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FAQs

The Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) believes that the use of XBRL will achieve the objectives of facilitating the conduct of business in Singapore. This will provide more value-added financial information and enhance the regulatory environment with improved transparency and timely dissemination of relevant financial information.

The following companies need to file their financial statements in XBRL format:

Non-Exempt Private Limited Companies (“Non-EPCs”, normally refer to companies with corporate shareholders) are required to file full set of XBRL FS.

Insolvent Exempt Private Limited Company (“EPCs”, normally refer to companies with deficit equity or the current liabilities exceed current assets), specific companies regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (e.g. banks, insurance companies and finance companies) as well as companies that are allowed by law to prepare accounts in other accounting standards are required to file Financial Statements Highlights in XBRL format.

Certain companies need not file XBRL. These companies include solvent exempt private limited companies, companies limited by guarantee, foreign companies and their local branches.

An Exempt Private Company (EPC) is a private company which has at most 20 shareholders. No corporation holds (directly or indirectly) any beneficial interest in the EPC’s shares. It can also be a Company the Minister has gazetted as an EPC (see section 4(1) of the Companies Act).

Directors of the companies will continue to be responsible for the correctness and accuracy of FS in XBRL format filed with ACRA. They are therefore advised to check the information to be filed before authorising their company or authorised persons to submit the information on behalf of the company to ACRA.

You can either do-it-yourself by logging on to BizFinx Portal or outsource to a professional firm. However, filing of XBRL is not something that directors or owners of businesses can leave to the juniors to do as the filing process can be time-consuming and daunting for directors. It is more convenient and hassle-free to let us handle this work for you. Outsourcing the filing to a professional accounting services firm will give you the peace of mind in meeting your company’s compliance needs.

Our professional staff will meet you to discuss and ascertain requirements. We will review all relevant records including the existing accounting practices. Based on this review, we will design a system that is practicable and consistent with your business needs. If requested, we can also assist you in designing the necessary forms and accounting procedures.

A financial report properly tailored to management’s requirements will then be produced. This will include a detailed profit & loss statement, balance sheet, trial balance, general ledgers and other detailed listings such as debtors, creditors, etc.

Our involvement will ensure that proper filing and recording procedures are set up within the company. This includes the filing system for sales invoices, suppliers’ invoices, payment vouchers, and etc. Simple manual registers for receipts, payments, sales and purchases are sometimes required based on the practical needs of the business.

Companies that are exempted from audit requirements are not required to have their accounts audited. Instead, they prepare unaudited accounts (also known as a compilation report) for purposes of annual general meetings (AGMs) and filing with ACRA as well as Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). If the Company chooses to have the accounts audited, it will then submit the audited accounts together with the auditor’s report.

With effect from 1 July 2015, a new small company concept was introduced for exemption from statutory audit. A company qualifies as a small company if it is a private company and meets at least 2 of 3 of the following criteria for immediate past 2 financial years:

  • Total annual revenue of not more than S$10 million;
  • Total assets of not more than S$10 million;
  • Number of employees not more than 50.

For a company which is part of a group:

  • The company must qualify as a small company; and
  • Entire group must be a “small group” to qualify for the audit exemption.

For a group to be a small group, it must meet at least 2 of the 3 quantitative criteria on a consolidated basis for the immediate past two consecutive financial years.

Where a company has qualified as a small company, it continues to be a small company for subsequent financial years until it is disqualified. A small company is disqualified if:

(a) it ceases to be a private company at any time during a financial year; or

(b) it does not meet at least 2 of the 3 the quantitative criteria for the immediate past two consecutive financial years.

Where a group has qualified as a small group, it continues to be a small group for subsequent financial years until it does not meet at least 2 of the 3 the past two consecutive financial years.

