A Complete Guide to Filing Annual Returns for Companies in Singapore

The annual return is a document that must be filed with the Registrar of Companies (ROC) by every company in Singapore, regardless of size or nature of business. There are different organs that will or may require annual return filing and/or similar filings like standard financial reports.

This guide will walk you through the primary annual returns that exist in Singapore and what they’re all about.

Filing with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)

The annual return is a document that must be filed by every company in Singapore, regardless of its size or the nature of its business activities. The purpose of filing an annual return is to provide information about the company’s financial position and performance during the year. It also provides information on the directors’ remuneration, shareholdings and other matters.

Companies are required to file their annual returns within 30 days after the end of each financial year.

Companies can choose to file either:

  • An unaudited consolidated annual return; or
  • A consolidated audited annual return.
  • Unaudited Consolidated Annual Return

Note: An unaudited consolidated annual report is prepared using the accounts of all subsidiaries of the parent company. This type of annual return does not require any audit. However, it may contain errors if there have been changes to the accounting records since the last annual return was filed.

  • Audited Consolidated Annual Report

Note: A consolidated audited annual report is prepared using only those subsidiary accounts which have been audited. If there has been no change to the accounting records since last year’s annual report was filed, then this type of annual return will give you more accurate results than an unaudited consolidated annual account.

In addition to providing information about your company’s financial position and operations, the annual return also contains details about the directors’ remunerations and shareholdings.

If you are the sole director of the company, you should include details about your own remuneration as well as that of your spouse.

If you are a non-resident director, you should include details of your overseas property holdings.

You should also disclose whether you hold shares in another company.

Filing with Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)

The annual return forms part of the tax reporting requirements under the Income Tax Act.

It is important to note that the annual return is not a tax return.

The annual return is used to prepare the company’s tax return.

There are two types of companies that need to file an annual return – taxable companies and exempt companies.

Taxable Companies

Taxable companies are subject to income tax and capital gains tax.

Exempt companies do not pay income tax or capital gains tax.

However, they still need to file an annual report with IRAS.

For example, if you run a small retail shop, you would be classified as an exempt company.

As such, you would need to file an annual statement with IRAS.

Exempt Companies

An exempt company is one that does not pay income tax or CGT.

This means that the company does not need to file an annual income tax return.

Instead, it needs to file an annual statement form with IRAS.

Holding an Annual General Meeting (AGM)

Every company must hold an AGM at least once every three years. However the ACRA may require your business to conduct an AGM annually and not less than 4 months before the Financial Year End (FYE).

At the AGM, shareholders can vote on various issues relating to the company’s affairs.

These include:

  • Approval of the annual accounts;
  • Voting on the appointment of directors;
  • Voting on any proposed amendments to the Articles of Association;
  • Voting on resolutions passed at previous meetings; and
  • Any other matter specified in the Articles of Association.

Shareholders who attend the meeting can ask questions about the company’s affairs. They can also make suggestions.

To ensure transparency, the minutes of the meeting must be published along with the notice of the meeting.

For a more thorough break-down of an Annual General Meeting in Singapore, check out this article.

Keeping Annual Financial Statements in Singapore

Once the AGM has taken place, the board of directors prepares the annual accounts.

They submit these to the registrar of companies within 30 days after the end of the financial year.

The annual accounts are then submitted to IRAS within 60 days of the end of the financial period.

The annual accounts cover all aspects of the company’s finances during the financial year.

They include:

  • Balance sheet;
  • Statement of comprehensive income;
  • Statement of changes in equity;
  • Statement of cash flows;
  • Notes to the accounts; and
  • Other relevant explanatory notes.

The annual accounts provide a detailed breakdown of the company’s financial performance over the past 12 months.

They show how much profit or loss each item contributed towards the overall result.

The annual accounts also contain information about the company’s assets and liabilities.

In addition, they detail the amount of dividends paid by the company during the financial year. Dividends are usually declared at the beginning of the financial year. This is when the board of directors decides whether to declare a dividend or not.

If there was no dividend declared, the board of directors will explain why.

Streamlining the Filing of Annual Returns

IRAS provides a number of online services to help streamline the filing of annual returns.

You can use these services to prepare and send your annual statements to IRAS.

There are two main types of service available. These are:

Online Services – The Online Services allow you to prepare and send your documents directly from your computer. You do not have to print them off first.

Electronic Submission – The Electronic Submission allows you to upload your documents into a secure website where they can be viewed by IRAS staff.

Both of these options are free.

However, you will still need to apply all information and documentation to these channels.

You can always use your Singapore company secretary to handle this aspect of the Annual Returns task.

Open your company in Singapore with Air Corporate and our certified accountants will help your business not only register easily in Singapore, but file all relevant finances for ACRA and IRAS.

Why Singapore

A lot of entrepreneurs choose Singapore as their base because it offers many advantages.

Singapore is one of the most developed countries in Asia. It is located on the island of Singapore.

It is a major global trading hub.

Its economy is growing rapidly.

It is well connected to other parts of the world via air, sea and road transport.

This makes it easy for businesses to expand internationally.

The list could go on for ages, but if you’re already sold, talk to one of our experts and we’ll help walk you through everything you need to know and determine if Singapore is your next big move for your business.

Vivian Au photo
Vivian Au

For many years, I worked at big accounting and company secretary firms in Hong Kong. I started Air Corporate to make the life of entrepreneurs and SMEs easy.

Vivian Au

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