Do you want to figure out what is the annual return in Singapore?

What does it include and what is the easiest way to get it done?

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Like all countries, Singapore also requires all financial companies to file their yearly financial details. These are called financial statements and are meant to show investors the true picture of a company’s expenses, assets, and profitability.

In Singapore, the agency where companies file financial statements is Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority or ACRA. It keeps all of the data of businesses and ensures that their financial statements are accurate.

ACRA has simple guidelines about how to file your financial statements. But for large firms and non-accountants, it may easily become very hectic to understand all of the legal and accounting requirements.

Thus, it is very common for Singapore that corporations of all types and sizes hire accounting firms. Businesses don’t want to incur huge overheads of hiring a full-time accountant. But they also want to have a professional accountant file their taxes for them. Hence these firms which offer accounting services are not only common but also very experienced in this line of work.

This may seem odd at first but hiring an experienced firm to outsource such tasks is business as Usual in Singapore.


What is the XBRL framework?

A need was felt that business reporting required some common structure, which was accepted worldwide. This would enable companies to just file their financial statements once, and then they could send the same file to every country where they are legally required to file taxes. This would save them time in compiling tax returns in all of the different formats for the different countries.

Think of it as a universally accepted language of accountants worldwide.


What does the Annual Return include?

ACRA now has electronic submission to make it all easier for the companies who are locally incorporated and required by law to file returns. Unless you are a company limited by guarantee or a Foreigner company and their local branch, you are required to file at least your financial statement highlight in XBRL format. Directors of the companies are required to file the updated financial statement as per ACRA requirements.


Minimum requirements include:

  • Principal activities of the companies like manufacturing or export etcetera
  • Registered officers which include the company secretary and directors
  • Share capital details of the company
  • Registered office address for the company
  • Company name and UEN number must also be included

The Financial statement must first be shared in the annual general meeting. Once this is done the company has 30 days to file their financial statements with ACRA.

Furthermore, there are two types of entities where the ACRA filing requirement does not include XBRL filing. These are sole proprietorship partnership and a limited liability company.


Pricing and Value of XBRL filing

If you look at the professional XBRL filing service providers. Then the fee for different components of XBRL filing looks rather expensive at first. From $200-$500 and above. It may be tempting to look for a cheaper alternative.

But it would be a really bad idea because of many reasons. Firstly, you need an accountant in any case as you are filing Financial returns. Also, you need a local accountant with knowledge of Singapore’s Accounting Laws and ACRA requirements.

These laws are being updated and requirements keep changing from time to time. So, it would be much easier for an Accounting company to keep up with the updates as compared to a single accountant.

On top of all this, the accounting firms are operating in a highly competitive environment. So, they do their best to provide the best services at the minimum possible price.

Perhaps most importantly as the filing has to be submitted in XBRL format. There is no point in taking a risk and giving it to a non-experienced person. As XBRL is a markup language so a simple mistake in syntax could count as an incorrect filing of Annual returns. For a business of any scale or type, this is completely unacceptable. Thus, the best choice when it comes to filing Annual Tax returns in XBRL format is hiring a Professional firm that does it for you.

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