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Resilience Budget: No property tax for landlords hit by coronavirus, others to get 30% rebate

QUALIFYING commercial properties that have been badly affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic will pay no property tax in 2020 while businesses in other non-residential properties will get a rebate of 30 per cent, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Thursday.

Those exempt from property tax include hotels, serviced apartments, tourist attractions, shops and restaurants, in a major step-up from the initial 15 to 30 per cent property tax rebate announced by Mr Heng during Budget 2020 in February.

Business that qualify for the 30 per cent rebate include offices and industrial properties.

"I strongly urge landlords to fully pass on the rebate to tenants, by reducing rentals, to directly ease the cash flow and cost pressures faced by tenants," Mr Heng said during his Resilience Budget in parliament.

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

"So my message to landlords is: do your part, chip in and give additional help to tenants who are more badly hit."

He also said the government will lead by example in supporting tenants by enhancing rental waivers.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) will give stallholders in hawker centres it manages three months of rental waiver, up from one month announced during Budget 2020.

Other government agencies like the Housing & Development Board and the National Arts Countil will provide two months of rental waiver to eligible tenants, up from half a month announced during Budget 2020. Beneficiaries include social service agencies and charities, Mr Heng said.

All other non-residential tenants will receive half a month of rental waiver.