News & Updates
November 17, 2022
Singapore is a business-friendly territory that motivates many investors to venture into the country. Along with that are the laws implemented by the government to regulate the business hub. Tax is the most common subject when the Singaporean business landscape is brought as a subject in a conversation.
Discussing Singapore’s tax scheme is only fair because business owners have many things to learn. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is one of the most common taxes imposed on supplies of goods and services in Singapore. But what is it, and can it benefit all businesses?
Continue reading below and learn more about GST and GST registration services in this article.
All About the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Singapore
All Singapore-based businesses know about the Goods and Services Tax (GST). In other countries, it is almost equivalent to Value-Added Tax, but with a few differences in features. GST’s nature can be defined as a wide-ranging consumption tax imposed on imported goods collected by Singapore Customs. More than that, there is GST levied on all other goods and services in the country.
On the other hand, according to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), some exemptions apply to the following: most financial services, supply of digital payment tokens, sale, and lease of residential properties, and importation and local supply of investment precious metal.
A GST-registered company in Singapore is mandated to collect GST from customers of goods and services rendered. This collection will be paid to the tax authorities to support public spending that benefits Singaporean. The expenditure includes healthcare, education, and security. Currently, GST is expressed as a 7% per cent tax charged on the consumers’ end.
What’s In It for You: Registering for GST in Singapore
Boost Brand Name
The Singaporean business hub is a saturated and competitive market where everyone goes above and beyond to acquire the positions of market leaders. A GST-registered company in Singapore has the impression of an established company. It entitles the right to rally alongside other market giants.
Enable Tailor-Made Business Policies
Registering to GST means making a pool of financial information accessible. With this information, the government can develop new policies to improve the existing ones. It will be beneficial to the growth of many businesses in Singapore.
Lessen Income Tax Rates
The favourable corporate and personal income tax scheme makes Singapore so appealing to most people, especially investors. When the government can keep track of the collected corporate income taxes, it can moderately maintain the personal income tax rates.
Encourage Savings and Investment
People are only taxed when they avail of consumer goods and services in Singapore. Because of this, individual tax rates are kept in check, encouraging citizens to save and invest. Since people are taxed every time, they purchase goods and services, it only makes sense to exempt their savings and investments from taxation.
Reduce Business Costs
Singapore’s tax regime not only benefits overseas investors like it has been lauded in the world, but the government’s cost of administration and collection also benefits from it. GST registration reduces business costs by handing down a portion of the responsibility to the consumer.
GST Registration of Singaporean Businesses
Some considerations need to be looked at more closely regarding GST registration in Singapore. While there is compulsory registration, there is also voluntary registration and exemption. Understanding the conditions governing GST registration in Singapore is crucial to be guided on your next moves.
There are two bases when a company is compulsory to register for GST. First is a retrospective basis, in which the business turnover in the past 12 months is more than S$1 million. The second is prospective basis, in which the business is currently making sales and expecting to exceed S$1 million for the next 12 months. It includes various signed agreements or contracts and expected revenue.
Businesses with revenue exceeding S$1 million should apply GST to IRAS within a 30-day notice. Otherwise, penalties will be charged to non-compliant enterprises. To ensure proper declaration of turnover, anti-avoidance provisions are in place.
Some businesses are not liable to compulsorily register. In this case, they may voluntarily register for GST, depending on their business operations. Qualified businesses are those with plans to make sales or have started making sales of taxable supplies in Singapore.
For additional conditions to voluntarily register for GST, do your research. Or turn to a reliable provider of GST registration services to be guided accordingly.
Exemption for Registration
Businesses that only make zero-rated supplies can apply for exemption even if they exceed the taxable turnover limit of the registration. It excludes a business from GST registration’s administrative requirement and subsequent quarterly filing. IRAS will assess and approve the exemption with the condition that 90% of the total taxable supplies are zero-rated. Input tax and output tax are also considered.
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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.
