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Announced by our Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Hsien Loong on 03 April 2020 (Friday), as part of the Government’s stricter measures to “minimise physical contact” and keep the Covid-19 pandemic in check, our Singapore Office will be shut down temporarily from 07/04/2020 (Tuesday) to 04/05/2020 (Monday). 

We will try our best to have all correspondence via email & WhatsApp during this period and we sincerely apologies for any delay in replying.

Sorry for any inconvenience caused and thanks for your understanding.

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1 Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat delivered the Singapore Government’s Budget Statement for Financial Year 2020 in Parliament on Tue, 18 February 2020.

2 Budget 2020 is presented against a backdrop of the on-going COVID-19 outbreak, as well as broader uncertainties in the landscape.

3 There are also long-term structural shifts taking place around the world – a decline in support for globalisation, a shift in economic weight towards Asia, technological disruption, and an ageing population in many countries.

Rental Relief Framework for SMEs

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  • The rental relief framework provides mandated co-sharing of rental obligations between the Government, landlords and tenants
  • The new rental relief framework will also be applicable for eligible Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) and tenants of government properties
  • These measures are intended to establish a baseline position for the handling of tenants’ rental obligations:
  • Rental relief provided by Government and Landlords
    • Eligible SMEs which are occupying tenants (including subtenants and licensees) can receive a total of 4 months’ waiver of base rental for qualifying commercial properties (e.g shops), and a total of 2 months’ waiver of base rental for industrial and office properties, provided by the Government and landlords
 

Duration of Rental Relief

Type of Relief

Qualifying Commercial Properties (e.g. Shops)

Industrial/ Office Properties

(A) Rental Relief for eligible SMEs (supported by Government Assistance)

Rental Waiver

2 months (for April – May 2020)

1 month (for April 2020)

(B) Additional Rental Relief for eligible SMEs (borne by landlord)

Rental Waiver

2 months (for June – July 2020)

1 month (for May 2020)

Total

4 months (for April – July 2020)

2 months (for April – May 2020)

      • Government  Assistance
        • Owners of qualifying commercial properties (e.g. shops)
          • Approximately 1.2 months of rent through the property tax rebate
          • Additional cash grants approximately equivalent to 0.8 month of rent
          • Landlords will be required to grant eligible smes 2 months’ waiver of their base rental
        • Owners of industrial/ office properties
          • Approximately 0.36 month through the property tax rebate
          • Approximately 0.64 month of rent
          • Landlords will be required to grant 1 month’s waiver of their base rental
        • Conditions:
          • With not more than $100 million in annual turnover reported in their tax returns filed for year of assessment 2019, and
          • (i) entered into before 25 march 2020 or
          • (ii) entered into before 25 march 2020 but expired and renewed automatically, or in exercise of a right of renewal in the contract
      • Landlord
        • The rental waivers may subject to conditions be offset by any previous direct monetary assistance provided by the landlord to the tenant (or subtenant/licensee) and/or any passing on of the Property Tax Rebate from property owners to their tenants
  • Eligibility Criteria for Additional Rental Relief to be provided by Landlords
    • Occupying tenants (including subtenants and licensees) will need to satisfy all criteria below to be eligible for the mandatory rental relief co-shared by landlords:
      • SME at the group level (≤$100 million turnover in 2019);
      • Substantial drop in average monthly revenue during COVID-19 (average monthly revenue from April to May 2020 on an outlet level reduced by 35% or more, compared to April to May 2019); and
      • The tenancy must be in force on 1 April 2020 and must have been: (i) entered into before 25 March 2020; or (ii) entered into before 25 March 2020 but expired and was renewed automatically, or in exercise of a right of renewal in the contract
  •  Landlord’s application for assessment
    • Landlords will have the opportunity to apply to have an Assessor determine whether the tenant satisfies the eligibility criteria. The case will be examined by an Assessor, who will ascertain the tenant’s (or subtenant’s/licensee’s) eligibility. The legislation will require that tenants provide the necessary information to determine eligibility to the landlord upon request
    • The landlord may also seek an assessment on the grounds of financial hardship if they are unable to provide the additional rental waiver. This will take into consideration the annual value of the landlord’s properties and the proportion of the landlord’s dependence on the rental income for his livelihood
    • If the landlord meets the grounds of financial hardship, the Assessor can halve the amount of additional rental relief that needs to be provided by the landlord, i.e. 1 month waiver of base rental for qualifying commercial properties, and half a month waiver of base rental for industrial and office properties
    • The Assessor’s determination will be binding on both the landlord and the tenant
  •  Repayment scheme for rental arrears
    • If the tenant fails to make a payment under the statutory repayment scheme within a prescribed period of time, or the tenant terminates the lease or licence, or the landlord terminates the lease agreement for any other default by the tenant, the statutory repayment scheme will be cancelled, and the landlord will be entitled to:
      • Immediate payment of all the arrears
      • Take steps under the contract for rentals not paid.
    • Landlords may also draw the existing security deposits to offset accumulated rental arrears during the repayment period. They may do so, until there is the equivalent of one month of rent remaining in the security deposit. At the end of the repayment period, the tenant will be obliged to reinstate the security deposit to the contractual amount
    • Tenants who have rescheduled the payment of arrears will have to provide specified documents and information to their landlords if: (a) the lease agreement is terminated or repudiated during the repayment period; and (b) there are 2 or more rescheduled repayment instalments outstanding
    • The documents and information to be provided will include filing a statutory declaration on their statement of accounts from April 2020 until the termination or repudiation of the lease. The tenant will also be required to set out how he proposes to repay the outstanding rental arrears

Resume Operations

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After around two months of circuit breakers, our Singapore office has also resumed operations since 02/06/2020.

