Budget 2016 : What Lies Ahead for SMEs

StaffOnDemand Blog

Missed the Budget speech for 2016? This year, the budget announcements had its central focus on supporting Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and here are some of the highlights that are notable:

1 - Higher Corporate Tax Income Rebate

Corporate income tax rebate will be raised from 30 per cent to 50 per cent of tax payable, capped at $20,000 each year for Year of Assessment 2016 and 2017.

2 - Special Employment Scheme

The Special Employment Credit (SEC), which was due to expire this year, will be modified and extended to the end of 2019, with a top-up of $1.1 billion. This will provide employers with a wage offset for workers aged 55 and above who earn up to $4,000 a month.

Employers with Singaporean workers aged 65 and above will continue to receive a wage offset of up to 8 per cent. This is in addition to the wage offset of 3 per cent for the re-employment of workers aged 65 and above till the re-employment age is raised next year.

The SEC will be up to 5 per cent for workers aged 60 to 64 and up to 3 per cent for those aged 55 to 59.

3 - New Business Grants Portal

A new Business Grants Portal will help companies access to the many grants available from different agencies by putting them all under one roof but organised under different needs like capability building, training and international expansion.

4 - Enhancements of Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) and Workfare Training Support (WTS) schemes

The qualifying income ceiling for the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS), a scheme that tops up the wages of low-income workers, will be raised from $1,900 a month to $2,000 and the qualifying criteria will also be simplified, where the WIS is paid for every month worked.

The WTS scheme, started in 2010 to aid low-wage Singaporeans aged above 35 upgrade their skills through training, will now be open to people with disabilities earning low wages who are aged 13 and above.

5 - PIC scheme payouts lowered to 40% from Aug 1, to expire after 2018

The PIC scheme offers companies a cash payout or tax breaks when they invest in equipment or activities that will raise productivity. The Government will lower cash payouts under the blanket Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme from the current 60 per cent to 40 per cent for expenditures incurred on or after August 1 2016. The 400 per cent tax deduction will remain unchanged.