Singapore Budget 2020: Tax measures to ensure resilience, competitiveness

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

SINGAPORE - 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 this year (2020), 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 & Acquisitions (M&A) scheme due lapse on March 31 was extended to cover qualifying acquisitions made on or before the end of 2025.

However, the stamp duty relief it offers will lapse for transactions executed on or after April 1 this year.

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

The Insurance Business Development 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 shipping 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 covers members of approved exchanges and products, including spot foreign exchange other than Singapore dollar, financial and gold futures.

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

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