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November 7, 2022
A complete report of business expenses is expected when filing for corporate income tax in Singapore, as the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore mandated. This covers resident and non-resident enterprises and requires them to declare all they have spent managing and growing their businesses. The declaration should include payments for advertising, renovation, wages, and CPF contributions, to name a few. But it is not something that you should be worried about. Do you want to know why? The IRAS does not allow deductions on all you have spent on your businesses. You are obliged to separate corporate costs into deductible and non-deductible expenses. If you want to learn everything related to business expenses, specifically deductibles and non-deductibles, continue reading this article.
Check out more details regarding deductible and non-deductible expenses in Singapore below. The information is sourced from IRAS, meaning this content is reliable and created with business owners in mind.
What Does Tax Deductibility of Expenses Mean?
Before we delve deeper into the criteria of deductible and non-deductible expenses, let us take time to understand when taxes are charged on business expenses. To clear the air, tax-deductible or deductible expenses are business costs that IRAS allow for deductions from earned income, thus reducing a Singaporean company’s taxable income. In other words, the tax-deductible expenses would lower taxes to be paid.
Meanwhile, non-deductible expenses are not part of an enterprise’s income tax bill. To be more exact, non-deductible expenses are to be added back to your taxable income if you have accounted for them in your financial statements. The IRAS disallows the deduction of these business expenses and you will not be able to enjoy deductions from your taxable income.
For example: If your company’s annual income is S$100,000.00 and it declares business expenses with an amount equivalent to S$20,000.00 (with S$15,000 deductible expenses and S$5,000.00 non-deductible expenses), then the taxable corporate income will be S$85,000.00. To achieve this, you must subtract the S$15,000.00 deductible expenses from S$100,000.00 of your annual income.
Understanding Deductible Business Expenses
Now that you have a good grasp on the overview of what expenses are charged taxes on by IRAS, it is the right time to dig a bit deeper into what qualifies as deductible expenses. In case you are hesitating about what you declare your company’s deductible expenses, here is the cardinal rule. According to IRAS’s published policy on business expenses, deductible expenses encompass costs that entirely and exclusively incur from all the company’s income-generating activities.
Note the accompanying conditions of deductions for business expenses from the list as follows:
- Singapore’s Income Tax Act should not prohibit the deduction of the deductible business expenses
- The expenses must be generated from the revenue and not business capital
- No contingent liability of expenses, which means they should be incurred without the need to peg them on situations that may or may not happen in the near future
- All expenses must be incurred purely for the sole purpose of generating business income
Understanding Non-Deductible Business Expenses
On the other hand, non-deductible business expenses are the direct opposite of deductible expenses. In short, the costs to be categorised as non-deductible should be incurred outside income generation. What exactly does it mean? Capital expenses like the funds spent on fixing assets, company incorporation, and personal expenses incurred by employees, including entertainment and travel costs, are considered non-deductible expenses.
Deductible Expenses For Business
- Accounting fees
- Administrative expenses
- Advertisement costs
- Auditors’ remuneration
- Ad-hoc contributions to employees’ Medisave accounts
- Bank charges
- Cash spend in topping-up of Employees’ CPF Minimum Sums
- Costs for periodicals and newspapers
- Digital taxes imposed through turnover taxes (not income taxes)
- Directors’ fees
- Employee Equity-Based Remuneration (EEBR) Scheme payments
- Employee’s income tax paid by the employer
- Employment Assistance Payment (EAP)
- Exchange loss (trade and revenue in nature)
- Insurance costs for underwriting bad trade debts
- Interest expenses
- Interest incurred on late payment of fees to a Management Corporation for a Strata Title Plan (MCST)
- Interest incurred on loans intended for re-financing previous loans or borrowings
- Intellectual property (IP) licensing expenditure
- Legal and professional fees incurred in trade and revenue transactions
- Medical expenses
- Motor vehicle expenses – including upkeep, maintenance, plus running and financing costs of goods / commercial vehicles
- Office upkeep expenses
- Payments for Insurance premiums
- Statutory CPF contributions
- Voluntary cash contributions to self-employed persons’ Medisave Account
Non-Deductible Expenses For Business
- Acquiring fixed assets
- Bad debts (non-trade debtors)
- Bills before the commencement of business
- Certificate of Entitlement (COE) for motor vehicles
- Digital taxes imposed as income taxes
- Dividend payments made on preference shares
- Exchange loss (non-trade or capital in nature)
- Goodwill payments
- Impairment loss on non-trade debts
- Interest incurred on late CPF contributions
- Interest expenses on non-income-producing assets
- Legal and professional fees for non-trade or capital transactions
- Motor vehicle expenses for S-plated and RU-plated cars
- Voluntary contributions to CPF
- Singapore’s income tax and any tax on income in a country outside of Singapore
- The installation of fixed assets
These are only a few of the costs under deductible and non-deductible business expenses. Should you wish to find the complete list, visit IRAS official website.
