG Founder and its appointed AMPs. Any further enhancements will be subject to a review in FY2021. In addition, there are various forms of Startup SG support catered to different stages of startups, e.g. Startup SG Equity and Startup SG Tech schemes. The National Innovation Challenges were also recently launched to spur demand from companies and government agencies for innovative solutions by startups.

Some may consider joining a startup or pursuing entrepreneurship at this point in time as something fraught with risk. Why does ESG encourage individuals to pursue such pathways at this time?

Pursuing entrepreneurship in this time is challenging. But the Government is providing various forms of support to mitigate this risk.

a. The enhancement of Startup SG Founder programme is example. Startups under our Startup SG Founder scheme are closely supported and mentored by ESGappointed AMPs, who provide useful resources, coaching and networks for startups and entrepreneurs to tap on. There is also significant support from government effort and community-led initiatives to help the local startup ecosystem, to mitigate risks in pursuing entrepreneurship during this time.

b. In June 2020, the Special Situation Fund of S$285 million was launched to support promising startups with strong growth potential to continue with innovation and product development in Singapore.

c. The Startup SG Equity scheme was enhanced earlier this year with an additional S$300 million to catalyse more investments into Singapore-based deep-tech startups. Both are done through co-investments with the private sector. Several ecosystem partners have also stepped up to provide mentorship virtually to startups on a pro bono basis. For example, community builders AngelCentral and Found8 launched online sites that list tips and advisories for any startups during this tough time. VCs such as Antler also launched a call to invest in early-stage startups with solutions to tackle COVID-19. It will invest up to US$500,000 by this year in such startups, with the aim to generate more innovative solutions from startups to solve immediate challenges relating to the current pandemic crisis.

With the introduction of the “Train” track, does that mean that startup who wish to apply for the Startup SG Founder must attend the Venture Building programme first?

No. Startup founders who have ready business plans and do not require entrepreneurial training can continue to apply to any existing AMPs to be considered for the Startup SG Founder grant. The introduction of the “Train” track merely offers more support for entrepreneurs who wish to get training and advices for market validation of their business ideas before launching their startups.

Can I request for a face-to-face consultation? How do I set up a business? Who can help me?

If you would like to explore the various support available for startups, you may find it helpful to check out the Startup SG website (www.startupsg.gov.sg) or to make an appointment with one of the SME centres (https://partnersengage.enterprisesg.gov.sg/book-appointment). The business advisors will advise you more on the appropriate schemes and assistance for your business. ESG is unable to vet through or give comments on the business proposal, as ESG can only evaluate grant applications submitted in accordance to the stated requirements of the programme.

Click here for more Startup SG Founder FAQ.

Enhancements to Grants and Loan Scheme

In the Ministerial Statement made by DPM Heng Swee Keat on Mon, 5 Oct 2020, he stated that there will be an extended and enhanced support for firms and workers.

Companies looking to grow their businesses, increase productivity or expand overseas will soon be able to tap bigger grants and expanded loan schemes. These moves will provide more support for businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic and help them to transform, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said as he announced the enhancements to several grant and loan schemes on Monday, Oct 12.

Market Readiness Assistance Grant

This grant provides Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with financial assistance to help take your business overseas. You will be rewarded a maximum of 2 MRA grants for each fiscal year. To be eligible for this grant, you need to:

  • Be registered or incorporated in Singapore; 
  • Have at least 30% local shareholder;
  • Have a group annual turnover not exceeding S$100 million per year based on most recent audit report or group employment not exceeding 200 employees.

Current Support Level

Up to 70 per cent of qualifying costs, including identifying business partners and setting up overseas.

New Support Level

Up to 80 per cent of qualifying costs from 1 Nov 2020 to 30 Sept 2021. Will also cover participation in virtual trade fairs from 1 Nov 2020. 

Enterprise Development Grant

The Enterprise Development Grant helps Singapore companies grow and transform. This grant funds qualifying project costs namely third party consultancy fees, software and equipment, and internal manpower cost. To qualify for this grant, you need to:

  • Be a business entity registered and operating in Singapore
  • Have a minimum of 30% local shareholding
  • Be in a financially viable position to start and complete the project

Current Support Level

Up to 80 per cent of qualifying costs until 31 Dec 2020.

