Highlights of the Singapore Budget 2018

Singapore unveiled on 19 Feb an expansionary budget 2018 that focuses on developing a vibrant and innovative economy, improving livability and strengthening social safety nets.

As shifts in the global economy turn towards Asia, businesses in Singapore will continue to enjoy support with the extension of two schemes – the Wage Credit Scheme, as well as the Corporate Income Tax rebate.  

To anchor Singapore as a Global-Asia node of technology, innovation and enterprise, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat calls on companies to make innovation pervasive in our economy, develop deep capabilities in our firms and workers, and establish strong partnerships locally and abroad. The following chart provides a quick round-up of what all companies and start-ups need to know. For details on tax changes, please refer to part 2 of the article here.

Supporting Businesses through Restructuring 

The following initiatives aim to support firms and workers in overcoming near-term challenges, as well
as prepare them to capture future opportunities: 



Corporate Income Tax Rebate (CIT)

Companies could qualify for a 20% Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rebate that is subject to a cap of $10,000 for Year of Assessment (YAs) 2018.


For YA2018, the cap will be raised to $15,000, at a rate of 40% of tax payable.

To be extended one more year to YA2019, but at a reduced rate of 20% of tax payable, capped at $10,000.

Wage Credit Scheme

The government co-funded 20% of wage increases given to each Singaporean employee earning a gross monthly wage of up to $4,000 and receive monthly pay rises of at least S$50.

The scheme will continue into YA 2020.

Foreign Worker Levy

Levy rates for Work Permit Holders in the Construction sector will be raised from the current $650 to $700 on 1 July 2017.


Levy increases for both S Pass and Work Permit Holders in the Marine and Process sectors will be deferred by one more year to 1 July 2018.


Levy rates will remain unchanged for all sectors.


Levy increases for the Marine Shipyard and Process sectors will be deferred for another year.

Supporting Firms in their Innovation Journeys

The following initiatives aim to support businesses in building their own innovations: 



Open Innovation Platform (OIP)

Did not exist.


A crowd-sourcing platform will match problem owners and solution providers so that they can co-develop digital solutions.

NRF-Temasek IP Commercialisation Vehicle

Did not exist.

A $100m NRF-Temasek joint venture will invest in, build and grow start-ups with commercially viable business models to grow companies that draw on IP from publicly-funded research.


Aviation & Maritime Transformation Programme (ATP & MTP)

Did not exist.

Enables companies to develop, test and use new technologies at our airports and seaports.


National Robotics Programme (NRP) Expansion

Launched to address labour constraints in sectors such as healthcare and cleaning through the development and deployment of robotics and automation technologies.


Scheme will expand to the built environment, particularly construction sectors.

Supporting Firms in Building Capabilities and Forging Partnerships

The following initiatives aim to make it easier for businesses to access support to adopt technologies
and productivity solutions:



Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)

Did not exist.

Businesses can apply for funding support for up to 70% of qualifying costs to adopt pre-scoped, off-the-shelf technologies.

Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)

Did not exist.

Businesses can apply for funding support for up to 70% of qualifying costs from FY2018 to FY2019.


Did not exist.

Companies can receive up to 70% co-funding for projects undertaken in partnership with others.


Infrastructure Office

Did not exist.

Brings together local and international firms from across the infrastructure value chain to develop, finance and execute infrastructure projects.

Supporting Workers in Deepening Skills and Managing Career Transitions



Tech Skills Accelerator (TeSA)

Supported the building and strengthening of the digital workforce since 2016.

Programmes such as the Company-led Training (CLT), Tech Immersion and Placement Programme (TIPP) and Critical Infocomm Technology Resource Programme Plus (CITREP+) will be scaled up to develop more local ICT professionals in new sectors. 

Career Trial

A Work Trial scheme under Adapt and Grow.

Higher funding support for workers to try out new careers in an upgraded Career Trial scheme.

Speak to our Tax & Accounting team today to discuss what this means for you.

Unsure how these changes will affect your business in Singapore or if you would like to start your business in Singapore?

Speak to our team