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Filing Annual Return (AR) is a must for every Singapore-incorporated company. However, the task of filing could be a precarious one especially for the new entrant who is not well aware of the Singapore jurisdictions and its laws. This blog excerpt will outline the ins and outs of Annual Return filing with ACRA(Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority) in brief details.

As per the guidelines of ACRA, each locally based company, regardless of types (private or public) and status (active or dormant), must lodge its Annual Return within one month of the Annual General Meeting (AGM). The authority may impose serious penalties on a person who failed to comply with the on-going regulations. Thereby, you must be careful while handling the compliance related tasks of your business.

What is Annual Return Filing?

Under the section 175, 197 and 201 of the Singapore Companies Act, all locally incorporated companies must hold their Annual General Meeting (AGM) and file their Annual Returns within 30 days of holding the AGM. At the AGM, directors of the company are responsible for presenting an accurate and fair financial report to their shareholders.

A set of statutory compliances to be met by the Companies is stated below:

Compliance Requirements Procedures Under Section of Companies Act
Annual General Meeting (AGM)
  1. First AGM of a company must be held within 18 months after incorporation.
  2. Subsequent AGM must be held within 15 months from the last AGM. There must be one AGM in each calendar year.
Section 175
Filing Annual Return The Annual Return must be filed with ACRA within 30 days after AGM Section 197
Audited / Unaudited Accounts At the AGM, the directors must lay before the shareholders a profit and loss account that is not more than 6 months old at the date of the meeting (section 201). For a public listed company the profit and loss accounts must not be more than 4 months at the date of the meeting. Section 201

The Annual Return of the company is distinct from a company’s financial accounts. AR includes significant information about the company’s legal identity including particulars of directors, shareholders, secretaries and information about paid-up value and registered address, etc. Every company is liable to attach its audited/unaudited financial accounts along with the AR unless the company is exempted (dormant companies).

The company registrar, i.e., ACRA will send a letter to notify the company of the due date for filing AR. The authority sends this reminder 30 days ahead of the deadline.

How to Prepare Annual Report of a Company in Singapore?

The annual report, also popularly termed as the financial statement, is a part of the AR of a company in Singapore. So, one must get acquainted with the procedure for preparation of annual report before filing Annual Return Singapore.

Based on your company’s business activities, you must prepare an annual financial report for the financial year of assessment. Since the report has to be compiled in adherence to Singapore Financial Reporting Standards, it could be a daunting task for the one who does not have a good knowledge of Singapore accounting standards. So, this is where the importance of professional accounting firm in Singapore appears.

If your business has medium to a large volume of accounting transactions each month, it is advisable to take the assistance of a professional to perform the monthly bookkeeping records and keep the ledger clean and organized. In case, if the volume of your monthly financial transactions is low, performing annual or quarterly bookkeeping is sufficient. It is notable that the financial statements of a company must entail the documents such as Profit and Loss Statements, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow Statement, and Report of Changes in Equity.

Audit of Financial Statements/Annual Reports

Once the financial statements are ready, you may require getting the accounts audited by an independent auditor. Auditing is necessary if your company falls under specific conditions, otherwise, you need to prepare unaudited financial statements/directors report as per Singapore Financial Reporting Standards.

XBRL Filing Singapore for Financial Statements Of The Company:

You are required to file your financial statements in XBRL format at the time of filing the Annual Return if your company is

  • An insolvent company (the company is unable to pay the debt)
  • Your company has a corporate shareholder

The companies that comply with all the three compliance requirements (filing an annual return, holding AGM and filing of audited/unaudited accounts) stated under the Sections 175, 197 and 201 of the Companies Act will get a Certificate of Compliance from ACRA.

Since compliance matters are taken seriously by the Authority of Singapore, it is always better to handle the requirements by an expert accountant. You can outsource the tasks to a good accounting firm in Singapore. These firms are adept at handling the accounting tasks including annual return filing, Director’s Report, ECI filing, monthly accounting & bookkeeping, XBRL filing Singapore and so on. If you are on a tight budget, you can search for affordable online accounting service providers such as accountingservice.com.sg. You will get cheap accounting services that are incredibly high in quality.