Dear Valued Customers,
A very warm welcome to our 3E Accounting Group newsletter! It’s March already and I know everyone must still be worried about the Covid-19 uncertainties but it has been amazing to see how quickly businesses have adapted to the ever-changing circumstances.
What’s Happening in Singapore
Let’s jump right in with what has been going in Singapore. The Singapore Budget 2021 is the first highlight of the month. Aligning with international standards, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has been extended to low-value goods that are imported via air or post, and business-to-consumer (B2C) imported non-digital services. Currently, low-value goods (value less than $400) that are imported via air or post are not subject to GST. B2C imported non-digital services (such as live interaction with overseas providers of educational learning, fitness training, counselling and telemedicine) are also not subject to GST. The GST extension will be effected via the Overseas Vendor Registration regime come 1 January 2023.
Phase 2 Extension of the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI)
Another exciting update is the extension of the qualifying window under the JGI scheme for all new local hires. To be eligible, employers must increase both their local workforce and number of local workers earning at least $1,400 a month*. The baseline and JGI adjustment factor for employers that hire new locals from March 2021 to September 2021 will be reset to February 2021 (from August 2020).
For all mature local hires, persons with disabilities and ex-offenders, the duration of wage support is extended by up to 6 months. This also applies to employers that are already receiving JGI for workers hired from September 2020 to February 2021.
There will also be an increase in the supportable gross monthly wage cap to the first $6,000. This is an increase from the previous $5,000. Eligible employers hiring such workers will benefit from this increase. This is provided they hired those workers from September 2020 to February 2021. The gross monthly wage cap will be for wages paid from March 21 onwards.
Singapore Green Plan 2030
The Singapore Government is providing green financing, that is, green bonds available for selected public infrastructure projects. The purpose is to deepen the market liquidity for green bonds and attract green issuers, capital, and investors. There will be an investment of up to $19 billion as a start for public sector green projects.
A $60 million Agri-Food Cluster Transformation Fund will continue supporting technology adoption in the agri-food sector. The movement toward cleaner and greener transport will also move forward as Singapore moves toward cleaner-energy vehicles, encourage use of public transport and imposes higher petrol duty.
To encourage the use of more Electric Vehicles (EV), 60,000 EV charging points at public carparks and private premises will be set up by 2030. Approximately $30 million over the next 5 years will be invested in the EV-related initiative.
Digital Insights Interview with Startup.info
Industry 4.0 has accelerated because of the pandemic. Online business meetings have become a norm now. This increases the adoption of automation solutions as well as widespread acceptance of decentralized modes of working. Stakeholder demands are evolving faster than business can keep up and provide. This means new opportunities have opened for enterprises who are ready to take on the new norm. I shared some of my insights with readers all around the world on how to manage these COVID-19 changes in an interview with Startup.info.
More Job Opportunities in Energy and Chemicals
The energy and chemicals sector will soon welcome new job opportunities, thanks to DuPont. The company is set to create new high-skill manufacturing jobs in Singapore, focusing primarily on the chemicals and energy sectors. The focus of the facility will be on the production of customised biotechnology solutions for the Asia Pacific region. Operations are expected to commence in the second quarter of 2021.
What’s Happening in Malaysia
Let’s move on to what is happening in Malaysia with the first highlight of the month addressing the SST tax.
How SST Is Helping Malaysian Business
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there is one concern weighing on everyone’s mind: Cost. That is where the SST comes in. It helps businesses lower their cost of doing business and correspondingly, the cost of living. How does this help? Well, the sales tax is charged only once by the point of sale (POS) manufacturer.
Malaysia officially introduced the SST tax from 1 September 2018. It replaced the Goods and Services Tax (GST). The goods that get tax exemption from SST are ten times more compared to the GST. There was a total exemption of 5,443 items, and only a few businesses are required to pay SST compared to GST.
When Should You Hire a Tax Consultant?
When is it time to call in the professionals? If you asked your family, friends, and anyone you know about a tax consultant, they will probably say it is unnecessary. But that is not necessarily true. As the business owner, you should be the one to know when to hire a tax consultant. The truth is, most people hire one so they do not have to deal with it themselves.
Why is it important to hire a tax consultant? There are a couple of sensible reasons behind this. Even if there is an additional expense, there are more advantages. They are experts in doing your taxes, and they stay updated with the tax code changes to help ensure you are compliant to all tax regulations.
What’s Happening in Hong Kong
Let’s take a look at what is happening on the Hong Kong scene. The first major highlight of the month is Hong Kong welcoming Fintech firms. Fintech firms are being brought in to help in the growth of the banking and financial services sector. The world was hit hard in 2020 in an unprecedented manner by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a situation that no business could have prepared for. Despite it all, the Hong Kong financial system demonstrated an unparalleled strength and resilience. The financial markets kept operating in an orderly manner and the US to Hong Kong dollar peg remained strong. That alone is an impressive feat and it is a testament to the strength of the economy.
Transforming the Hong Kong Ocean Park
Hong Kong has announced its plans to transform Hong Kong Ocean Park into a new leisure destination and resort. The aim of the proposal is to create a new experience for the local community and international visitors. This will draw both leisure visitors and investors to the Special Administrative Region and benefit businesses and the economy. The development will capitalise on the park’s unique geographical location. This is wonderful news for everyone when global travel resumes in earnest.
Until next time, stay safe and healthy.
Founder, 3E Accounting Group
Read More in our E-Newsletter March 2021