This guide provides information on how the Singapore government is providing support to businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please note, the following information is meant to serve as a guide. Please check with official government sources (listed below) to obtain the most up to date and accurate information on Singaporean government support programs.
Businesses in Singapore and around the world are experiencing hardships as a result of COVID-19. The global pandemic has disrupted supply chains, restricted cash flow, and forced many companies to switch to remote-based work.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Singaporean government has announced three rounds of budget measures, under its 2020 Budget, Resilience Budget, and Solidarity Budget. These budgets include support measures for corporations, small and medium-sized businesses, self-employed individuals, and employees. The budget packages aim to offer a broad safety net to citizens and residents, to create economic stability in these unsettling times.
The government has introduced several programs and policies to reduce the financial burden of COVID-19 for businesses operating in Singapore. Many existing grant programs have been updated to increase the amount of funding offered by the government. Businesses will also benefit from assistance in the form of tax deferrals and lower interest rates on qualifying loans.
We expect additional support to be rolled out by the government, and will continue to update this guide as new measures are introduced.
The Stabilisation and Support Package - Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) is administered by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) to help businesses retain employees (Singaporean citizens and permanent residents) during ongoing economic uncertainty. Eligible businesses will receive co-funding from the government for the first $4,600 SGD of each employee’s gross monthly wages over a nine-month period. This funding includes coverage for the employee’s CPF contribution, but the funding does not cover the employer’s contribution.
Co-funding for the JSS is broken down into three levels.
Tier 1 provides businesses in aviation and tourism with 75% of the first $4,600 SGD of each employee’s gross monthly wages
Tier 2 provides licensed businesses in food services, including hawker stalls, with 50% of the first $4,600 SGD of each employee’s gross monthly wages
Tier 3 provides all other business sectors with 25% of the first $4,600 SGD of each employee’s gross monthly wages
All employers who’ve made CPF contributions for their citizen and permanent resident employees qualify for the JSS payout, with the exception of a handful of industries on the Employer Exclusion List. Eligible employers include:
Partners of a partnership
Employees acting as both directors and shareholders of a company, as designed in Section 4(1) of the Companies Act
Employees acting as both directors and members of a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG)
Employers acting in their own personal capacity, such as hawkers, employers hiring domestic helpers, and employers hiring drivers
Visit the JSS webpage to learn more.
How to apply
No application is necessary. The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) will contact eligible employers to get started. If you believe your business was classified in an incorrect tier, complete the JSS Appeals form.
The Enterprise Financing Scheme – SME Working Capital Loan and Trade Loan (EFS-WCL) helps small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across all industries with their operational cash flow needs. Business entities can borrow up to a maximum of $1 million SGD from Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs). Borrowers will be required to repay 100% of the loan over a five-year period, with interest rates based on the PFIs’ assessment of risks involved. The EFS-WCL scheme also increased the government’s risk-share to 90% (from 50% and 70% for new companies) and SMEs may apply to defer their principal repayment up to one year.
To qualify for the EFS-WCL, your business must:
Be an ACRA-registered entity (Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Liability Partnership, or Company)
Be physically located in Singapore
Have a minimum of 30% business equity held by Singaporean citizens or permanent residents
Borrower and shareholders holding more than 50% of total shareholding of company must have a revenue cap of $500 million SGD across enterprises
The loan is limited to SMEs, which are defined as having a group revenue of no more than $100 million SGD and have no more than 200 employees.
How to apply
Apply for the loan at one of the PFIs
If your approval is granted, complete the Enterprise Finance Scheme application form
Refer to the application form guide for help with completing your application.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is helping Singaporean businesses go digital with the SMEs Go Digital Expansion program. In an effort to help SMEs adapt to disruptive changes while following social distancing measures, Enterprise Singapore and the IMDA are providing as much as 80% funding support to SMEs through the Go Digital Expansion grant. This program helps companies with adopting and upgrading advanced digital solutions like:
Online collaborative software
Tools for conference calls and virtual meetings
Smart security and facility management tools for offices
Queue management systems
Integrated systems for electronic transactions, such as e-invoicing, e-payments, and inventory management solutions
Businesses that have been the most severely impacted by COVID-19 could receive as much as 90% funding support, which is the maximum support level. Enterprises that qualify for maximum support are chosen on a case-by-case basis.
