The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve and the advice to businesses on how to respond is constantly being updated.

As the virus continues to evolve, our aim remains the same, to serve our people, clients, and communities with care and confidence.

While there may be some industries that are more directly impacted by the virus – including health and aged care, education and tourism – with international travel and trade suspended, and no way to predict how many people may contract the virus, all industries will face issues around supply chain, workforce and cash flow.

With specialists across tax, compliance, and restructuring, we are here to help.

How the Singapore government are supporting those affected

  • The over S$48 billion Resilience Budget which is over seven times what was announced in the Unity budget utilises reserves that the nation has saved for that rainy day to combat the fall-out from what is already a mighty storm, and which is still brewing.
  • Employers will receive 25% cash grant on the first SGD 4,600 of gross monthly wages of each local employee on their CPF payroll.
  • Higher payouts are available for employers in Aviation and Tourism (75% rather than 25% cash grant) and Food Services (50% rather than 25%). 
  • All companies with corporate income tax payments that are due in April, May and June 2020 will be granted an automatic three-month deferral of these payments. The payments that are deferred from April, May and June 2020 have to be paid in July, August and September 2020 respectively.
  • Employees who have already filed their YA 2020 tax return may opt to defer their income tax payments due in May, June and July.
  • A new COVID-19 Support Grant has been introduced, the grant provides financial assistance while these individuals find a new job or attend training. Successful applicants will receive a monthly cash grant of $800, for three months.
  • The Care and Support Package that was announced during Budget 2020 has been enhanced. This will provide further assurance and support to Singaporeans who are concerned about coping with their household expenses during this period of exceptional economic uncertainty. 
  • Non-residential properties will be granted an enhanced rebate for Property Tax (PT) payable for the period 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020.
  • The Government has announced sector specific support for the Aviation, Tourism, Land Transport, Maritime and Arts and Culture sectors.

We have summarised the main takeaways here

Business continuity plans and crisis management

The current situation continues to evolve and businesses will need to remain agile and alert. A good starting point on creating a response to COVID-19 is the World Health Organisation’s technical guidance on how to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Some areas to consider include:

Your people

  • Have measures been put in place to support good hygiene and health for your people, including restrictions to international travel, advice on attending client meetings, site visits and events?
  • Do you have a clearly communicated policy on what your people should do if they are feeling unwell – including seeking medical attention and isolation? What will this mean for colleagues and clients if you suspect a case of COVID-19?

Review your customers and suppliers

  • Do you need to inform your clients and customers of any changes to your services? This could include different opening times, delays in deliveries or deadlines.
  • Do you have plans in place to ensure regular and clear communications to clients about your policies and updates on changes to service?
  • With international travel and export impacted by COVID-19, have you assessed the strength of your supply chain and do you have alternatives in place if you need to source another provider?
  • Which customers will need extended terms from you and which suppliers might require different arrangements? Liaise with your suppliers to determine how they can support you.

Cash flow and financing

  • Any changes or delays in service can have an impact on cash flow. Do you need to have discussions with clients or suppliers about renegotiating terms?
  • Your banker will be invaluable in helping you over the next couple of months. Plan early if you are going to need additional funding to get restarted. Make sure your banker is across your plans and understands where you are going.
  • Most banks have hardship teams offering a range of services that may be of support.

Check your insurance cover

  • Re-assessing insurance coverage – businesses may have insurance coverage to protect certain assets, however, they should ensure they are covered for the business interruption expenses that natural disasters can cause.

Stakeholder management

  • During these difficult periods, proactive stakeholder management becomes extremely important, in particular with financiers, shareholders, customers and employees. Communicate with these groups early and often!

Get advice and look after yourself and your people

  • In addition to ensuring the health and safety of yourself and your people, we strongly encourage you to speak to your advisors about how your business can respond to COVID-19.

Download our COVID-19 Business Checklist now.

As always, we are here to support you in times of difficulty. With a multidisciplinary network of specialists, there are many ways we can assist you now and into the future.