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For reliable corporate solutions in Singapore, turn to ContactOne. Our services have been designed to suit our customer base’s needs. Whether starting or growing a business, we have proper solutions for that. Call us on +65 6333 0633 today!
October 14, 2022
Business owners encounter many challenges in getting on top of their businesses—from outdated bank reconciliation and transactions to unbalanced accounts. You name it! Even though executives go above and beyond to avoid these scenarios, they occur more often than expected. The impacts of these uninvited guests include actual trading activity not reflecting on management reports, increasing risks of fraud, strained relationships between businesses, time-consuming workaround, and more!
The best solution is to hire the right workforce to work on your business, especially managing finances. If your business is a small- or medium-sized enterprise, SME accounting is an option worth considering. Either hiring an in-house accounting or outsourcing accounting services will work in your favour as long as you go through the extensive process of finding ideal partners to help grow your business.
Benefits of Good Accounting for SME in the Singaporean Business Landscape
Excellent accounting and bookkeeping are only the beginning. Your company can establish the foundation for accounting’s ultimate benefits when your accountant keeps accurate records. Suppose you want to reap what you sow. In that case, onboarding a competent corporate solutions provider or accountant is one thing you can utilise to make these things happen. Check out what you could take advantage of when working with qualified SME accounting services:
- Make informed decisions
- Manage your working capital
- Forecast accurately with built-in seasonal fluctuations
- Create budgets that are not just a wish list
- Compare current results with prior periods
- Perform strategic analysis with complete data
- Identify capital requirements for expansion with bank support justification
- Vastly improve the selling price of your business
Growing your business starts with essential record-keeping done by an experienced accountant. Although you have to spend for the services’ expenses, the value made in the long run will pay for the cost many times over. Singapore is a saturated market with competent businesses. If you want to achieve breakthroughs, make it a habit only to hire individuals who can work on the same phase as you. More than that, take time to undergo an extensive onboarding process and set out qualifications in the best interest of your enterprise.
Here are a few things to remember when hiring an accountant or accounting services.
What to Look for From Accountants/Accounting Services
Many references have covered what makes a good accountant. However, you should prioritise your business requirements when hiring an accountant or SME accounting services. Begin with determining your needs first and try to work your way around them. Having a full understanding of the essentials of your company will get you far in managing your enterprise. Continue reading below to learn more about the things to look out for when choosing accountants/accounting services:
Commercial experience is a good start when hiring an accountant or a service provider of accounting services. A long list of previous experience in handling commercial businesses ensures that your company is in the right hands. It can be challenging to hire an individual or firm with little to no business experience. The result is that they will learn as they progress in their work, and this can cause delays and is time-consuming. Get the best results by partnering with established individuals or firms.
Hire an accountant or accounting service provider with the right skills to get things done. They should know how to perform a complete and thorough review of your systems, people, as well as processes. Besides that, a corporate accountant should be knowledgeable about documenting your company’s processes so that other employees can follow them. Another vital skill is creating checklists and timetables to guide the business in doing things.
While accountants have many duties and responsibilities, they should pay more attention to one of the essential parts of the job. An accountant should know how to pay your company’s dues. When this is not properly addressed, the possibility of more serious problems is high. Don’t wait for this to happen by meticulously choosing who manages your business’s finances.
Knowledge of the Law
Some businesses in Singapore hire an accountant or accounting services to ensure they comply with ACRA and the laws and regulations set out by regulating bodies. That is why it is important to hire someone knowledgeable about the country’s ever-changing business laws. If an enterprise fails to submit all the requirements in the given period, penalties will be on the way. This is the last thing you want to happen to your firm. Get a reliable accountant or provider of accounting services to keep your business afloat.