New Support Level

Higher support of up to 80 per cent extended by nine months to 30 Sept 2021, after which it will revert to up to 70 per cent.

Productivity Solutions Grant

The Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) supports companies keen on adopting IT solutions and equipment to enhance business processes.

For a start, PSG covers sector-specific solutions including the retail, food, logistics, precision engineering, construction and landscaping industries. Other than sector-specific solutions, PSG also supports adoption of solutions that cut across industries, such as in areas of customer management, data analytics, financial management and inventory tracking.

To help enterprise implement COVID-19 business continuity measures, the scope of generic solutions has expanded to include:

  • Online collaboration tools (including laptop-bundled remote working solutions); 
  • Virtual meeting and telephony tools;
  • Queue management systems;
  • Temperature screening solutions

SMEs can apply for PSG if they meet the following criteria:

  • Registered and operating in Singapore
  • Purchase/lease/subscription of the IT solutions of equipment must be used in Singapore
  • Have a minimum of 30% local shareholding; with Company’s group annual sales turnover less than S$100 million, OR less than 200 employers (selected solutions only)

Current Support Level

Up to 80 per cent of qualifying costs until 31 Dec 2020.

New Support Level

Higher support of up to 80 per cent extended by nine months to 30 Sept 2021, after which it will revert to up to 70 per cent.

Temporary Bridging Loan Programme

The Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP) allows eligible enterprises to borrow up to S$5 million, with a repayment period of up to 5 years.

Under the scheme, interest rates charged by Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) are capped at a maximum interest rate of 5% per annum. 

To be eligible for TBLP, you need to:

  • Be a business entity that is registered and physically present in Singapore;
  • At least 30% local equity held directly or indirectly by Singaporean(s) and/or Singapore PR(s), determined by the ultimate individual ownership

Current Support Level

Loans of up to $5 million, with up to 90 per cent risk-sharing by the Government until 31 March 2021.

New Support Level

Loans of up to $3 million, with up to 70 per cent risk-sharing by the Government from 1 April to 30 Sept 2021.

Enterprise Financing Scheme - Project Loan

This programme helps enterprises finance the fulfillment of secured overseas projects.

The supportable loan types include:

  • Working Capital and Trade Loans
  • Equipment/ Machineries/ Vessels/ Other fixed assets
  • Guarantees

To be eligible for this loan, you are:

  • A Singaporean SME looking to finance the fulfilment of secured overseas projects.

You need to:

  • Be a business entity that is registered and physically present in Singapore.
  • Have at least 30% local equity held directly or indirectly by Singaporean(s) and/or Singapore PR(s), determined by the ultimate individual ownership,
  • Have a Maximum Borrower Group revenue cap of S$500 million for all companies…

Current Support Level

Loans of up to $50 million for secured overseas projects, with at least 50 per cent risk-sharing by the Government.

New Support Level

Expanded to allow construction companies to take up loans of up to $30 million for secured domestic projects, with at least 50 per cent risk-sharing by the Government, starting from 1 Jan 2021.

Enterprise Financing Scheme - Trade Loan

Finance trade needs, including:

  • Inventory / stock financing
  • Structures pre-delivery working capital (revolving working capital)
  • Factoring (with recourse) /bill of  invoice/ AR discounting 
  • Overseas working capital loan
  • Bank Guarantee (capped at 2 years tenure)

Eligibility:

  • Be a business entity that is registered and physically present in Singapore, and
  • At least 30% local equity held directly or indirectly by Singaporean(s) and/or Singapore PR(s), determined by the ultimate individual ownership, and
  • Have Group Annual Sales Turnover of not more than S$500 million

Current Support Level

Loans of up to $10 million, with up to 90 per cent risk-sharing by the Government until 31 March 2021.

New Support Level

Loans of up to $10 million, with up to 70 per cent risk-sharing by the Government from 1 April to 30 Sept 2021.