Singapore Fortitude Budget

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Singapore government has announced Fortitude Budget on 26/05/2020.

  1. Enhanced Jobs Support Scheme (JSS)
    • Extension of JSS to cover wages paid in August 2020
    • Update of base tier of support for severely-affected sectors
    • Only employers who are not allowed to resume operations will continue to receive 75% support for wages paid to local employees, during the period for which they are not allowed to resume operations, or until August 2020, whichever is earlier. Pro-ration will be applied if operations resume in the middle of the month
    • The below table will apply once the employer is allowed to resume operations
  2. Supporting Enterprises
    • Helping with Cash Flow, Costs and Credit
      • Foreign worker levy waiver and rebate
        • Extended by up to 2 months for businesses that are not allowed to resume operations after the circuit breaker
          • 100% waiver and $750 rebate in June 2020
          • 50% waiver and $375 rebate in July 2020
      •  Deferment of Higher CPF Contribution Rates
        • Increase in CPF contribution rates for senior workers deferred by 1 year, from 1 January 2021 to 1 January 2022
  3. Rental Relief for Tenants in Government and Private Non-Residential Properties
    • Rental Relief for SME Tenants in Private Non-Residential Properties
      • For SME tenants (i.e. with not more than $100 million in annual turnover*) with qualifying leases or licenses commencing before 25 March 2020
      • *This will be based on Corporate Tax and Individual Income Tax returns for the Year of Assessment 2019
      • No

        Rental relief schemes

        Qualifying criteria

        Amount of relief for qualifying commercial property

        Amount of relief for other nonresidential properties (e.g. industrial and office properties)

        1

        Property Tax Rebate for nonresidential properties, announced earlier in the Unity and Resilience Budgets

        The rebate is given to property owners, who are required to pass it on fully to their tenants*

        100% Property Tax Rebate (equivalent to about 1.2 month’s of rent)

        30% Property Tax Rebate (equivalent to about 0.36 month’s of rent)

        2

        Government cash grant [New]

        SME tenants in private properties**

        Cash grant of ~0.8 month’s of rent, which will be automatically disbursed to property owners from end-July 2020

        Landlords are required to pass on the benefit to their SME tenants

        Cash grant of ~0.64 month’s of rent, which will be automatically disbursed to property owners from end-July 2020

        Landlords are required to pass on the benefit to their SME tenants

      • For property owners whose properties are only partially let out, or whose properties are let out to both SME and non-SME tenants under a single property tax account, they will not automatically receive the government cash grant. In such instances, the property owner should submit an application to IRAS, and provide supporting documents, including proof of SME tenants within its property. IRAS will pro-rate the government cash grant accordingly
    • Mandated rental waiver by landlords
      • The Ministry of Law will also be introducing a new Bill mandating that landlords grant rental waivers to qualifying SME tenants
      • If the new Bill is passed by Parliament, SME tenants of qualifying commercial properties who have suffered a significant revenue drop will benefit from a total of four months of rental relief shared equally between the Government and landlords
    • Rental relief for government tenants
      • Tenant Type

        Previous

        New

        Total

        Stallholders of hawker centres and markets

        3 months

        2 months

        5 months

        Commercial

        2 months

        2 months

        4 months

        Industrial, office and agricultural

        1 month

        1 month

        2 months

  4. Supporting for Digital Transformation
    • Adopting e-payments
      • Bonus of $300 per month over 5 months to encourage adoption of e-payments by stallholders in
        • Hawker centres
        • Wet markets
        • Coffee shops
        • Industrial canteens
    • Digital Resilience Bonus
    •  

      Baseline

      Category 1 ($2,500)

      Category 2 ($2,500)

      Category 3 ($5,000)

      Food Services

      PayNow Corporate and e-invoicing

      Business process solutions:

      (i)Accounting;

      (ii)HR/Payroll

      (iii)Digital ordering (dine in/takeaway)

      Digital presence: online food delivery (via food delivery platforms or own online shopfront) or e-procurement

      Data-driven operations: data mining and analytics

      Retail

      PayNow Corporate and e-invoicing

      (i)Accounting;

      (ii)HR/Payroll;

      (iii)Inventory management

      Digital presence: e-commerce

      Data-driven operations: data mining and analytics

  5. SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package
    • Enhanced Hiring Incentive

Hiring Incentive under SMCSP (February 2020 Unity Budget)

Enhanced Hiring Incentive ( May 2020 Fortitude Budget)

Salary support

•Employers that hire a local worker aged 40 and above who had gone through an eligible reskilling programme can receive salary support of 20% for six months, capped at $6,000 in total

Salary support

•Employers that hire a local worker aged 40 and above who had gone through an eligible reskilling programme or training programme can receive salary support of 40% for six months, capped at $12,000 in total

•Employers that hire a local worker aged below 40 who had gone through an eligible reskilling or training programme can receive salary support of 20% for six months, capped at $6,000 in total

Eligible reskilling programmes

•PCPs

•PnT programmes for rank-and-file workers

•Career transition programmes by CET centres

Eligible reskilling or training programmes

•PCPs

•PnT programmes for rank-and-file workers

•Career transition programmes by CET centres

•SGUnited Traineeships

•SGUnited Mid-Career Traineeships

•SGUnited Skills