Singapore Budget 2015 in Brief

Disclaimer: The following is a machine-readable version of the Singapore Budget 2015. There is a pdf version available for download in http://www.singaporebudget.gov.sg but it cannot be read by some screen reader softwares. So I have copied the entire Budget, word for word, in this blog to make it accessible to persons unable to access the pdf version. The original pdf version of the Budget can be found here: http://www.singaporebudget.gov.sg/data/budget_2015/download/FY2015_Budget_in_Brief.pdf.

BUDGET 2015:

Building Our Future, Strengthening Social Security

Our next frontier is an economy with firms driven by innovation, and higher incomes based on deep skills and expertise in every job. We must also ensure a society that is fair and just, where everyone can do well regardless of where they start. This will be built on a culture of personal effort and responsibility complemented by a strong sense of collective responsibility, especially for our elderly.

Developing Our People

Starting in Schools

  • Provide professional education and career counselling to help students make informed choices
  • Improve internships in our Institutes of Higher Learning
  • More opportunities for international exposure

Learning at Every Age

SkillsFuture Credit

  • Initial credit of $500 to Singaporeans 25 & above for work skills-related courses
  • Individual Learning Portfolio: online resource for one-stop education, training and career guidance

SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme

  • Match Polytechnic and ITE graduates with employers for structured on-the-job training and mentorship leading to industry qualifications
  • Substantial funding support for both trainees and employers

Support in Mid Career

  • For Singaporeans 40 & above: Increase education and training subsidy to more than 90% for MOE and WDA courses
  • Flexible learning through subsidised modular courses

Deepening Skills, Gaining Mastery

  • SkillsFuture Study Awards to develop specialist skills in future growth clusters
  • SkillsFuture Fellowships to achieve mastery in diverse fields
  • SkillsFuture Leadership Development Initiative for companies to develop Singaporean corporate leaders

Stronger Industry Collaboration

  • Involve all stakeholders such as Training Institutes, Unions, Trade Associations and employers
  • Jointly develop Sectoral Manpower Plans to map skills for the future
  • Boost SMEs’ training capabilities through a pool of SkillsFuture Mentors

Pressing on with Restructuring

Transition Support Package (TSP): To give businesses more time to adjust to rising costs as they restructure; TSP will be phased out gradually.

Wage Credit Scheme

  • Extend for 2 years: 2016 & 2017
  • Co-fund 20% of wage increases of Singapore employees earning $4,000 and below

Corporate Income Tax Rebate

  • Extend for 2 years: YA 2016 & 2017
  • 30% rebate capped at $20,000 per YA

PIC Bonus

  • Expire in YA 2015 (but PIC and PIC+ will continue till YA 2018)

Enhance and Extend Temporary Employment Credit (TEC)

The TEC offsets employers’ CPF contributions and is computed as a % of wages.

  • Support for labour costs in Year 2015 is +0.5%.
  • Additional Support for CPF changes in 2016 and 2017 is 1% and 0.5% respectively.

Managing Foreign Workforce Growth: Slower pace of foreign worker tightening

S-Pass Holders

  • All sectors
    • Defer this year’s announced levy increases to 2016

Work Permit Holders

  • Manufacturing sector
    • Freeze levies at 2014 levels for 2015 and 2016
  • Services, Marine and Process sectors
    • Defer this year’s announced levy increases to 2016
  • Construction sector
    • Reduce levy for higher skilled R1 workers (Man-Year Entitlement Waiver Tier) in 2015 and 2016
    • Raise levy for basic skilled R2 workers (Basic Tier) from 2015 to 2017
    • Maintain other levy rates at 2014 levels

Investing in Innovation & Internationalisation

Strengthening Support for Innovation

  • Simpler application process for Capability Development Grant for projects below $30,000 and extend enhanced support of 70% for all projects for 3 years
  • Promote more industry collaborations and partnerships between large companies and SMEs.

Getting more out of R&D

  • Top-up the National Research Fund by $1billion, with greater efforts to help companies develop and commercialise new products

Boost Funding for Growth

  • Help promising startups and companies get funding via:
    • More resources for Business Angels Scheme (BAS) and higher co-investment cap for BAS and Startup Enterprise Development Scheme
    • Pilot Venture Debt Risk-Sharing Programme where Government shares risk with financial institutions for loans to high growth companies with minimal collateral

Going Beyond Our Shores

  • Higher support of 70% for SMEs for all activities under IE Singapore’s grant schemes for 3 years
  • Extend Double Tax Deduction for Internationalisation Scheme to cover salaries incurred for Singaporeans posted to new overseas entities
  • International Growth Scheme: 10% concessionary tax rate for income from internationalisation activities

Encouraging Scale

  • Extend and enhance the Mergers & Acquisitions Scheme
  • Support overseas M&A under the Internationalisation Finance Scheme

Assurance in Retirement

Enhancing CPF Savings

Help Singaporeans Save More while Working

  • Increase CPF Salary Ceiling to $6,000 from 2016
  • Increase Supplementary Retirement Scheme contribution cap

Raise CPF Contribution Rates for Older Workers

  • Age 50-55: +1% CPF Contribution Rate by Employer, +1% CPF Contribution Rate by Employee.
  • Age 55-60: +1% CPF Contribution Rate by Employer
  • Age 60-65: +0.5% CPF Contribution Rate by Employer

