Ahead of Budget season, tax professionals have prescribed measures that boost productivity but stop short of rocket science.
According to the Singapore Institute of Accredited Tax Professionals (SIATP), comments gathered from the industry this year generally fall under the more politely worded theme of Keep It Simple, Singapore.
"Increasing productivity is not necessarily about big investments in technology or (research and development). Sometimes, it is all about reviewing what has been done right, (leveraging) on it with further improvements," said Ernest Kan, chairman of SIATP.
"Sometimes increasing productivity is really all about keeping processes and things simple so that businesses can focus on their core areas."
The industry's suggested measures include extending Singapore's tax incentives beyond the creation phase of intellectual property (IP) and simplifying the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme.
On the IP front, tax professionals have noted that there is currently no specific back-end tax incentive related to the commercialisation of IP from Singapore.
Singapore could look into introducing tax incentives with preferential tax treatment - either through reduced tax rates or the exemption of qualifying IP income - for the commercialisation of eligible pieces of IP, the SIATP suggested.
At the same time, the PIC scheme could be simplified and made more flexible.
"For example, SMEs could be allowed to claim higher PIC deductions or allowances for training and the acquisition of information technology and automation equipment as these are the two activities that are of relevance to them," the SIATP said.
In the area of self-betterment, the SIATP also proposed that given rising costs and Singapore's drive for productivity, the current cap of $5,500 for course fee relief can be increased to $8,000 for individuals who attend courses relevant to their employment or trade.
Where personal income tax rebates are concerned, the SIATP suggested that the spouse relief of $2,000 be increased to $4,000, to reflect the "current economic situation".
The child relief being provided could also stand to be increased, the institute reckoned. It pronounced the current quantum of child relief "grossly inadequate" and called for it to be reviewed.
"It is proposed that (the) qualifying child relief of $4,000 and handicapped child relief of $5,500 be increased to $5,000 and $7,000 correspondingly," it said.
The maximum relief per child, which includes the qualifying child relief and handicapped child relief, should be increased from $50,000 to $80,000, it added.