All You Need to Know About Registered Filing Agents in Singapore
November 17, 2022
November 17, 2022
A business owner in Singapore must comply with certain legal obligations set out by the government to obtain orderliness from starting to growing a company. It includes submitting necessary documents to the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and more. Otherwise, penalties may be charged against the evading business.
The last thing you want for your business is to be penalised for non-compliance, which is preventable at the beginning. Avoid missing statutory filing dates, and ensure compliance with all regulatory obligations by engaging in a registered filing agent in Singapore. They are experts that conduct transactions on behalf of your business in Singapore
Managing a business is a handful of things. Before you even know it, you could be behind deadlines for legal filings. Don’t compromise; tap an expert like a registered filing agent. They will make your life easier and allow you to focus on growing your business. Continue reading below for more!
What Is a Filing Agent?
In Singapore, a registered filing agent is an individual or service provider that takes care of any transaction with ACRA on behalf of the customer engaging in the registered filing agent’s services. It includes the following:
- File or lodge any document, or submit, produce, deliver, provide, or send any document required by ACRA
- Make any application, submission, or request to ACRA
- Provide any legal undertaking or declaration to ACRA
- Extract, retrieve, or access any document, record, or information maintained by ACRA
Qualifications of a Filing Agent
Before engaging with a filing agent, it is crucial to assess their legitimacy. The agent must be a registered individual, or if the filing agent is a business entity, at least one registered individual must act as a qualified individual. Besides that, here are the criteria a filing agent should satisfy:
Filing Agent Is Any of the Following
- An advocate or solicitor (i.e., lawyer) of the Supreme Court of Singapore
- A registered public accountant under the Accountants Act
- A member of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants
- A member of Singapore’s Association of Internal Accountants
- A member of Singapore’s Institute of Company Accountants
- A member of Singapore’s Chartered Secretaries Institute
- A corporate secretarial agent
A Filing Agent Is Fit and Proper According to the Following Considerations
- Has satisfactory previous conduct and compliance history as a registered qualified individual or registered filing individual
- Has a reputable record of whether the agent has committed or was involved in someone else’s professional misconduct, breach of fiduciary duty, or severe negligence
- Has the capacity and capability to fulfil the obligations of a registered filing agent under the terms and conditions of registration
- Should not have a registration contrary to the public interest or that individual’s expected standards to hold will be compromised
When to Hire a Registered Filing Agent in Singapore?
Although an appointed company officer, such as a director or secretary, may carry on various statutory obligations, a registered filing agent’s services may also assist the company with the obligation.
One of the primary duties of the filing agent is to file the documents on ACRA’s online portal, BizFile+, on behalf of the company in light of the legal requirements. With a registered filing agent, you can ensure that your business complies with the obligations on time. A filing agent can also help avoid incurring late lodgement fees or penalties.
Because of the many obligations businesses in Singapore have to abide by, being on top of them can be challenging. For example, companies are mandated to hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) and subsequently file an Annual Return (an electronic form lodged with ACRA containing crucial specifications of the company). It includes the names of the directors and secretaries and the date when the company’s financial statements are created.
All this information takes time to handle. But with a filing agent at the forefront, you are a step ahead of statutory compliance filings and deadlines.
Qualified Registered Filing Agents
If you are looking for a registered filing agent to work with, examining their qualifications thoroughly is a must. The first thing that you should keep an eye out for is an agent’s registration with ACRA. It may be an individual or partnership registered under the Business Names Registration Act.
A business entity incorporated under the Companies Act, a limited liability partnership under the Limited Liability Partnership Act, and a limited partnership under the Limited Partnership Act is also qualified.
Besides the criteria mentioned above, a registered filing agent must have accomplished a mandatory training program comprised of an Anti-Money Laundering/Counter Financing for Terrorism (AML/CFT) course and an AML/CFT Proficiency Test.
In case the filing agent is a business entity rather than an individual, the individual directly or indirectly involved in the management should have completed the same mandatory training program.
However, it should take at least two years if the registered filing agent has previously cancelled registration due to a breach of a prescribed requirement. After that, an individual can reapply as a qualified registered filing agent.