Partner with ContactOne Today for Reliable SME Accounting Services in Singapore
Turn to ContactOne today and discover an array of corporate solutions that work. Our services are tailored to client’s needs, ensuring effective and straightforward problem-solving. Call us on +65 6333 0633 or +65 8666 3633. You may also visit our website to get to know us better!
September 28, 2022
Do you know enterprises in Singapore mandatorily hold an annual meeting to update their stakeholders on the business’s health? This meeting is called the Annual General Meeting (AGM), wherein the company presents comprehensive financial statements to shareholders. And in return, they are given the opportunity to ask various questions regarding the company’s performance over the past year.
During the AGM, shareholders also make crucial decisions for the company, including appointing a director or removing one. Learn more about what AGM is all about and what happens during this business gathering that makes it vital to Singapore’s businesses. Continue reading below!
When is a Singapore-Registered Company Required to Hold Its AGM?
Before we dig deeper into the importance of AGM, let’s get to know when a company should hold one. As mentioned earlier, AGM is mandatory, and every Singapore-registered business is required to carry it out annually. However, some companies might be exempted, given certain considerations. Unless the company has dispensed with the hold of an AGM, public-listed businesses must hold AGM within four months after their financial year end (FYE), while non-listed businesses have to organise the annual meeting within six months after their FYE.
The FYE date is the company’s deemed FYE anniversary previously confirmed by the registrar. If there’s no notification from the registrar regarding the FYE date, it is assumed to fall on the company’s incorporation date anniversary. Learn more about determining a company’s FYE by directly reaching out to the appropriate office. This is the best way to address all concerns possible.
Important Considerations Before an AGM Takes Place
Now that the definition of AGM and when to hold one has been tackled briefly above, let’s take a closer look at the things to take note of when conducting an annual business meeting attended by company shareholders. Stick around and jot down some key points to ponder!
Dealing with Resolutions
As defined by the company articles, the common resolutions in an ordinary business include appointment of auditors or directors, distribution of dividends, remuneration for senior directors and executives, and presentation of financial statements for the year. The meeting needs to deal with resolutions according to the notice. Thus, other than ordinary businesses, the resolutions are in the AGM’s notice.
It is necessary to note that the members are entitled to propose any resolution for the meeting as long as it is not previously mentioned in the notice.
Meeting the Quorum
Besides keeping company shareholders updated on business performance, AGM is also the time to meet the quorum. It refers to the minimum number of attendees to proceed with the meeting. If the attendees do not reach quorum, the AGM will be invalid. However, when a quorum is unconstitutional, two members or proxies are allowed to go on with the AGM.
Ensuring Proper Appointment of Proxies
When a member cannot attend the AGM, a proxy can act on behalf of that member. But appointing a proxy takes a proper process to make it valid. With a proxy, a member can be replaced during the meeting. The proxy may also vote with the member’s best interest on top of the priority ladder.
Appointing a proxy by an AGM member should be in the company’s constitution. Other than the AGM, this constitution applies to most of the meetings or the current one. The only assurance a proxy can have is to follow the constitutional procedure.
Preparing Proper Financial Accounts
During the meeting, the directors will present the following documents: the director’s report, balance sheet and profit or loss statements, auditor’s report, and notes on the financial statements. It is important to have these presentations ready before the AGM takes place. On the other hand, prepare copies of these documents to be given to the member with the notice of AGM at least fourteen days before the actual meeting.
Upholding Proper Resolutions Voting
Every member has the right to vote, reinforced by the company’s constitution. On the contrary, a member is exempted from the right to vote when the company sends notifications, denies the member’s right to vote, and when the member has unpaid shares. The members use polls or raise their hands to vote, but proxies are not always allowed to do the same unless the company’s constitution permits them to do so.
Closing the AGM
The company secretary is obligated to document what has been discussed in the meeting through the meeting minutes. As soon as the chairman signs the minutes, the meeting is ended. After that, the secretary will file the document for safekeeping and future reference.