Ministerial Statement – Support for Firms and Workers

Enhanced Training Support Package (ETSP)

The government will extend the Enhanced Training Support Package (ETSP) which was enhanced in the Resilience Budget, for another six months, until 30 June 2021 to provide enhanced course fee subsidies for firms in our hardest-hit sectors. DPM Heng also said that he will extend the ETSP to the Marine and Offshore sector from 5 Oct 2020, on top of the existing sectors such as Air Transport, Retail, and Tourism. In recognition of the gradually recovering economic situation, we will also be lowering the absentee payroll rates to 80% from January 2021, capped at $7.50 per hour.

Providing Strong Support for Firms

In tandem, the government will continue to provide strong support to firms that are growing by:

  • Enhanced support for startups, via the Startup SG Founder programme. Since the announcement of the enhancements in August, more than 500 aspiring entrepreneurs have signed up for the 3-month Venture Building programmes.
  • Provide wage support of between 25% and 50% for each new local hire in firms which increase their total local headcount, through the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI). The support will be for the first $5,000 of gross monthly wages for up to 12 months.

Jobs Growth Incentive

As persons with disabilities may face greater challenges in finding jobs, the government will provide the higher tier of wage support of 50% under the JGI to all Persons with Disabilities

This will apply to new hires of Persons with Disabilities from September 2020 to February 2021.

Boosting Businesses

To give a boost to businesses seeking to internationalise, transform and digitalise, there will be an extension or enhancement to the capability-building grants:

  • Market Readiness Assistance Grant, 
  • Productivity Solutions Grant, 
  • Enterprise Development Grant, and 
  • PACT programme

These will enable firms to tap on new sources of growth. MTI will announce details in the coming weeks.

Enhanced Support Through Loan Schemes

  • To provide working capital to support viable businesses, the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme will be extended for another six months, until September 2021, at reduced levels.
  • MAS will also extend the MAS Singapore Dollar Facility for Enterprise Singapore Loan, until September 2021.

Updates on Rental Relief Framework

Expanded powers for rental relief assessors

Under the rental relief framework, a landlord who is unable to reach an agreement with is tenant may apply to have an independent rental relief ascertain:

a) The tenant’s eligibility for rental waivers (either the portion supported by Government assistance, and/or the portion borne by the landlord)

b) The landlord’s eligibility to provide a reduced amount of rental waivers, on the basis of financial hardship

The amendments to the Act proposed on September 3, will expand the powers of rental relief assessors so that they can make determinations on unresolved disputes relating to the amount of rent to be waived under the framework, where the amount is affected by any of the following factors:

a) The amount of maintenance and service charges, especially where such charges are not explicitly listed in the lease or license agreement

b) The amount that can be offset by assistance provided by the landlord earlier

c) The tenant is occupying the property for only a part of the relief period

d) There are multiple-sub tenants in the same property 

Clarifying interaction between Part 8 and other dispute resolution proceedings

The amendment Bill will also clarify the existing Part 8 of the Act – not yet in force – that allows parties of some contracts to get relief if they are affected by breaches or delays in construction, supply or related contracts.

It will specify that no application for relief for such contracts can be filed if court, arbitral or Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act (Sopa) proceedings related to the application have already started.

Conversely, once an application for relief ha been filed, the other parties of the contract cannot commence, arbitral or Sopa proceedings or the same matter, until a determination is made or the application is rejected or withdraw. 

If a determination is made and the terms of the contract are adjusted, any subsequent applications and determinations made under Sopa must be based on the adjusted contract terms. 

In cases where a Sopa application is made before the other party seeks relief under the Act, the Sopa adjudicator will have powers to grant relief – similar to that of the assessors – to account for the impact of Covid-19.

FAQs on Rental Relief and Property Tax Rebate for SMEs

Rental Relief

The rental relief framework, comprising the Rental Relief and the Additional Rental Relief, applies to eligible tenant-occupiers of prescribed properties in qualifying leases or licences that are in writing, or evidenced in writing, which are:

a) (i) Entered into before 25 March 2020; or (ii) entered into before 25 March 2020 but expired and renewed either automatically or in exercise of a right of renewal in the contract; and

b) In force at any time between 1 April and 31 July 2020 for qualifying commercial properties, and between 1 April and 31 May 2020 for other non-residential (e.g. industrial/office) properties.

