There are two key areas which came out of Budget 2017 of relevance to SMEs. The first is the need to go digital, and the second to internationalise.
Local enterprises seeking to adopt digital solutions may explore IMDA’s SME Go Digital Programme, which can defray 70% of technology cost up to a cap of $300,000. An SME Digital Tech Hub will be set up by September to provide consultancy and advice to SMEs.
Companies looking to internationalise can look forward to tap on the International Partnership Fund, which will be managed by Heliconia Capital Management. This fund aims to help companies better access Asian markets through regional acquisitions. IE Singapore’s Internationalisation Finance Scheme has also been enhanced to allow companies to have access to financing for regional infrastructure projects.
Companies with strong focus on technology and innovation should also explore the new Intellectual Property Development Incentive administered by EDB. The tax incentive allows qualifying income derived from the commercialisation of IP to be taxed at a lower rate than the existing corporate income tax rate of 17%.
Lastly, companies can benefit from the broad-based corporate income tax rebate, which offers a 50% rebate rate for the year of assessment 2017, capped at $25,000. In the year of assessment 2018, the rebate rate will be 20%, capped at $10,000.