Government Support Schemes

Running a law practice is essentially running a business, where staying competitive is one of the key ingredients of success. To help law practices sharpen their competitive edge, the Government has incentive schemes available that law practices can consider applying for.

The following support is available to law practices to help alleviate expenses incurred in implementing telecommuting measures as well as managing other challenges arising from the COVID-19 situation.

Financial Support
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1. Productivity Solutions Grant

The Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) has been enhanced to encourage law practices to continue their digitalisation and productivity upgrading efforts. The maximum funding support level has been increased from 70% to 80% from 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2020. This increase in funding support is also applicable to all Baseline Category Solutions under Tech-celerate for Law.

Online Collaboration Tools and Virtual Meeting Solutions under PSG are now available to law practices. Law practices can receive up to 80% funding support on these solutions.

Online Collaboration Tools  

i) Microsoft 365 packages

ii) ONEOffice (powered by Google G-suite)

iii) Rubify Online Collaboration Software

iv) Laptop-bundled Microsoft 365 packages

Virtual Meeting Solutions 

i) Singtel BizConference (powered by Zoom)

ii) M1 Cisco Webex

2. Enterprise Development Grant

Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)

As announced at the Resilience Budget 2020, the maximum support level of the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) has been raised from 70%- 80% from 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2020. This increase in funding support is also applicable to all Advanced Category Solutions under Tech-celerate for Law from 2 May 2020 to 31 December 2020.

3. Enterprise Financing Scheme

Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS)

i) SME Working Capital Loan*

ii) SME Fixed Assets Loan

iii) Venture Debt Loan

iv) Trade Loan**

v) Project Loan

vi) Mergers & Acquisitions Loan

*As announced at the Solidarity Budget 2020, the Enterprise Financing Scheme – SME Working Capital Loan (EFS-WCL) has been enhanced to help SMEs with their working capital needs. The maximum loan quantum was raised from $300,000 to $1 million. Risk-share was also increased to 90% (from 50% and 70% for young companies) for new applications initiated from 8 April 2020 until 31 March 2021.

**The EFS Trade Loan has been enhanced to help enterprises with their trade financing needs. The maximum loan quantum was raised from S$5 million to S$10 million. The risk-share was also increased to 90% (from 50% and 70% for young companies) for new applications initiated from 8 April 2020 until 31 March 2021.

4. Corporate Income Tax Rebate

Corporate Income Tax Rebate

Law practices will be granted a 25% Corporate Income Tax Rebate Capped at $15,000.

5. Deferment of Income Tax Payment

Deferment of Income Tax Payment

As announced in the Resilience Budget, all companies with Corporate Income Tax (CIT) payments due in the months of Apr, May and Jun 2020 will be granted an automatic three-month deferment of these payments. The CIT payments that are deferred from Apr, May and Jun 2020 will be collected in Jul, Aug and Sep 2020 respectively. The deferment applies to CIT payments due in the months of Apr, May and Jun 2020, regardless of which YA the taxes or payments relate to. This relief measure complements the automatic extension of two months’ interest-free instalments as announced in the Unity Budget 2020 on 18 Feb 2020.

Eligible law practices can expect to receive a letter from IRAS by Apr 2020. Law practices who are on GIRO will be able to view the revised installment plans at myTax Portal from 1 May 2020.

Law practices that are not on GIRO and are required to make a one-time CIT payment in Apr/May/Jun 2020 can use the Payment Deferment Calculator to review the revised payment due date.

6. Temporary Bridging Loan Programme

The Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP) provides access to working capital for your business needs. 

Eligible law practices may borrow up to $5 million under the TBLP, with the interest rate capped at 5% p.a., from Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs). The Government will provide 90% risk-share on these loans for new applications initiated from 8 April until 31 March 2021 

Eligible law practices under the TBLP may also apply for up to 1-year deferral of principal repayment to help manage their debt, subject to assessment by the PFIs.

The TBLP started in March 2020, and is available until 31 March 2021. Interested law practices can apply directly to the PFIs.

7. Rental Waivers

Rental Waivers

Eligible law practice tenants can receive up to 2 months’ rental waiver for commercial and other non-residential tenants in government properties

 

8. Property Tax Rebate

Property Tax Rebate for 2020

Under the Resilience Budget, owners of qualifying properties will be granted rebates of up to 30-100% on their property tax payable. The following are the level of rebates for the different types of properties:

  • 100% rebate for qualifying commercial properties
  • 60% rebate for the Integrated Resorts
  • 30% rebate for other non-residential properties
9. Loan Insurance Scheme

Loan Insurance Scheme (LIS)

Enterprises can secure short-term trade financing loans via the Loan Insurance Scheme (LIS) from Participating Financial Institutions (PFI).

As announced at the Supplementary Budget 2020, support for the LIS insurance premium has been increased to 80% (from 50%) until 31 March 2021. Loans are insured by commercial insurers which co-share loan default with the PFI in the event of enterprise insolvency.