Extra CPF Interest

  • For all CPF members 55 & above
  • On top of existing 1% extra interest on 1st $60,000 of balances
  • Additional 1% interest on 1st $30,000 of CPF balances
  • Members earn up to 6% interest in total
  • Up to 20% increase in CPF LIFE payouts every month for CPF members with lower balances

Supporting Re-Employment Beyond 65

Higher Special Employment Credit (SEC)

  • For all workers 65 & above
  • Employers will get more help with CPF contributions
  • From up to 8.5% to up to 11.5% of wages in 2015

Silver Support Scheme

  • Income supplement for Singaporeans 65 & above
  • For bottom 20% to 30%, depending on lifetime wages, household support & flat type
  • Cash supplement of $300 to $750 every 3 months
  • Automatic eligibility assessment – no need to apply
  • Implemented around 1Q2016
  • Transitional support through GST Voucher – Seniors’ Bonus (see page 5)

Support Families, Strengthen Community

More Help for Education

Affordable and Quality Child Care

  • New Partner Operator scheme will improve teacher quality and reduce fees at participating centres

Account Top-Ups for Young Singaporeans

  • Aged 6 & Below: $300/$600 in Child Development Account
  • Students aged 7-16: additional $150 in Edusave Account
  • Aged 17-20: $250/$500 in Post-Secondary Education Account

Full Fee Waiver for Exams

  • For full-time Singaporeans students in government-funded schools:
  • PSLE, GCE ‘N’, ‘O’ & ‘A’ level examinations
  • Polytechnic & ITE examinations

Greater Support for Needy Students

  • Additional $6 million grant to Self-Help Groups for stronger programme outreach
  • Increased grants for more school-based assistance at primary, secondary and pre-university levels
  • New transport subsidy for primary & secondary school students on MOE’s Financial Assistance Scheme

More Help for Households

Foreign Domestic Worker Concessionary Levy

  • Reduced to $60 per month
  • For households with caregiving needs
  • Extended to households with children 16 & below

GST Vouchers

GSTV – Cash: $50 increase across the board

  • GSTV – Cash for those 54 & below: $150-$300
  • GSTV – Cash & Seniors’ Bonus for seniors 55 to 64: $300-$600
  • GSTV – Cash & Seniors’ Bonus for seniors 65 & above: $300-$900

One-off Rebate for Service & Conservancy Charges

  • Benefits 800,000 households
  • 1 to 3 months of rebates based on flat type

Investing in Infrastructure

We will continue to reinvest in Singapore’s infrastructure to meet our future economic and social needs:

Strengthen our Air Hub

  • Develop Terminal 5

Make Singapore a highly liveable city

  • Improve public transport
  • Develop our heartlands into vibrant homes and communities

Expand our Healthcare system

  • Increase acute and community hospital beds and nursing home capacity

Fostering a Spirit of Giving

Starting Young

  • Government will donate to Institutions of Public Character (IPCs) chosen by educational institutions: $20,000 per school, $150,000 per polytechnic, $250,000 per ITE

Encouraging Donations

  • As part of SG50 celebrations, increase tax deduction rate to 300% for 2015
  • Extend 250% tax reduction from 2016 to 2018

Care & Share @ SG50 Movement

  • Extend dollar-for-dollar matching by Government until 31 Mar 2016

Additional Tax Changes

Personal Income Tax (PIT)

A more progressive PIT rate structure from YA 2017

  • Increase top marginal tax rate from 20% to 22% for chargeable income above $320,000 and increase marginal tax rates for chargeable incomes above $160,000 to $320,000 by 1 to 2%

One-off PIT rebate for YA 2015

  • Rebate of 50% capped at $1,000 to help the middle-income taxpayers especially

Vehicle-Related Taxes: To reduce vehicular carbon emissions and promote a greener living environment

Carbon Emissions-based Vehicle Scheme

  • Extend for 2 years: from 1 Jul 2015 to 30 Jun 2017
  • Enhance to encourage shift to greener vehicles

Early Turnover Scheme

  • Enhance from Aug 2015 to encourage replacement of older commercial vehicles with greener ones that meet higher emission standards (details to be announced)

Petrol Duty Changes

  • Increase in Petrol Duty rates, which have remained unchanged since 2003, by $0.15/$0.20 per litre from 23 Feb 2015 onwards

One-year Road Tax Rebate

  • Provide 20% to 100% rebates for petrol vehicles to offset higher petrol duties

More Help for Middle Income Families

To invest in our children’s education

  • More affordable and better quality childcare
  • Top-ups to Child Development Account, Edusave and Post-Secondary Education Accounts
  • Full waiver of national exam fees

To build skills for the future

  • SkillsFuture Credit to pay for courses
  • Higher education and training subsidies for Singaporeans
  • SkillsFuture Study Awards and Fellowships to deepen skills

To save more for retirement

  • Higher CPF Salary Ceiling
  • Higher Supplementary Retirement Scheme contribution cap
  • Higher CPF contribution rates for older workers
  • Encourage employers to hire workers above 65

To cope with costs of living

  • Higher healthcare subsidies
  • Support for MediShield Life premiums
  • Personal Income Tax Rebate for YA 2015
  • Rebates for Service & Conservancy Charges
  • Reduced foreign maid levy for families with children or frail elderly

To care for our elders

  • Healthcare benefits in Pioneer Generation Package
  • Higher CPF Life payouts from extra interest on CPF balances from 55
  • 2015 GSTV-Seniors’ Bonus

For more information, please go to http://www.singaporebudget.gov.sg

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