 

By outsourcing your routine payroll administration to us, you are able to concentrate on more pressing and strategic matters in developing your business as well as avoid the hassle of fixed overheads, staff turnover, training and absenteeism. Some of the advantages of outsourcing are as follows:

  • Cost-effective – It will cost you less than hiring a full-time officer
  • Additional confidentiality – You will feel assured that no financial information or payroll records or reports are found lying around in the office
  • Timely financial reporting/payroll run – You need not worry about delays when an officer is on urgent leave, resigns or when your financial/payroll software is giving problems
  • Improved workplace productivity – Valuable internal resources such as personnel, computer systems, peripherals and software programs are no longer tied up
  • A solution to headcount problems – Companies who employ contract/project employees and representative offices can also benefit from the convenience of this service

The eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • Any person (either local or foreigner) can start or register a new company in Singapore
  • Must have a local registered address
  • Must have a local company secretary
  • Must have a minimum of one director and one shareholder
  • Must have at least one director who is a local resident director (i.e. Singapore citizen, Permanent resident of Singapore or an expatriate holding a valid employment pass)
  • 100% foreign ownership is allowed
  • Minimum paid-up capital of $1 only

 

An application for a company name is the first step to the incorporation of a company. An approved company name will be reserved for 60 days from the date of the name application.

A company is usually incorporated within 15 minutes after the registration fee is paid. However, application for registration may take between 14 days to 2 months if it is necessary, due to the nature of the applicant’s business, to refer to another authority for consideration or comments before being granted approval.

The following documents must be lodged with the Registrar for registration:

  • The name of the foreign company and the address of the registered office of the company in its place of incorporation
  • A certified copy of the foreign company’s certificate of incorporation
  • A certified copy of the foreign company’s charter, statute or memorandum and articles or any other instrument constituting or defining its constitution
  • A list of their directors and their particulars
  • A memorandum of appointment appointing 1 or more natural Singapore resident persons as its authorised representative in Singapore to accept on its behalf service of process and any notice required to be served on the company
  • A statement by or on behalf of the foreign company confirming that each of its authorised representatives referred to in the notice lodged above has consented to act as such
  • Notice of situation of the registered office and of office hours in Singapore at time of registration
  • Where the law for the time being applicable to the foreign company in the place of its incorporation requires audited financial statements of its head office to be prepared, a copy of the latest audited financial statements of its head office
  • A description of the business carried on by the foreign company
  • The type of legal form or legal entity of the foreign company

A foreign company is usually incorporated within 15 minutes after the registration fee is paid. However, application for registration may take between 14 days to 2 months if it is necessary, due to the nature of the applicant’s business, to refer to another authority for consideration or comments before being granted approval.

Our knowledge and understanding of the latest statutory and regulatory requirements empower us to look after your company with world class services, whether these be routine such as corporate governance and all aspects of company administration or special undertakings such as corporate restructuring.

Together with our fellow professionals from accounting and tax, we provide an integrated one-stop corporate services solution to meet all aspects of your business needs.

One of our qualified executives can be appointed to act as a named Company Secretary to oversee all regulatory compliance.

Sole Proprietorship Partnership Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) Company
A business owned by 1 person A business owned by at least 2 persons but not more than 20 A business owned by at least 2 persons.
There is no cap on number of partners
A legal entity limited by shares or limited by guarantee or unlimited company and may be formed as:- Exempt private company with not more than 20 individual shareholders- Private company with not more than 50 individual or corporate shareholders