Rental Relief

Tenant-occupiers must fall in the following category to be eligible for Rental Relief:

a) Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with not more than S$100 million in annual revenue for the Financial Year 2018 or a later appropriate period where applicable, at the individual or entity level

  • If the tenant-occupier has not carried on business for 12 months or longer as at the last day of its financial year ending on a date in the year 2018, but has carried on business for 12 months or longer as at last day of its financial year ending on a date in the year 2019, the reference period will be FY2019 instead. Id the foregoing does not apply, but the tenant-occupier has carried on business for 12 months or longer as at the last day of its financial year ending on a date in the year 2020, where the date is on or before March 2020, the reference period will be FY 2020. For any other case, the tenant-occupier’s average monthly revenue from the time the tenant-occupier commenced business until 31 March 2020 (both dates inclusive) will be extrapolated for comparison against the $100 million annual revenue threshold.

Additional Rental Relief

The Additional Rental Relief will apply to tenant-occupiers who qualify for Rental Relief, have carried on business at the rented property before 25 March 2020 and meet the following additional criteria:

(a) The tenant-occupier is a company/entity incorporated in Singapore, and if it is a member of a Singapore group of entities during the period 1 Apr 2020 to 31 May 2020, the aggregate revenue for such a group is not more than S$100 million for the Financial Year 2018 or a later appropriate period where applicable; and

(b) The tenant-occupier suffered at least a 35% drop in average monthly gross income at the outlet level from 1 Apr to 31 May 2019, or alternative period if the tenant-occupier was not operational as of 1 Apr 2019.

Note: If the tenant-occupier commenced business after 1 Apr 2019, comparison will be against the period from the date of commencement of business to 24 Mar 2020 (both dates inclusive) to ascertain the decrease of 35% or more. 

a) Rental Relief for eligible SME tenants (supported by Government assistance):

Eligible tenant-occupiers in qualifying commercial properties and other non-residential properties will receive the rental relief through a waiver of rent from their landlords. Property owners will receive support through the: (a) Property Tax Rebate for Year 2020 announced in the Unity and Resilience Budgets; and (b) Government cash grant announced in the Fortitude Budget.

Eligible SMEs in qualifying commercial properties will receive up to 2 months’ waiver of their rent, and eligible SMEs in other non-residential properties (e.g. industrial and office properties) will receive up to 1 months’ waiver of their rent.

b) Additional Rental Relief for SME tenants (supported by landlords/ property owners):

Eligible SME tenant-occupiers who have seen a 35% or more drop in their average monthly gross income due to COVID-19 will receive up to an additional 2 months’ waiver of rent for qualifying commercial properties, and up to an additional 1 month’s waiver of rent for other non-residential properties (e.g. industrial and office properties).

For more details on the definitions of property in each category, please refer to this.

*The value of the rent to be waived is based on the contractual rent of the tenant, excluding any maintenance fee and charges for the provision of services such as cleaning and security.

  • In such a case, the tenant-occupier should provide its unaudited balance-sheet, profit and loss statement and cash flow statement for the period from the date of commencement of the business (at the prescribed property or any other place) to 31 March 2020 (both dates inclusive), supported by a statutory declaration by the tenant or (if the tenant is an entity) a relevant officer of the tenant.
  • If however, the above is also not available, the tenant should provide a statutory declaration by the tenant or (if the tenant is an entity) a relevant officer of the tenant stating that the revenue of the tenant, calculated using the formula 12xA is not more than $100 million, where A is the average monthly revenue from the business for the period from the date of commencement of the tenant’s business to 31 March 2020 (both dates inclusive).
  • A statutory declaration made in Singapore must be in the form set out in the First Schedule of the Oaths and Declarations Act (Cap. 211) and be made before a Commissioner for Oaths.

The Act provides for a moratorium on enforcement actions against eligible tenant-occupiers for non-payment of rent. Among other things, landlords are prohibited from taking the following actions on the tenant-occupier or the tenant-occupier’s guarantor/surety in relation to the non-payment of rent:

a) Terminating the lease or licence agreement;

b) Exercising the landlord’s right of re-entry or forfeiture under the lease or licence agreement; and

c) Starting or continuing court or insolvency proceedings.