That concludes the list of considerations when holding an AGM for a company. A meeting as vital as this requires thorough preparation and proper procedures. As an enterprise in Singapore, it is essential to go above and beyond to make the annual general meeting successful.
Hire ContactOne’s Business Solutions Services Today!
If you are looking for professional assistance to help start or grow your business, reach out to ContactOne now. We have an array of services to choose from that are tailored to your particular business needs. Call us on +65 6333 0633 or +65 8666 3633. You may also visit our website to learn more about our services.
September 28, 2022
Are there consequences of not hiring tax accounting services? If you are one of the many business owners who thought about it, the answer is yes. Of course, every action leads to various outcomes. And your decisions make the difference between a successful business and an outright corporate fiasco. Learn more about accounting tax services and the effects on your business of overlooking professional corporate support.
Everything You Need to Know About Tax Accounting Services
Business finance management has many structures, and one of those is accounting tax services. According to Investopedia, tax accounting mainly involves business taxes rather than focusing on the appearance of public financial statements. Moreover, corporate tax accounting is Singaporean businesses’ most popular accounting service.
Accountants carrying out tax accounting services prepare tax returns and help people and businesses file forms and pay taxes. These experts know the laws and regulations related to Singapore’s taxes. With ever-changing business policies, working with a tax accountant is crucial for efficiently handling business finances. Moreover, a professional working on anything related to taxes allows your business to save resources, especially money.
Managing your business’s taxation activities totally works just as fine. But make sure that the person on top of it knows what they are doing and only focuses on corporate tax. Because the more things they have on their plates, the more they will not be able to do their jobs right.
Hiring Tax Professionals to Handle Your Business’s Finances
It can’t be stressed enough—every enterprise in Singapore is unique, meaning they have different needs. The same goes for tax and accounting requirements, each firm has a hodgepodge to comply with. That said, settling with a one-size-fits-all approach will not work and only leaves things undone, leading to repetitive work and a waste of resources. Avoid all this by hiring a qualified tax professional.
If you are hesitant to carry out the work yourself, worry no more because many service providers in Singapore offer business support solutions, including tax accounting services. The final thing you need to comply with is to find the right service provider. Take note that it is not easy, so here are some factors to consider when hiring a new tax accountant to be at the helm of your firm. Continue reading below.
Understanding Company Culture
But before going through the entire process of recruiting personnel in charge of business finances, understanding your company culture should be the first step to finding a new accountant. Do this by sparing some time learning your company’s culture, including daily operations, work environment, and types of team members.
When you are familiar with what goes around at the workplace, try categorising your firm, whether ultra-corporate or not. Is it an open and collaborative space? More than that, assess your needs because this will allow you to establish efficient solutions. You and your team are the people who can determine your business’s actual needs, so it is better to take this matter into your own hands.
Consideration and Work Style
Besides understanding company culture, consideration and work style are two things that you should look for in a tax expert. You can identify this by assisting your company’s multiple needs. You will add a new company member by hiring an accountant, which means you should be meticulous in what you are looking for in the newcomer. Do they need to fit perfectly into the existing standards or bring new efficiency into it?
Taxation Skills and Knowledge
The third consideration in this list is identifying the job requirements. Since no company is an exact company of another, job requirements are qualifications unique to your firm. Creating a job description is more manageable as soon as you identify all this. The job requirements should include what a professional tax accountant needs to do and has to work with.
A part of a tax accountant’s job is to collaborate with other personnel inside and outside the firm. Hiring someone with the right skill set to communicate is only fitting. Although a high level of accounting skill is a major plus, it is not all it takes to handle business finances successfully. Accountants need to work closely with authorities come tax season, and they will have a hard time without good communication skills. After all, employees must reach out to address concerns, especially in an ever-changing industry like Singapore.
Only Reliable Tax Accounting Services at ContactOne
Reach out to ContactOne for reliable accounting tax services and more business support solutions. Our team would like to hear from you. Talk to us about your corporate needs, and we will find a way to address them efficiently and cost-effectively. We can walk you through more options if you turn to us today. Call us on +65 6333 0633 or +65 8666 3633 or visit our website.