Singapore: Singapore's 2019 Budget – Key Changes For Companies

Last Updated: 13 March 2019
Article by Hui Yin Yeo

As well as detailing individual and business tax changes for the year ahead, there is a significant focus in the 2019 budget on providing support and incentives for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Singapore is celebrating its Bicentennial (200 years since Sir Stamford Raffles first landed on its shores) and the country's 2019 fiscal budget for the 12 months from 1 April 2019 is focused on building a 'Strong, United Singapore'. As well as announcing individual and business tax changes for the year ahead, there is a significant focus on providing support and incentives for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to foster innovation and promote the scaling up of businesses.

Key tax changes for individuals

To celebrate the bicentennial, all individual resident taxpayers will receive a tax rebate of 50% of tax payable, capped at S$200. This will be based on income earned in 2018 (Year of Assessment (YA) 2019).

The Not Ordinarily Resident (NOR) incentive scheme, introduced in 2002 to attract global talent, will lapse after 31 December 2019. Individuals who have been accorded the NOR status will continue to be granted the NOR tax concession until their NOR status expires. This removes tax exemptions for days working outside of Singapore and for contributions to non-mandatory overseas pension schemes.

Key tax changes for businesses

Singapore-listed Real Estate Investment Trusts (S-REITS) currently benefit from tax concessions, provided they distribute at least 90% of their taxable income within the year in which the income is derived by the trustee. These concessions were due to end after 31 March 2020 but have now been extended until 31 December 2025. At the same time, Goods and Services Tax (GST) remission for S-REITS and Registered Business Trusts involved in infrastructure, ship and aircraft leasing businesses will be extended until 31 December 2025.

The current tax incentive schemes under Sections 13CA, 13R and 13X and the recovery of GST for qualifying funds by way of remission, for funds managed by Singapore-based fund managers, are extended to 31 December 2024. The Monetary Authority of Singapore is working on the full details of these business incentives, due for publication in May 2019.

Enterprise Financing Scheme

A major objective of this budget is to build 'deep enterprise capabilities' and to ensure that financial support goes into SMEs to enable them to continue to innovate, grow and expand internationally.

With different financing schemes available under the various government agencies, the government will streamline the existing funding schemes offered by Enterprise Singapore into a single scheme, to be known as the Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS), which will be formally launched in October 2019. This will cover trade, working capital, fixed assets, venture debt, mergers and acquisitions and project financing.

The EFS will also provide stronger support for companies incorporated for less than five years, with the government taking on up to 70% of the bank loan risk, compared to the current 50% under most of the existing loan schemes. There is also good news for SMEs, with the Working Capital Loan scheme being extended until 31 March 2021. This will help address Singapore SMEs' near-term cash flow concerns and growth financing needs through unsecured working capital loans, while encouraging business growth and restructuring activities.

Automation Support Package (ASP)

The ASP was first introduced in the 2016 Budget for a period of three years, expiring 31 March 2019, to support companies using automation to drive productivity efficiency and stimulate growth.

In order to maintain support, the 100% investment allowance measure under the ASP will be extended by two years – for projects approved by Enterprise Singapore – to 31 March 2021. The approved capital expenditure will remain capped at S$10 million per project.

Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) and Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)

The government has set new targets to reduce the Dependency Ration Ceiling (DRC) for the services sector from 40% to 38% from 1 January 2020 and to 35% from 1 January 2021. Meanwhile the S-Pass sub-DRC will be reduced from 15% to 13% from 1 January 2020 and to 10% from 1 January 2021.

The government has recognised that this could be costly for some firms and so they are extending the scheme that provides for 70% funding support for the EDG for a further period of three years, up to 31 March 2023.

The PSG aims to support enterprises to adopt off-the-shelf productivity solutions and technologies. To support firms in making the transition, the PSG support level of up to 70% will be extended to 31 March 2023. Eligible enterprises will be able to receive a subsidy for up to 70% of their out-of-pocket training expenses capped at S$10,000 per enterprise.

This will enable firms to skill-up local staff as foreign worker numbers are reduced.

Special Employment Credit and Additional Special Employment Credit

The government also recognises the importance of older workers continuing in employment for longer, especially with the additional aim of reducing dependence upon foreign workers. This not only helps to address the planned demographic changes to the workforce but also the need for older people to be able to fund a longer period of retirement as life expectancy continues to rise.

It first made a move to encourage firms to employ older workers with the introduction of the Special Employment Credit (SEC) scheme in 2011, and the later Additional Special Employment Credit (ASEC) scheme. The government is keen to seek better forms of support to continue to help workers to remain productive, earn more, and save more for retirement. It has commissioned a review of the SEC and ASEC schemes to see if they can be improved upon in the future. While this review is being performed, the government has extended the SEC and ASEC schemes until 31 March 2020 and added S$366 million to the SEC fund to support this.

Talk to us

With the details of many of the changes still to be published, it can be challenging for businesses to fully appreciate the effect the 2019 Budget will have on their companies, and how they will need to react to implement changes and take advantage of new and extended incentive schemes.

TMF Singapore can help you to comply and take advantage where the changes can provide additional support to your company's growth and innovation.

Need more information? Contact us today.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Events from this Firm
3 Oct 2019, Webinar, Rotterdam, Netherlands

To view this Webinar in full click here

24 Oct 2019, Business Breakfast, London, UK

Join TMF Group and ACCA for breakfast and a briefing session dedicated to the latest VAT changes and how they affect the UK.

21 Nov 2019, Conference, Shanghai, China

Retail remains a significant growth opportunity even as GDP slows, but the challenge of recruiting and retaining quality staff must never be underestimated and managing these issues successfully can define the winners and losers. TMF Group’s 2019 Annual Retail Summit in Shanghai brings together industry professionals to share opinions on the key differentiators that can lead to achieving growth targets and maintaining momentum for your retail business in China.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions