Singapore's Budget 2021 has just been announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday (Feb 16).
The focus for Singapore's economy this year will shift from Containment to Restructuring in light of the global coronavirus pandemic which ravaged the world in 2020.
Budget 2021 with the theme "Emerging Stronger Together", combines measures to help families, workers and businesses weather this ongoing crisis in the immediate term, with measures to accelerate structural adaptations for the long term.
To encourage charitable giving and corporate volunteerism even in these trying and uncertain times, the Singapore government will extend tax deductions and a number of initiatives to assist charities.
This comes as community partners, charities and social service agencies are facing new challenges amid the coronavirus pandemic, with donations to many charities declining, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng.
To summarize, these are the changes:
(1) Currently, the Singapore government already offers tax incentives for donations made to institutions of a public character (IPCs) and also matches donations raised. The 250% tax deduction on donations to IPCs will now be extended for another 2 years till the end of 2023.
(2) The additional government support for the Tote Board's Enhanced Fund-Raising Programme will also be extended by 1 year. Charities can apply to receive dollar-for-dollar matching on eligible donations, which are raised from projects in FY2021, up to a cap of S$250,000 per applicant.
(3) Support will also be extended to Community Chest (ComChest), which plays a critical role in raising funds for many social service agencies.The government will extend the matching period to FY2023 for ComChest's SHARE as One scheme. The scheme provides dollar-for-dollar matching for new and additional donations through the SHARE programme, under which corporates, employees and individuals can commit to regular giving.
(4) Moreover, the government will set aside S$20 million for a new Change for Charity Grant.
The Change for Charity Grant will match ComChest donations raised through this new initiative, and also co-fund one-off development costs to integrate or enhance donation functions on to businesses' payment platforms.
(5) To spur more employees to volunteer, the government will extend the Business and IPC Partnership Scheme for another two years, till the end of 2023.
(6) In addition, the government will provide three dollars for every dollar raised for the Community Development Councils' Care and Innovation Fund. Some S$50 million will be set aside for this matching grant, which is meant to support bottom-up, innovative initiatives addressing the needs of the community.
Deputy Prime Miniter Heng urged all individuals, organisations and corporations to do more for Singapore's charity sector if they can. Every little bit counts to make a difference, an impact in people's lives, and Make The Change.