Singapore Budget 2019: Key Highlights

20 February 2019
On 18 February 2019, Singapore Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat delivered the Budget Statement for 2019 laying out the Government’s strategic plan to allocate resources to build a strong, united Singapore.

Several tax changes relating to individuals and enterprises were announced:- 

For Individuals

  • Personal Income Tax Rebate of 50% on tax payable, capped at $200, will be available for Year of Assessment (“YA”) 2019.
  • Not Ordinarily Resident (NOR) scheme will lapse after YA 2020. 
  • GST import reliefs will be tightened. Travellers who spend less than 48 hours outside Singapore can enjoy GST relief on goods bought overseas with value up to $100. Travellers who spend 48 hours or more outside Singapore will be entitled to a relief quantum of $500.

For Enterprises

The following tax concessions available to all enterprises are being extended:-

  • Writing Down Allowance under section 19B of the Singapore Income Tax Act will be extended for 5 more years.
  • 100% Investment allowance under the Automation Support Package is extended for 2 more years. 
  • Tax Incentive Schemes for Funds Managed by Singapore-based Fund Managers (Qualifying Funds) is extended to 31 December 2024. 
  • Concession for recovery of GST for Qualifying Funds is extended to 31 December 2024.

New and enhanced initiatives are available to support enterprises’ expansion needs:-

  • Scale-up SG programme will be launched in partnership with the private and public sectors to identify and build new capabilities. 
  • Innovation Agents programme will be launched for firms to tap on a pool of experts to advise them on opportunities to innovate and commercialise technology.
  • The enhanced 70% funding support level for the Enterprise Development Grant will be extended for 3 more years.   
  • The enhanced 70% funding support level for the Productivity Solutions Grant will be extended for 3 more years and will  cover the out-of-pocket cost for training. 

The Government also reaffirmed the implementation of following GST changes:- 

  • GST will be raised by two percentage points sometime in the period from 2021 to 2025.  Enterprises may wish to consider the option of voluntary GST registration to recover the input GST incurred where relevant conditions are fulfilled.
  • Reverse Charge Regime and Overseas Vendor Registration Regime will be implemented from 1 January 2020. The Reverse Charge Regime requires GST-registered partially exempt businesses that are not entitled to full input tax credit to account for GST on services that are procured from overseas suppliers.  The Overseas vendor registration Regime requires the overseas suppliers to register for GST in Singapore if their annual global turnover exceeds S$1 million and make B2C supplies of digital services with value more than S$100,000 to customers in Singapore.  Once registered, the businesses are required to charge and account for GST on B2C supplies of digital services made to customers in Singapore. 

To find out about how these key tax changes may affect your business and how Vistra can help, please contact your account manager or [email protected].
For the full Singapore Budget 2019 speech, please click here.