Companies that qualify for the Go Digital Expansion grant must be registered and operating in Singapore. Singaporean citizens or permanent residents must have a minimum of 30% of shares in the company, and the business must be deemed financially viable to start and finish the project.
How to apply
Apply between 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2020 through the Business Grants Portal. Further information about the Go Digital Expansion grant can be found here, and questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Digital Acceleration Grant from the MAS Financial Sector Technology and Innovation (FSTI) Digital Acceleration Grant (DAG) supports small Singapore-based financial institutions and FinTech firms looking to adopt digital solutions to improve productivity, strengthen operational resilience, and better manage risk. They’re offering 80% co-funding of qualifying expenses incurred beginning on February 1, 2020. The funding duration is one year for institution projects and is capped at $120,000 per entity, while industry pilots are capped at two years of funding post-implementation for qualifying projects with a limit of $100,000 per entity.
Companies that qualify for this co-funding are Singapore-based financial institutions and fintech firms (certified by the Singapore FinTech Association) with fewer than 200 employees. Qualifying projects must:
be deployed and used for at least six months in Singapore
contribute to improvements in productivity, efficiency, risk management, operational resilience, or customer service
belong to any of the qualifying categories (see below)
not be built from scratch nor require investment in heavy infrastructure (e.g. servers)
The categories of qualifying solutions include: cloud services, communication and/or collaboration tools, compliance and transaction monitoring tools, customer relationship/engagement tools, enterprise services (like HR and accounting systems), marketing productivity resources, project management and software testing tools, security-related software, and tools that support remote work.
How to apply
Institution projects that support smaller financial institutions and FinTech firms should apply by December 31 of 2021 by submitting an application form to email@example.com. Industry pilot programs should submit an application to firstname.lastname@example.org at least two months before a project starts.
The Enhancements to Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) is part of the Boosting Enterprise Transformation scheme. The grant offers funding to enterprises working on the following three areas:
Innovation and Productivity
The government announced that funding will be increased from 70% to 80% support between 1 April 2020 to 31 December. Businesses that have been severely impacted by COVID-19 could be eligible to receive a maximum of 90% support. Unionized businesses and Employment and Employability Institute partners under the Labour Movement could also qualify for an additional 10% in funding.
The maximum support for all eligible businesses is capped at 90%.
Companies that qualify for the EDG must be registered and operating in Singapore. Singaporean citizens or permanent residents must have a minimum of 30% of shares in the company, and the business must be deemed financially viable to start and finish the project.
Companies eligible for 90% funding are chosen on a case-by-case basis.
How to apply
The Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) helps businesses receive funding to help with technology adoption in the form of off-the-shelf productivity solutions. The grant is capped at $350,000 SGD per business and the government recently increased the funding level from 70% to 80% between 1 April 2020 and 31 December 2020.
Qualifying businesses must be registered in Singapore
Must be an NEA-licensed company in waste management, pest management, or cleaning
Must have existing contracts in Singapore
Businesses must not be registered as a charity, religious entity, Voluntary Welfare Organization (WVO), or government agency
How to apply
Receive quote for IT solutions or equipment from a pre-approved vendor, then apply through the Business Grants Portal.
Questions about pre-approved vendors and anything else related to the PSG should be emailed to email@example.com.
Businesses that register on the nationwide e-invoicing network before 1 January 2021 can receive a one-time payment of $200 SGD to offset the incremental costs of adopting e-invoicing.
