Budget 2016: New initiatives to encourage Singaporeans to give back to community

From tax deductions to a new fund to catalyse ground-up projects, Budget 2016 introduces initiatives to encourage Singaporeans to help those in need.

SINGAPORE: To build a more caring and resilient society, Budget 2016 will introduce measures that encourage Singaporeans to give back to the community and make it easier for employees to contribute through their workplaces, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced on Thursday (Mar 24).

Currently, businesses receive a tax deduction of 250 per cent for donations of cash and in-kind donations such as computers to certain Institutions of a Public Character (IPCs).

To encourage employee volunteerism, a pilot Business and IPC Partnership scheme will be introduced. From Jul 1 this year until the end of 2018, companies that organise their employees to volunteer and provide services to IPCs, including secondments, will also receive a 250 per cent tax deduction on costs incurred.

This deduction requires the receiving IPC’s agreement, and is subject to a yearly cap of S$250,000 per business and S$50,000 per IPC, Mr Heng said.

The Community Chest’s monthly donation programme SHARE will also get a boost, with dollar-for-dollar matching from the Government for any additional donations over and above the FY2015 level. This will be done for the next three years, starting in April this year, Mr Heng said.

“Where businesses allow their staff to donate regularly, we will allow part of the matching funds to be used by them to organise corporate social responsibility activities,” he added.


A pilot initiative called the Community Networks for Seniors will be launched, comprising local stakeholders such as Voluntary Welfare Organisations, community volunteers, schools and businesses.

At its core, the network will have a small team of full-time officers, who will study the health and social needs of seniors and draw stakeholders together to provide coordinated support, Mr Heng said.

“We hope to help seniors discover health conditions earlier and manage them well, while connecting those who are healthy and mobile to a wide range of activities to encourage them to stay active, healthy and engaged in the community,” he said.

Seniors who require more help, such as frail elderly living alone, will get more targeted and coordinated health and social support under the networks.


According to Mr Heng, the SG50 Celebration Fund – set up to support ground-up community projects in celebration of Singapore’s Jubilee year – received good response and supported close to 400 projects.

To continue supporting such initiatives, a new Our Singapore Fund with up to S$25 million will be set up by the second half of this year.

“It is Our Singapore Fund because it is about how we all can come together in partnership to share our strengths, share our loves, create something more and better together, to build our Singapore together,” Mr Heng said.

The fund will support projects that build the spirit of caring and resilience, nurture our can-do spirit, and promote unity and our sense of being Singaporean, he added.

“This is the spirit of the society that we are building. It is one where we rise above our circumstances, to build a better life for ourselves and our children. It is a society that cares for those in need, and where those who are helped do their part to help others. It is a society that we are all proud to be a part of,” he said.

– CNA/cy

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