250% tax deduction for CSR-focused firms

Companies that encourage staff to volunteer will receive tax back on wages and other costs under a new government scheme

250% tax deduction for CSR-focused firms
From today (1 July) until 31 December 2018, businesses will receive a 250% tax deduction on wages and other expenses when employees volunteer their time.
Introduced in Budget 2016, the Business and IPC Partnership Scheme (BIPS), applies to firms which send employees to volunteer and provide services at Institutions of a Public Character (IPCs).
According to a statement by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), these services include:
  • Professionals services in legal, HR, accounting, etc
  • General voluntary services
IPCs are registered charities which can issue tax deductible receipts to donors. They must serve the Singapore community as a whole as opposed to serving a specific race, sect or religion.
“The BIPS was introduced in Budget 2016 to encourage employee volunteerism through businesses, and forms part of the government’s efforts to promote philanthropy and volunteerism,” the IRAS statement said.
By lowering the costs of providing services to IPCs, the IRAS hopes to build partnerships between businesses and IPCs while allowing firms to give back to the community.
“In the long run, the government hopes to foster a widespread culture of caring in Singapore, where businesses and employees can play a greater role in meeting social needs and building a caring and cohesive society,” the IRAS said.
From introduction to tax deduction, the BIPS works through the following five steps:
  1. The business establishes an interest and the IPC specifies an area of need
  2. The IPC and business form a partnership and track respective caps
  3. An agreement between the business and IPC is reached prior to delivery of services
  4. A long-term partnership is considered between the business and IPC
  5. The IPC submits BIPS Declaration Forms to IRAS and the business claims the tax deduction
For monetary caps under BIPS, an IPC can only endorse up to $50,000 of qualifying expenditure with a 250% tax deduction per calendar year. For 2016, the qualifying expenditure cap is only $25,000 as the scheme has started midway through the year.
Furthermore, each business has an expenditure cap of $250,000 for each assessment year which can extend over multiple IPCs. Unused caps cannot be rolled over to the following year.
This means that a firm which incurs an expenditure of $70,000 with a single IPC can only qualify for a tax deduction on the first $50,000. The total tax deduction granted will be $125,000.
Similarly, a business which spends $30,000 on an IPC will have all expenditures qualifying under BIPS. The tax deduction will be $75,000.
Related stories:
Government introduces new plan to foster CSR
Building a better corporate giving program
Why pro bono work can lead to real HR rewards

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