SINGAPORE — About $370 million of excess Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) payouts were credited to about 5,400 businesses during the disbursements made in October last year, the government said on Thursday (8 April).
The errors arose from the incorrect tagging of businesses’ re-opening dates, said the Ministries of Trade and Industry (MTI), Finance (MOF) and Manpower (MOM) in a joint statement.
"The error arose as agencies had to process, at short notice, more than 1.8 million applications from businesses to resume operations after Circuit Breaker. As a result, some businesses received the wrong JSS or FW levy waiver/rebate amounts," the three ministries said.
The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) first detected anomalies in November last year as part of its regular processing checks on the JSS.
"Subsequently, several businesses also informed IRAS that they might have received excess JSS payouts. In December 2020, the cause of the overpayments was subsequently traced to discrepancies in companies’ reopening dates," the ministries added.
The amount constitutes about 6 per cent of the JSS paid out last October, and about 3.6 per cent of all firms which received JSS payouts.
Of the $370 million, about $340 million will be recovered through automatic offsets from subsequent JSS payouts ($140 million) and the commitment of the larger affected businesses contacted by MTI and other agencies to return the excess payment ($200 million).
"IRAS will first offset the excess amount against the businesses’ future JSS payouts. If future payouts are insufficient to offset the amount of excess payment, MTI, MOF, and IRAS will inform affected businesses of any outstanding excess amount to be returned after the businesses’ final JSS payout," the ministries said.
Instalment payment arrangements will be made available for businesses. Those that wish to return the outstanding excess amount upfront may also do so. Instructions will be provided in letters to businesses.
"At the same time, 1,100 businesses were identified to be eligible for additional JSS payouts, amounting to $5.5 million. The additional JSS allocation will be credited to businesses by end-April 2021," said MTI, MOF and MOM.
There were also errors found in foreign worker (FW) levy waivers/rebates arising from the same errors. The excess, amounting to an estimated $1.2 million, were granted to 360 businesses in June and July 2020. MTI and MOM will reach out to the affected businesses to recover the excess waiver and rebate.
"A number of businesses have also been identified to be eligible for additional FW levy waiver and rebate," the ministries said.
"In total, about 1,200 businesses will be granted $6 million additional FW levy waiver and rebate. The FW levy waiver will be automatically adjusted from businesses’ future levy bill while the rebate will be credited to businesses directly," they added.
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