PwC offers proposals ahead of Budget 2017

The professional services firm’s proposals include easing work visa regulations, incentives to attract talent, and tax relief for digitisation

PwC offers proposals ahead of Budget 2017
With Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat set to deliver this year’s budget statement to parliament on 20 February, professional services firm PwC has answered the government’s call for the public’s input by putting forth several proposals.

Some of the proposals they gave include:

1)    Easing work visa regulations for certain firms in the tech sector;
2)    Reestablishing incentives for employee share plans to attract talent;
3)    Tax relief for businesses to go digital; and
4)    Enhanced tax deduction for overseas research and development activities.

They said that the government should consider relaxing employment rules for work visas in the venture fund and technology start-up space to fill in the shortage Singapore faces in talent with digital skills.

They should also consider providing incentives to SMEs in order to attract and retain talent, PwC said in their statement, adding that these companies often turn to share option and stock reward schemes to attract talent and reward innovation.

“The government should consider reintroducing an incentive for employee share option and stock award schemes, similar to the employee equity-based remuneration scheme for SMEs and start-ups that was previously available under sections 13J and 13M of the Income Tax Act. This could be restricted to employees of start-ups or SMEs,” they said.

The firm’s recommendation of a tax relief for businesses to digitize their processes was made because “there are hefty costs involved for a company into a digital environment”.

“With the expiry of the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme in Year of Assessment 2018, companies including start-up enterprises that have yet to benefit from the scheme will incur expenditure that span from the hardware infrastructure to labour costs of digitising data, information migration and staff training,” they added.

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