The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) have partnered accounting software providers to co-create a new digital solution that allows SMEs to automate the preparation and filing of statutory returns with IRAS and ACRA seamlessly.
This seamless filing solution is in line with the Smart Nation initiative to help SMEs stay relevant and competitive by equipping them with innovative solutions to digitalise their operations and improve productivity.
New and Seamless Way of Automating the Preparation and Filing of Statutory Returns
Each year, companies are required to file Annual Returns with ACRA and Corporate Income Tax Returns with IRAS. Smaller companies can take up to about 9 hours to manually prepare these returns and file them with both agencies.
To reduce regulatory burden, ACRA and IRAS have partnered accounting software providers to incorporate ACRA and IRAS’ filing requirements into their accounting software. The software automatically generates the required returns for companies with simple tax affairs and accounting transactions. It is also linked to both ACRA and IRAS’ systems via APIs, to enable companies to file with both agencies without the need to log in to 2 separate portals – the ACRA’s BizFile+ and IRAS’ myTax Portal.
With this new seamless filing initiative, it now takes about half-an-hour for companies to prepare and file Corporate Income Tax Return (Form C-S) and Annual Return with Financial Statements in Simplified XBRL format with IRAS and ACRA respectively. This translates to time saving of more than 90% for these companies. An estimated 200,000 SMEs can potentially benefit from this initiative.
Ms Ang Siok Hui, ACRA’s Divisional Director for Customer Experience said, “The seamless filing solution is part of ACRA’s ongoing efforts to make compliance fuss-free and easy. Through private and public partnerships, ACRA plans to extend this seamless filing solution to more statutory filings in due course. We also hope this will encourage more SMEs to adopt digital solutions and make further progress in their digital transformation journey.”
Ms Chow Wai Yee, Assistant Commissioner of IRAS’ Corporate Tax Division said, “IRAS is always striving to improve our digital services so that taxpayers can meet their tax obligations with ease and at their convenience. The seamless filing solution will greatly simplify the filing process for small companies, and we encourage small companies to try it.”
Endorsement by SMEs
GTCL Pte Ltd from the wellness and retail industry was one of the pioneer users to benefit from the seamless filing solution. Mr Terry Tong, director of the company, said, “The solution really helps to cut down on time spent duplicating efforts in preparing reports. Being able to submit the necessary returns to both ACRA and IRAS using one system alleviates the hassle of having to log in to two different systems.”
He also praised the idea of an integrated solution across government agencies, “This is truly forward-thinking, as it reduces compliance burden and increases the efficiency of businesses to focus on growth.”
Puzzle Pte Ltd from the transport industry also lodged its annual return and tax filings using the enhanced accounting system. Mr Lee Tian Xiang, director of the company, said, “The seamless filing solution, which has a straightforward and easy-to-understand interface, has helped to reduce the number of steps needed to prepare for each filing. My company has also benefited from cost-savings by completing the submissions on our own. As the data is auto-generated by the software, it reduces human error and thus gives me greater confidence in the accuracy of my filings.”
Support to help SMEs adopt Digital Solutions
SMEs currently not using any accounting software for their operations are encouraged to digitise their accounting and tax records and improve their productivity. SMEs can tap on the following support schemes for funding of the accounting software:
(a) Productivity Solutions Grant offered by the Enterprise Singapore where a funding support of up to 80% (from 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2020) will be made available on the purchase of pre-approved IT solutions.
(b) Start Digital Pack offered by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to SMEs embarking on their first steps to go digital. SME can sign up for the accounting software at no cost for the first six months, with a minimum 18-month contract period.
(c) Digital Resilience Bonus offered by IMDA where SMEs in the Food Services and Retail sectors may be eligible to receive payouts of up to $10,000. Apart from purchasing the accounting software, SMEs in these sectors also need to meet other conditions such as adopting PayNow Corporate, e-invoicing and HR/Payroll software in order to qualify for the bonus.