As the global economy struggles with the unprecedented consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Macau SAR Government announced several measures to help and boost its economy through this crisis.
With cross-border restrictions and lockdown measures being implemented around the world, the economy of Macau, which is mostly reliant on tourism revenues, is facing the biggest challenge since the creation of the SAR in 1999.
The Government of the Macau SAR, aware of the economic difficulties that local residents and small and medium-sized businesses may suffer, has implemented several measures covering the most diverse sectors of activity. These measures were divided in two waves of economic relief measures.
The purpose of this newsletter is to explain the main economic relief measures in a schematic and organized manner, what they consist of and who the beneficiaries are.
- Measures for Macau citizensElectronic Consumption Card
In order to stimulate the economy and benefit both local residents and commercial establishments, each Macau resident (either permanent or non-permanent) is given an electronic consumption card with MOP3,000.00, to be exclusively used between May 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020 in local businesses, with a maximum daily use limit of MOP300.00. Exceptions include casinos, banks, insurance companies, other financial institutions as well as pawnshops.
The card cannot be used as well to pay current expenses, such as water, electricity, fuel, natural gas or medical services.
For the period between August 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020, another electronic consumption card in the amount of MOP5,000.00 will be granted by the Macau Government.
Waiver of payment (water and electricity bills)
The government will cover all energy and water tariffs for residential units for all citizens (regardless of being Macau residents or not) of Macau, for a period of 3 months (between March and May 2020).
Anticipation of the Wealth Partaking Scheme
The Government will anticipate to the month of April the starting of the distribution of the annual cheque as part of the Wealth Partaking Scheme to the Macau Residents.
Another Healthcare Subsidy
The Macau Permanent Residents will receive an additional healthcare subsidy to be used in 2020 in the amount of MOP600.00 to help overcome health constraints caused by the pandemic.
Property Tax Exemption for 2020
The Macau Government announced as well that the Macau Residents will benefit from a property tax exemption over residential properties. Such exemption will only be valid for the tax year of 2020.
- Measures for workersTax Reliefs
Return of 70% of the Professional Tax (instead of 60%) up to the amount of MOP20,000.00 (instead of MOP14,000.00), of the amount paid for the year of 2018, provided that such workers were holders of a valid Macau ID card on December 31, 2018.
Change in the percentage of deduction of the professional tax base for the year 2020 – from 25% to 30%.
Economic Support for Local Workers
The Government will support local workers by providing a lump sum of MOP15,000.00 as part of a three-month subsidy (MOP5,000.00 per month), provided that such local workers have submitted their professional tax declaration, are not public servants and did not receive the professional tax refund.
Financial support plan for self-employed workers – amount allocated only once to the taxpayers of the 2nd group of the professional tax.
The amount to be granted shall range from MOP15,000.00 to MOP200,000.00 depending on the number of employees hired by the beneficiary.
Bonus plan for interest on bank loans for self-employed workers (taxpayers of the 2nd group of professional tax) – a 2-year interest subsidy will be granted on bank loans up to a limit amount of MOP100,000.00. The maximum interest rate is fixed at 4% and the bonus limit amount is MOP8,000.00.
- Measures for CompaniesTax ReliefsComplementary Income Tax
A fixed deduction of MOP300,000.00 from the payable tax concerning the taxable income for the tax year of 2019.
For properties duly registered at the Financial Services Bureau, for hospitality business, offices, commercial as well as industrial purposes will benefit, as regards to the tax year of 2020 from a fixed deduction in the amount of MOP3,500.00 from the payable tax and a deduction of 25% of the remaining amount, after that fixed deduction.
Exemption of payment for businesses such as hotels, bars, health clubs, karaoke bars, amongst others, for a period of 6 months starting on May 1, 2020.
Exemption of stamp duty payment for the tax year of 2020 on the issuance and renewal of permits and licenses comprised in article 2 and 28 of the Stamp Duty General Table (i.e. permits and licenses issued to carry out any activities subject to such legal requirement and any permits or licenses issued by any public authority or municipality service).
Small and Medium Sized Enterprises.Credit interest subsidy plan for SMEs, which is aimed at SMEs that have been granted loans by banking institutions due to the negative impact of the pandemic on their business. The interest subsidy, up to a limit of 4%, for loans up to a maximum amount of MOP2,000,000.00, for a maximum period of 3 years.
Special support plan for SMEs (similar to the measure that was launched in 2003 to combat the adverse economic effects caused by SARS) up to the maximum fixed amount of MOP600,000.00, which can be repaid within a maximum period of eight years.
Both plans are aimed at businesses with less than 100 employees and require that either the entrepreneur is a Macau resident or in case of a company, that at least 50% of its share capital is held by Macau residents.
Support Fund for Companies
For companies that fulfill the requirements referred to below, a support amount that varies between MOP15,000.00 and MOP200,000.00 shall be provided. Said amount shall be calculated based on the number of workers hired by the Company.
businesses without employees, owned by Macau residents or incorporated as companies and which have submitted the income tax return form
businesses hiring between 1 to 3 workers MOP50,000.00 businesses hiring between 4 to 6 workers MOP75,000.00 businesses hiring between 7 to 10 workers MOP100,000.00 businesses hiring between 11 to 13 workers MOP125,000.00 bbusinesses hiring between 14 to 16 workers MOP150,000.00 businesses hiring between 17 to 20 workers MOP175,000.00 businesses hiring 21 workers or more MOP200,000.00
If the same taxpayer is the owner of several companies, said taxpayer may benefit from a financial support to a maximum amount of MOP1,000,000.00.
Companies that will benefit from this support cannot terminate without cause any employment agreements with their employees, for a period of 6 months, under penalty of having to proportionally refund the amount received.
This plan does not apply to institutions in the following areas: electricity, water, natural gas and fuels; public buses and light rail; public telecommunications services; financial sector; institutions of regular education and higher education; social assistance institutions; gaming sector, etc.