The Singapore Budget 2020 was delivered by Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Heng Swee Keat, on 18 February 2020 against the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 virus outbreak, as well as broader uncertainties in the landscape. In this regard, Budget 2020 aims to tackle immediate challenges arising from the COVID-19 virus outbreak, as well as outline a strategic financial plan to prepare Singapore to seize new opportunities amidst short-term uncertainties and longer-term structural changes.
A key part of Budget 2020 was therefore the Stabilisation and Support Package intended to help Singapore enterprises weather near-term economic uncertainties. Budget 2020 also seeks to further refine the Singapore corporate tax system, with changes and enhancements targeted, in particular, at our tax incentives, tax deductions and capital allowances schemes. It is noteworthy that many existing Singapore tax incentives were extended and/or enhanced. This could be seen as the Singapore government’s signal that tax incentives, backed by substantive economic commitments from companies, continue to play an important role in Singapore’s economy and tax system amidst global developments.
Apart from the corporate tax changes, we also observed that a couple of existing stamp duty relief or remission schemes will be allowed to lapse. Following the announcement in Budget 2018 that the Singapore GST rate will be increased to 9% some time from 2021 to 2025, it was also announced that the GST rate increase will not take effect in 2021 (but will still take place before 2025).