Start-up incentives introduced in Singapore

During his keynote address to Singapore’s Fourth Start-up Enterprise Conference, the Permanent Secretary for Finance, Peter Ong, illustrated how the competitive tax regime in Singapore encourages the growth of new start-up companies.

“Singapore offers a very competitive tax regime designed to encourage new start-up companies,” he said. “Under the full tax exemption scheme, a newly incorporated company that meets the qualifying conditions effectively pays only 5.6% on the first SGD 300,000 (USD 213,000) of the income they earn in their first three years.” “After this period,” he continued, “start-ups can continue to pay less than 9% tax on the same amount, thereby allowing new entrepreneurs to retain a larger portion of their earnings to be ploughed back to grow their businesses.”

He pointed out that, this year, the government has also unveiled an unprecedented tax benefit in the form of the Productivity and Innovation Credit, to encourage start-ups and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to invest in productivity and innovation. As an illustration, for the first SGD 300,000 that a start-up invests in staff training, it can deduct SGD 750,000 from its taxable income.

The same start-up will enjoy another SGD 750,000 deduction should it invest in automation. “The Productivity and Innovation Credit also allows businesses to convert the enhanced tax deduction into a cash payout,” he added, “a move that would come in handy in helping start-ups and SMEs ease their cash flow.”

Ong then illustrated the programme which supplies young start-ups with grants of up to SGD 50,000 to start their innovative business, while the Start-Up Enterprise Scheme provides a co-financing option of up to SGD 1m in funding start-ups with innovative and viable content.