Singapore Budget 2020: Tax benefits extended, enhanced to ensure firms' resilience

Several tax benefits have been extended and enhanced.
Several tax benefits have been extended and enhanced.PHOTO: ST FILE

Several tax benefits have been extended and enhanced to ensure corporate resilience and competitiveness.

The Double Tax Deduction for Internationalisation scheme, set to lapse after March 31, was extended until Dec 31, 2025.

This scheme allows businesses a tax deduction of 200 per cent on qualifying market expansion and investment development expenses, subject to approval from Enterprise Singapore or the Singapore Tourism Board. Its scope will also be enhanced to cover third-party consultancy costs and new categories of expenses incurred for overseas business missions.

The Mergers and Acquisitions scheme, due to lapse after March 31, was extended to cover qualifying acquisitions made before the end of 2025. However, the stamp duty relief it offers will lapse for transactions executed on or after April 1. Also, no waiver will be granted for holding an acquisition by an ultimate holding company that is incorporated in and is a tax resident of Singapore.

The Insurance Business Development (IBD) umbrella scheme and the IBD-Captive Insurance scheme, both set to expire in March, will be extended to 2025.

The IBD scheme grants approved insurers a concessionary tax rate of 10 per cent for 10 years on qualifying income derived from undertaking onshore and offshore life reinsurance. The scheme also covers onshore and offshore general insurance and reinsurance, excluding fire, motor, work injury compensation, personal accident and health insurance.

The Maritime Sector Incentive that granted certain tax benefits to ship operators, maritime lessors and providers of certain related support services will be extended to December 2026. The scope of the withholding tax exemption for interest on margin deposits will be enhanced to boost Singapore's derivative market.

The exemption will now be extended to members of approved clearing houses, while products will include all derivatives traded or cleared on approved exchanges and clearing houses.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 19, 2020, with the headline 'Tax benefits extended, enhanced to ensure firms' resilience'. Subscribe