Commercial properties such as hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions need not pay property taxes for 2020 as part of Covid-19 aid

SINGAPORE – Owners of commercial properties that have been badly affected by the coronavirus outbreak will not need to pay property taxes for 2020.

Such properties include hotels, serviced apartments, tourist attractions, shops and restaurants, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in Parliament on Thursday (March 26) as he announced a Supplementary Budget to combat the worsening Covid-19 outbreak.

The move, which is a big step up from the 15 per cent to 30 per cent property tax rebates announced in last month’s Budget, is meant to help landlords with business costs during the economic downturn.

“Where the cost is within the Government’s control, we will do our best to help,” said Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister.

A property tax rebate of 30 per cent for 2020 will also be granted for all other non-residential properties, such as offices and industrial properties.

In announcing the $48 billion Supplementary Budget on Thursday, Mr Heng urged landlords to fully pass on the rebate to tenants, such as by reducing rentals to ease tenants’ cash flow and cost pressures.

“Many businesses have pointed out that it will be a lose-lose situation if landlords do not support their tenants. After all, if tenants fail, the properties will be empty.

“So my message to landlords is: Do your part, chip in, and give additional help to tenants who are more badly hit,” he said.

This comes after some tenants and associations pointed out that the earlier round of rebates were not passed on by their landlords.

The Restaurant Association of Singapore, for instance, said that not all food and beverage operators have seen the rental rebates promised by landlords.

Retail and food and beverage spaces were granted a 15 per cent rebate at the Budget statement last month. Properties such as hotels, serviced apartments and convention venues were given a rebate of 30 per cent.

In response, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said in Parliament earlier this month that while some landlords “have proactively gone out of their way to share the rebates”, others “are still taking a bit of time to roll out their packages”.

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