Businesses eligible for the one-time grant must:
Have been registered in the country before 26 March 2020
Be registered with an IMDA approved Peppol service provided before 1 January 2021
Must not be an excluded entity, including (but not limited to) foreign military, government organizations and government-assisted schools, consulates, and international organizations that are registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
How to apply
There’s no application necessary. Businesses will receive the one-time grant once they’ve registered to the e-invoicing network.
Learn more by visiting the E-Invoicing Registration Grant webpage.
The Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) provides eligible self-employed persons (SEPs) with three cash payouts of $3000 SGD in May, July, and October 2020.
Eligible SEPs must:
Be self-employed since 25 March 2020 or earlier
Earn a net trade income of $100,000 SGD or less
Live on a property with an annual value no greater than $13,000 SGD
Eligible SEPs cannot earn additional income as an employee and they cannot own two or more properties.
Married SEPs cannot own two or more combined properties, and the spouse of the SEP cannot earn more than $70,000 SGD.
How to apply
SEPs aged 37 and older who declared positive self-employed income will be contacted via SMS or letter regarding their eligibility and payout. The application process for all other SEPs will be released at a later date on the Ministry of Manpower website.
All businesses that are expected to pay CIT in April, May, and June 2020 are granted a three-month deferment on payments. Companies with existing payment plans can review their updated installment plans by visiting the myTax Portal at the beginning of May 2020.
A Corporate Tax Payment Deferment Calculator is available to companies that were scheduled to make a one-time CIT payment in the months of April, May, and June.
More information can be found by visiting the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) webpage on Paying Corporate Income Taxes.
All companies that pay CIT are eligible.
How to apply
Eligible companies should receive a letter by IRAS by 15 April.
All self-employed individuals will receive a three-month deferment on income tax payments for May, June, and July 2020. Individuals with payment plans will not have taxes deducted over these three months, and one-time payments are also granted a three-month deferment.
Learn more by visiting the IRAS website.
All self-employed individuals qualify for tax deferment.
How to apply
No application is required.
Qualifying non-residential properties will be granted a property tax rebate between 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020. Commercial properties that have been badly affected by COVID-19, like restaurants, shops, tourist attractions, and hotels, can receive a 100% tax rebate.
Other non-residential properties will receive a 30% rebate on their property taxes.
Learn more by visiting the Property Tax Reliefs page on the IRAS website.
Eligible properties must not be:
Used (or intended to be used) for any residential purposes
How to apply
No application is necessary. The IRAS will contact owners of qualifying properties by 31 May, and owners should expect to receive their refunds by 30 June.
Financial institutions in Singapore have committed to working with the government to help relieve the strain caused by COVID-19. One way is by letting SMEs defer the principal payments on their secured loans up to 31 December 2020. Businesses that opt to defer will continue to pay interests during the period where payments are deferred.
Businesses must be in good standing with their lenders, meaning their payments must be no more than 90 days past due from 6 April 2020.
How to apply
Contact the bank or finance company that issued your secured SME loan.
Private insurers are working with the government to help companies protect their business by offering installment payment plans for general insurance. Companies can apply to pay their insurance premiums in installments instead of lump-sum payments.
Must be a corporation or SME with business-related general insurance policies.
How to apply
Apply for assistance with insurance premium payments by speaking directly with your insurer.
There are a number of resources to help your business adapt to the challenges of COVID-19, including:
Enterprise Singapore for official announcements regarding companies operating in Singapore
COVID-19 Updates for Businesses by the Ministry and Trade and Industry Singapore for up-to-date information on how the virus is impacting the country’s business sector
How to quickly digitize your business by Forbes
Learn how to build and manage a successful business by joining StartupNation
We’ve seen optimistic results from businesses that have quickly added e-commerce capabilities. Learn how to accept your first online payment with Stripe and how to send one-time or recurring invoices.
You can also visit Stripe’s COVID-19 resources page for products, programs, and resources we are building to help your business adapt.