– Public company with no cap on number of individual or corporate shareholders

No distinction between the owner and business No distinction between the owner and business A legal entity distinct from the partners A legal entity distinct from the shareholders and directors
Proprietor personally liable for all the debts and losses of business Partners personally liable for all the debts and losses of the partnership – Partners not personally liable for the debts and losses of LLP beyond the agreed amount of contribution to LLP and/or debts and losses incurred by other partners- Partners personally liable for debts and losses incurred by LLP resulting from his/her own negligence Shareholders’ liability limited up to the agreed amount of contribution to Company.
Firm cannot sue or be sued in its name Partnership cannot sue or be sued in its name LLP can sue or be sued in its name Company can sue or be sued in its name
Firm cannot own property in its name Partnership cannot own property in its name LLP can own property in its name Company can own property in its name
Owner must be individual Partners must be individual Partners can be individual or body corporate (company or LLP) Shareholders can be indiviudal or body corporate
Exists as long as the proprietor is alive and desires to carry on the business Exists as long as all the partners remain in the partnership. Usually if a partner dies or leaves the partnership, the partnership is dissolved and assets sold and distributed, but the partnership agreement may provide otherwise Perpetual existence Perpetual existence
By proprietor, termination or cessation of business By partners, termination or cessation of business By members or creditors winding up or compuslory winding up by the High Court with appointment of an Approved Liquidator By members or creditors winding up or compuslory winding up by the High Court with appointment of an Approved Liquidator
By Registrar, remove from register if the licence expired and has not been renewed By Registrar, remove from register if the licence expired and has not been renewed By striking off By striking off

Completion of the application form and supported by:

  • A copy of the parent company’s Certificate of Incorporation and certificate of Change of Name (if any)
  • Copies of the parent company’s annual reports and audited accounts for the past one year
  • Any other information which will support the application such as brochures of the parent company

Typically the application takes about 5 days to process.

  1. The company has ceased trading or has not commenced business since incorporation.
  2. The company has no outstanding tax liabilities with IRAS.
  3. The company has no outstanding employers’ CPF contribution owing to the Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB).
  4. The company has no outstanding debt owed to any government agency.
  5. The company must not have any outstanding charges in the company’s charge register.
  6. The company is not involved in any court proceedings (within or outside Singapore).
  7. The director(s) have obtained the written consent of the majority of the shareholders.
  8. The company has no current/contingent assets and liabilities.
  9. The accounts attached must be drawn up till the date of cessation indicated in the application (if any).
  10. Company Limited by guarantee must submit the last set of audited accounts.

A company can be reinstated within 6 years from the date of striking off. An order of the court is required to be obtained to reinstate the company which has been struck off.

The deadline for filing final corporate income tax return in Singapore is 30 November of each year. The income tax return is filed on a preceding year basis e.g. the tax return for the financial year ended 2016 is filed in the Year of Assessment (͞YA͟) 2017 and due for filing by 30 November 2017. Keep in mind however that each company is required to file an Estimated Chargeable Income (ECI) within 3 months of the end of its financial year.

Before 1 July 2015
Companies that meet the following criteria are not required to have their accounts audited and can file unaudited compilation accounts:

  • No corporate shareholders; and
  • Total number of shareholders < 20; and
  • Annual revenue ≤S$5 million.

From 1 July 2015
Under the new small company concept, companies which qualify as small companies are not required to be audited and can file unaudited compilation accounts.

A company qualifies as a small company if:

(a) it is a private company in the financial year in question; and
(b) it meets at least 2 of 3 following criteria for immediate past two consecutive financial years:
(i) Annual revenue ≤ $10 million;
(ii) Total assets ≤ $10 million;
(iii) Number of employees ≤50.

All other companies are required to file audited accounts.

Singapore does not impose any tax on capital gains.

The Singapore tax treatment of dividends would depend on various factors such as the nature of dividend distribution, the entity declaring the dividend, whether the dividend is a local or foreign dividend, the recipient shareholder’s status. We are able to offer you tax advisory services driven by your core business objectives. We can help you at a strategic business planning level to understand the effect your business strategies may have on your tax profile. Please contact us to discuss further.

  • Advising on efficient corporate tax structures and group reorganization
  • Giving opinions on tax ramifications of intended transactions
  • Reviewing executive remuneration package to maximise tax efficiencies
  • Applicability and choice of various tax incentives, and the shipping tax incentives administered by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
  • Tax investigations
  • Managing tax objections and appeals
  • Pre-IPO and tax due diligence reviews plus tax reviews of financial models
  • Inbound investments for foreign investors to explore and optimize opportunities in doing business within Singapore and around the region
  • Assisting with the request for rulings from the tax authorities
  • Advising on transfer pricing issues
  • Preparation of transfer pricing documentation
  • Cross border transactions – with the help of our associates in major cities around the world.