This moratorium does not apply to tenants that are not tenant-occupiers, i.e. they are not operating on the property. It also does not apply to tenant-occupiers that do not meet the criteria for the rental relief, i.e. they are not a SME as defined. The moratorium also does not suspend interest due under lease agreements or license agreement. The moratorium ends when IRAS issues the notice of cash grant to the property owner, or on 31 December 2020 if no such notice is received before then.

If a landlord and tenant-occupier are unable to reach a compromise, the property owner and/or any intermediary landlord(s) may make an application using the prescribed form here within 10 working days after receiving (a copy of) the notice of cash grant, to have a rental relief assessor ascertain whether the tenant-occupier is eligible for Rental Relief and/or Additional Rental Relief. Please refer to the section Application for Assessment for details.

Under the Act, the rent that is payable by eligible tenants to their landlord for the relevant period of rental waiver is statutorily waived once qualifying property owners with eligible tenant-occupiers receive the notice of the cash grant issued by IRAS. This means that as an eligible tenant-occupier you do not need to pay rent for those months.

 

In the case where tenants have already paid rent for those months for which rent is waived, tenants can apply the rental waivers towards the next most immediate months of rent. If there is insufficient time left in the lease, tenants can obtain a refund from the landlord.

 

In cases where landlords had earlier provided assistance to their tenants or reached an agreement to provide assistance to their tenants, in the form of monetary payments or reduction of payments due under the lease agreement, or landlords have passed on the benefit of any Property Tax Rebate for Year 2020 in respect of the property, these can be offset from the landlords’ rental waiver obligations.

The Property Tax Rebate for Year 2020 for non-residential properties and the Government cash grant are based on the Annual Value of the property. This may not be equivalent to the rental waiver to be provided by landlords, which is based on the contractual rent. Tenants will still have to pay for maintenance fee and charges for the provision of services such as cleaning and security. Nevertheless, the landlord is obliged to provide the rental waiver based on the contractual rental as defined, not based on grant by the Government. The Property Tax Rebate and Government cash grant are not intended to cover the full amount of rental waivers exactly.

The Government recognises that there are landlords who may face genuine financial hardship.Landlords who meet all the following criteria may apply to a rental relief assessor to reduce the amount of Additional Rental Relief they have to provide:

a) The applicant landlord must be an individual or a sole proprietor and is the owner of the prescribed property;

b) The aggregate of the annual value of all investment properties (including the prescribed property) owned (whether solely or jointly with another person and whether directly or through one or more investment holding companies) is not more than S$60,000 as at 13 April 2020; and

c) The rental income derived from the property in question in Year of Assessment 2019 constituted 75% or more of the landlord’s gross income.

If the landlord meets the grounds of financial hardship above, the rental relief assessor may halve the amount of Additional Rental Relief to be borne by the landlord, i.e. one month’s rental waiver for qualifying commercial properties, or half a month’s rental waiver for other non-residential properties (e.g. industrial and office properties). The remaining rent payable will be borne by the tenant.

Property Tax Rebate

*Property Tax Rebate is different from Rental Relief

Property TypeComponentTax Rebate
HotelHotel Rooms100%
Function Rooms100%
Shops, restaurants, gym, tenements such as space for vending machine, base station and tour desk100%
Offices that are not used in connection with the operation of the hotel such as serviced offices30%
Retail MallShops and restaurants100%
Offices30%
Office BuildingOffices30%
Shops and restaurants100%
In-house gym that are used exclusively by the occupants of the office building
30%

Owners of qualifying properties are required to unconditionally and fully pass on to their tenant(s) the rebate for the property tax account that is attributable to the rented property based on the period it was rented out, by either reducing or offsetting current or future rentals or  through a payment to their tenant(s), within the prescribed timeframe.

Failure to properly pass on the rebate, or to keep the records (e.g. information on the amount, manner and time of pass on) until 31 Dec 2023, without reasonable excuse, is an offence. Those guilty of such an offence shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000.

The property owners are to continue to pass on the rebate to their tenants despite any outstanding objections lodged for the year 2020.