While the impending GST hike is on everyone's mind, less fanfare is made about how our effective corporate tax rate, for some companies, has actually risen.
Honeymoon period over for start-ups
Having encouraged entrepreneurship for almost a decade by giving generous tax breaks, these have now diminished quite a bit for start-ups.
Where a start-up used to enjoy tax exemption on 100% of it's first $100K, this is now reduced to 75% instead, from YA202 onwards. The maximum exemption threshold has also been reduced from $200k to $125K.
Basically all start-ups that have been incorporated this year would be affected. For example, if your first YA is YA2019, you will still enjoy the pre-Budget 2018 tax reliefs. However, your second YA, which is YA2020, would be subjected to the new changes.
TIP : For start-ups that have been incorporated this year and expect to be profitable in the first year, do take note of your financial year end. Any financial year-end ending in 2019 would would be considered as YA2020 onwards.
Non start-ups not spared either
The partial tax exemption for companies has also decreased with Budget 2018, although this only affects companies having more than $200K chargeable income. The exemption is now capped at $200K chargeable income compared to $300K previously.
These changes, together with the expiry of the PIC scheme, does seem to increase business costs going forward. But at least the Wage Credit Scheme has been extended, so it's not all doom and gloom for businesses in this Budget.