The personal income tax filing deadline in Singapore is 15 April of each year. Singapore adopts the preceding calendar year basis e.g. an individual’s income in 2016 is taxed in the Year of Assessment (͞YA) 2017 and due for filing by 15 April 2017.

You are considered a tax resident of Singapore in YA 2017 if you stayed / worked in Singapore for at least 183 days in 2016. Under an administrative concession, you can be considered a resident for YAs 2017 and 2018 if you stayed or worked in Singapore for a continuous period of at least 183 days over two consecutive years 2016 and 2017.

Yes, this benefit comes under the umbrella of benefits-in-kind which refers to benefits received by employees, from the employer, in non-cash form. There is a need to ascertain the tax treatment of these benefits received for compliance in the personal tax filing.

Generally, the taxable value of the accommodation benefit is computed based on the Annual value (AV) of the property depending on whether it is partially or fully furnished, net of any rental paid by the employee.Where the AV cannot be ascertained, the rental cost borne by employer/market rent may be used instead. Housing allowance paid in cash to the employee is fully taxable.

You will likely be considered a resident if you are a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident and your travel is seen as temporary and incidental to your main employment exercised in Singapore i.e. as part of your work here, you need to travel overseas.

Tax Rate for Resident Individual (Resident Rate) from YA 2017 (Income in calendar year 2016)

Tax Rate for Non Resident Individuals

You are a non-resident if you have stayed/worked in Singapore for less than 183 days or if you are a director of a company in Singapore without an employment pass.  Your employment income is taxed at the higher of resident rate (0 to 22%) or 15%.  Income not derived from employment e.g. director fees, consultation income, rental income is taxed at a flat rate of 22% from YA 2017.  Further, a non-resident individual cannot claim personal reliefs.

The term Transfer Pricing (usually referred to as TP) refers to how related parties price goods, services, intangible assets, loans and other transactions between them. TP Rules/ Regulations are established in various countries to ensure that related party prices are reasonable and fair. Singapore tax authority expects related party transactions to be carried out at arm’s length.

Many countries around the world have transfer pricing documentation requirements. Transfer Pricing documentation refer to the records prepared as evidence that the pricing is at arm’s length.

Transfer Pricing Documentation requires the analysis of the company, industry and functions (including assets and risks) to be able to “characterise” the entity and transactions. Once “characterised” for transfer pricing purposes a transfer pricing method is selected and applied using an economic analysis (often called a comparable search). This comparable search is compared to the financial information of the entity being review to evaluate whether the international related party transactions have been conducted at arms-length.

Singapore transfer pricing guidelines outlines that the taxpayers must prepare contemporaneous transfer pricing documentation for all of its related party transactions prior to or at the time of undertaking the transaction, unless exempted. For ease of compliance, the IRAS will also accept as contemporaneous transfer pricing documentation prepared at any time no later than the time of completing and filing tax return for the financial year in which the transaction takes place. For example, transfer pricing documentation for transactions carried in financial year 2016 should be prepared no later than 30 November 2017.

Yes, IRAS may impose penalties under the general penalties regime of the Singapore Income Tax Act for violation of record or information keeping requirements.

The answer to this question is highly dependent on your company’s facts and circumstances. We pride ourselves in taking a practical approach that can be implemented on a day-to-day basis by your finance team. Please contact us to discuss further.

A supplier of goods and/or services, whose annual revenue exceeds or is likely to exceed S$1 million, is required to register with the Comptroller of GST.

A supplier whose revenue does not exceed S$1 million may voluntarily register with the Comptroller if it is beneficial to the business. The approval of such registrations is at the discretion of the Comptroller and certain conditions may be imposed e.g. requirement for a security deposit. Once voluntarily registered, the supplier must comply with the regulatory requirements and stay registered for a minimum of 2 years.

