FROM Mar 31, some 19,500 employers will receive the final Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) payouts, totalling over S$145 million and supporting the wages of over 289,500 local employees.
In a joint statement on Tuesday (Mar 29), the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras), Ministry of Finance (MOF) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) said that with this payout, more than S$28.1 billion of JSS support would have been disbursed since the introduction of the scheme at the Unity Budget in February 2020.
The March 2022 payout will cover wages from November to December 2021.
Employers receiving the payouts are in sectors which were affected by safe management measures instituted in the H2 of 2021, such as food services.
Employers who have made mandatory CPF contributions for their local employees for the months of November and December 2021 by the stipulated deadlines will qualify to receive the payout.
Eligible employers will be notified by post of their payout amount later this month. They can also log in to myTax Portal to view the electronic copy of their letter.
Employers who have registered for PayNow Corporate as at Mar 27, 2022 or have existing GIRO arrangements with Iras can expect to receive the JSS payouts from Mar 31.
Other employers will receive their cheques from Apr 22.
Iras, MOF and ESG estimate the JSS to have saved over 165,000 local jobs from March to December 2020.
To qualify for the enhanced JSS, companies in the food services sector in particular must hold a valid food licence from the Singapore Food Agency (SFA).
They now must also be registered under the Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) codes of 56 or 68104 - meaning they are registered as operators of food services, including food courts, coffeeshops and canteens.
The enhanced JSS was earlier extended by ESG and MOF to several entities with valid SFA licences, but without any SSIC codes.
Checks performed in January 2022 however found that 38 entities which received enhanced JSS payments included unions, clubs, associations and religious organisations which had a food licence but were "clearly not in the food services businesses", as they did not have licenses under the relevant codes.
The stat boards explained that these erroneous payouts were made on the assumption - based on previous experience - that the entities were stallholders offering food services and therefore should still qualify for the JSS, even without the relevant SSIC codes.
"At that time, we had proceeded with the payments to ensure swift disbursement of funds to all affected entities," they added.
All 38 entities have been notified and have committed to returning the overpayment of S$32.2 million.
There may also be instances where companies do not have the relevant SSIC codes, and did not receive any JSS payments, but are, in fact, deriving majority of their income from food services.
Some of these could be businesses that started out in a different industry and then switched to food services, but have not updated their SSIC codes with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority.
In such cases, companies can appeal and the authorities will consider such appeals on a case by case basis.
About S$5 million in payouts for March 2022 are withheld from 292 employers, pending their review and submission of supporting documents to Iras to substantiate their eligibility.
Employers will receive their payouts once Iras has verified the authenticity and accuracy of the information submitted. Their payouts would be adjusted or denied if issues are found during the review.
Employers are reminded to contribute the right amount of CPF for their employees, based on actual wages paid, as employers' CPF contributions are used to determine the amount of JSS payout.
Other than having their JSS payouts denied, offenders can be charged under Section 420 of the Penal Code and face up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine.
Businesses or individuals who wish to report any malpractices or potential abuses of the JSS may do so by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or online at the Iras website.
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