IRAS Rejects Man’s PIC Grant And Asks For Grant Money To Be Returned

Guy rages over IRAS denying his PIC application and recovering grants

This is one man’s fight against a government agency.

On 1 Feb, Lim Jia He — founder and photographer of Hearted Moments Photography (HM studio) — took to Facebook to announce the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore’s (IRAS) rejection of his Productivity Innovation Credit (PIC) application.

According to him, PIC grants worth $32k were disbursed to his company, but now IRAS wants the amount back.

This is due to his disqualification from the PIC scheme upon failing to meet their requirements of the 3-local-employee condition.

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And he’s created a Facebook group for those whose PIC applications were rejected to discuss IRAS’s claiming back of  PIC grants.

The page is mostly filled with his personal clash with PIC.

What Mr Lim claims

Mr Lim is vehement about his eligibility for the PIC scheme.

He disagrees with IRAS on the reasons his application was rejected.

The founder of HM studio’s bone of contention lies with IRAS taking back their PIC grants given to him in 2014.

He said:

This is so going to kill any business by giving them $21k of help, then wanting to take it back after it’s already spent.

The IRAS letter

Mr Lim received a letter from IRAS clearly explaining the reason for rejecting his application.

The letter addressed to Mr Lim stated that HM studio had a revenue of $12,730 from Apr to Mar, but claimed for a total expenditure of $12,251.

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In addition, Mr Lim did not meet the requirements for the 3-local-employee condition.

According to the letter, the photographer had entered his parents names as well as 2 other employee’s, whom had working hours “according to assignments”.

Thus, they are not exactly full-timers or part-timers who are employed consistently, but would only turn up for work when a contract is secured.

Hence, these people did not qualify for “employees for PIC purpose” as they were “freelance or casual labour” — people who are independent contractors, and work only when their service are required.

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Furthermore, the letter stated that Mr Lim could not claim PIC training funds as he was a sole-proprietor of the business.

IRAS were also unconvinced that the training his employees received would increase productivity, thus they couldn’t “approve his training expenditure incurred”.

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After providing a multitude of explanations, IRAS qualified his application as “unsuccessful”.


The letter also included a clause requesting for Mr Lim to return the PIC grant money of $32,083.20 as a result of failing those conditions.

Mr Lim’s response

Mr Lim doesn’t address the fact about freelance labour, but seems to think that IRAS is picking fault with his parents being employed for headcount purposes.

He justified his parents employment by explaining his parents roles in HM studios.

According to Mr Lim, he employs his parents as they are able to help him out in preparing his home studio, and setting up the studio.

He also pays them normal wages and Central Provident Funds (CPF).

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He also provided information about the two other employees whom have “random reporting times and hours through the months according to assignments” — which resembles a freelancer job.

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The underdog

Mr Lim’s plight portrays him as the underdog trying to fight against a huge government agency.

He appears to be extremely indignant of being forced to repay the $32k PIC grant given to him in 2014.

However, is he actually deserving of the PIC grant after reviewing IRAS’s letter to him and his response?

You decide.

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