  • Most businesses register for GST to claim back the GST incurred on their business purchases.
  • When GST paid exceeds GST collected, the difference can be claimed from IRAS as a GST refund.
  • Sole proprietorships
  • Partnerships
  • Limited Liability partnerships
  • Companies
  • Clubs, associations, management corporations or organizations
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Statutory boards
  • Government bodies

A Taxable Supply is a supply of goods and services made in Singapore other than an exempt supply. GST is chargeable on a taxable supply of goods and services made by a taxable person in the course or furtherance of his business.

Taxable supplies consist of both standard-rated supply (sales of goods or services provided in Singapore which is subject to 7% GST) and zero-rated supply (export of goods to overseas customers and supply of international services).

Any GST incurred by a taxable person on business purchases used in making taxable supplies can be recovered from the Comptroller of GST.

There are 3 broad categories of exempt supply – Sale and lease of residential properties, Provision of financial services (e.g. provision of loan, exchange currency) and Import and local supply of investment precious metals. GST will not be charged on the exempt supply. Generally, any GST incurred in making exempt supplies cannot be claimed as input tax.

An Out-of-Scope Supply is a supply which is not made in Singapore.  An example of Out-of-scope supplies would be third country sales where the goods are shipped directly from a place outside Singapore (e.g. China) to another place outside Singapore (e.g. Malaysia).  Sales of overseas goods made within the Free Trade Zone and Zero GST Warehouses are also considered as out- of-scope supplies.

Since these supplies fall outside the scope of GST, GST is not chargeable on these supplies.  Businesses are not required to report such supplies in the GST returns.

“Taxable Turnover” is the total value of all taxable supplies made in Singapore (excluding GST) in the course of furtherance of business. This includes the value of all standard-rated supplies (GST at prevailing rates) and zero-rated supplies (GST at 0%), but it excludes exempt supplies, out-of-scope supplies and the sale of capital assets. 

It is compulsory for you to register for GST once your liability to register arises.  However, if you are certain that your turnover for the next 12 months will not be more than S$1 million (e.g.  where you have plans to wind up your business in the next 12 months), you will not be required to register for GST. 

If your taxable supplies are wholly and substantially zero-rated supplies, you may apply for exemption from GST registration.  Where the exemption is granted, you need not file GST return. However, you will not be able to claim the GST incurred on your business purchases of goods or services.  Zero-rated supplies refer to export of goods or provision of international services e.g. provision of international transport.

Once you are liable to register, you are required to inform the Comptroller for GST within 30 days from the date your liability arises. The Comptroller will register you within the next 30 days. You can be registered earlier than this date (subject to the Comptroller’s approval).

Yes. You will be required to account for and pay the GST on all your taxable supplies made from the date that you should be registered and to pay the relevant penalties. This is so, even if you did not collect any GST from your customers.

If you are late in registering for GST, you will be guilty of an offence and be liable on conviction to a fine up to S$10,000 and to a penalty equal to 10% of the tax due in respect of each year commencing from the date on which you are required to make the notification or to apply for registration.

Your responsibilities and obligations include:

  • Accounting for GST on all your taxable supplies. These include the disposal of business assets and the recovery of expenses from third party
  • Displaying, advertising, publishing or quoting GST-inclusive price for any supply of goods or services to the public.
  • Maintaining all business accounts and records for at least five years.
  • Excluding GST claims on purchases incurred for exempt supplies and non-business activities, and apportioning your claim on the residual input tax e.g. GST on overheads expenses.
  • E-Filing GST returns even if there are no business transactions/ no taxable supplies made and pay the tax by the due date, if applicable. Filing of GST return and payment is due one month after the end of the GST accounting period. Penalties will be imposed on late submission and payment.
  • Notifying the comptroller in writing within 30 days if there is a change in your business circumstances. These include change(s) in:

– Business constitution;

– Business name; or

– Registered / mailing address

  • Informing the Comptroller in writing and applying for cancellation of GST registration if your business ceases to make taxable supplies within 30 days from the date of cessation.
  • Accounting for GST on the open market value of all taxable business assets held where the total value is more than S$10,000 on the last day of your GST registration and input tax has been allowed on these assets previously.