Eligible law practices can apply for the LIS to secure short-term trade financing for the purpose of:

  • Inventory/ stock financing facility
  • Structured pre-delivery working capital
  • Factoring/ bill or invoice or accounts receivable discounting with recourse
  • Overseas Working Capital Loan
  • Banker’s Guarantee
10. SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit

The SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC) encourages employers to invest in enterprise transformation and capabilities of their employees.

Eligible law practices will receive a one-off S$10,000 credit to cover up to 90% of out-of-pocket expenses on qualifying costs for supportable initiatives, over and above the support levels of existing schemes.

11. Market Readiness Assistance Grant

Market Readiness Assistance Grant (MRA)

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will receive an international boost with the Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) grant to help take your business overseas.

Eligible law practices will receive the following support:

  • Up to 70% of eligible costs, capped at S$100,000 per law practice per new market* from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2023 that covers:
    • Overseas market promotion (capped at S$20,000)
    • Overseas business development (capped at S$50,000)
    • Overseas market set-up (capped at S$30,000)
  • Each application is limited to one activity in a single overseas market (e.g. market entry, or participation in a trade fair)

Note: The MRA Grant support level of up to 70% will be extended until 31 Mar 2023.

Manpower Support
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1. Jobs Support Scheme

Jobs Support Scheme (JSS)

Launched at the Unity Budget 2020, the scheme was further enhanced in the Resilience, Solidarity and Fortitude Budget 2020. The JSS will provide wage support to employers, helping enterprises to retain their local employees (Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents) during this period of economic uncertainty.  The JSS will be extended by one month to cover wages paid in Aug 2020, bringing the total wage support under JSS to 10 months. Support for Aug 2020 will be paid out in Oct 2020.

2. Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme

Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS)

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has enhanced the Self-Employed Person (SEP) Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) to broaden support for SEPs affected by COVID-19.

SEPs who meet the criteria will automatically benefit from SIRS. They will receive three cash payments of $3,000 each in end-May, July and October 2020.

Singaporean SEPs aged 37 (as at 31 Dec 2020) and over in 2020 who declared positive SEP income to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) /CPF Board (CPFB) for Work Year 2018 do not need to apply. They will be automatically notified of their eligibility via letter and SMS, and will receive the first SIRS payout automatically in end-May 2020. Other eligible SEPs aged 21 (as at 31 Dec 2020) and above may apply. SEPs who narrowly miss the eligibility criteria may submit appeals. Applications for SIRS is now open. For more information and application, please visit www.ntuc.com.sg/sirs.

3. Workfare Income Supplement

The Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) encourages eligible workers to work and build up their CPF savings for their retirement, housing and healthcare needs, by supplementing their income and retirement savings through cash payments and CPF contributions. The scheme helps to top up the salaries of lower-income workers and allows them save for retirement.

4. Enhanced Work-Life Grant

The Work-Life Grant (WLG) provides funding support to companies to implement and sustain the use of Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) for all employees to create work-life harmony at the workplace.

In light of the Covid-19 situation and to support companies offering work-from-home and staggered hours arrangement, the WLG criteria has been enhanced to make it faster and easier for companies to receive funding support for such arrangements. The Grant consists of both the FWA Incentive and Job Sharing Incentive. Eligible law practices may tap on either or both grants and receive funding capped at $105,000 per law practice for local employees*, over two (2) years (subjected to caps within the respective grant components).

To find out your law practice’s eligibility and how to apply for WLG, please visit here.

For more information on WLG, please refer to the Factsheet here.

 

*Note: Employees must be either SCs or SPRs employed on permanent basis or on employment contracts that are at least twelve (12) months in duration. Law practices will not receive funding for its ACRA-listed personnel, including the law practice’s owners, shareholders, directors and managers who adopted FWAs.

5. Enhanced Wage Credit Scheme

Enhanced Wage Credit Scheme (WCS)

In the Unity Budget 2020, it was announced that the government co-funding ratios for wage increases in 2019 and 2020 will be raised from the current 15% and 10%, to 20% and 15% respectively. The qualifying gross wage ceiling will also be raised to $5,000 for both years, up from the current $4,000.

Qualifying employers benefitting from the enhancements for the 2019 wage increases will be notified by end Jun 2020, and will receive a supplementary payout thereafter.

Refer to the Quick Guide on the Enhancements to WCS here.

Check if your law practice is eligible for the WCS payout here.

For a summary of the relevant business support measures offered by other governments in the respective overseas markets, please click here. For enquiries on market coverage and information on the measures, please email enquiry@enterprisesg.gov.sg.

The following are other incentive schemes available for law practices that are seeking to build business capabilities or are keen to expand regionally.

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1. Economic Development Board
3. SkillsFuture Study Awards

The SkillsFuture Study Award scheme is now open to the Legal sector. Eligible Singaporeans will receive a monetary award of S$5,000 upon successful application, which can be used to defray out-of-pocket expenses associated with the course that they will be taking.

Applications for these schemes will be considered on individual merits in accordance with internal guidelines and are subject to the approval of the respective Government agencies.

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