The Singapore Standard Industrial Classification or SSIC is a set of five-digit codes that the government uses to organise and label different types of businesses in Singapore. Selecting and registering an appropriate SSIC code for your company is pivotal in commencing and managing your business endeavours. It aids in streamlining operations, simplifying regulatory processes, and maximising potential tax benefits. This article will help you understand the essence of the SSIC code, its purpose, and its importance.
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What is the SSIC code and its significance?
The SSIC code, which stands for Singapore Standard Industrial Classification Code, is a numerical system established by the Singapore government to categorise various business fields for administrative purposes.
When setting up a business in Singapore, the SSIC code plays a crucial role in identifying and classifying the nature of your business activities. This code is used to:
- Facilitate Industry Classification: The SSIC code system helps categorise different industries and sectors in a standardised manner. It allows businesses to be grouped according to their primary activities, making tracking economic trends and emerging sectors easier.
- Licensing Requirements: The SSIC code helps the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) determine whether a business requires a specific license or permit to operate. Certain business activities are subject to regulatory requirements, and the SSIC code clarifies which regulations apply to a particular business.
- Tax Incentives: The SSIC code is also utilised by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) to ascertain whether a company qualifies for specific tax incentives or benefits. Different industries might enjoy various tax schemes and the SSIC code aids in determining eligibility.
How to Discover Your Company’s SSIC Code?
Identifying your company’s SSIC (Singapore Standard Industrial Classification) code is straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you find the appropriate SSIC code for your business:
- Determine Primary Business Activity: Identify the core activities contributing significantly to your business’s profits and revenue. Opt for SSIC codes that closely align with these principal activities.
- Match Principal Activities: Ensure that the listed principal activities of your company align accurately with the primary code. This alignment clearly and accurately represents your business’s core operations.
- Focus on Revenue-Generating Activities: If your business engages in multiple activities, prioritise the two that generate the most revenue. Select the corresponding SSIC codes for these critical revenue-generating operations.
- Search on ACRA Website or our SSIC search tool: Once you’ve identified the primary activity, visit the ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority) website. Alternatively, you can use our SSIC search tool. Input keywords that closely relate to your business activities. For instance, enter terms like “shoes” or “footwear” into the search bar if you run a shoe store. The database will present a list of SSIC codes and their corresponding descriptions that align with your keyword search.
Look for the SSIC code that closely aligns with your company’s primary business activity.
- Detailed Description Submission: If none of the available SSIC codes precisely match your business activity, you can submit a comprehensive and detailed business description to Bizfile.
Following these steps, you can confidently assign the accurate SSIC code to your company, ensuring proper categorisation and facilitating various administrative and regulatory processes.
What Does “Primary Activity” Mean in Business?
A primary business activity is the core operation that significantly influences a company’s profitability or value-added (VA). This essential activity substantially contributes to a corporation’s overall financial success. If your business engages in multiple principal activities, opt for SSIC codes corresponding to the two activities generating the most revenue. Additionally, remember that registering your chosen code with ACRA is crucial. Read here for more information.
What to Do After Confirming Your SSIC Code Selection?
Once you have identified the suitable SSIC code for your business activities, the following steps involve thorough checks to gain a comprehensive understanding of your industry and ensure compliance:
- Review Business Licensing Requirements: Delve into your selected SSIC code to ascertain whether your business falls under specific licensing obligations in Singapore. Licensing prerequisites can vary depending on your industry. For example, particular industries may necessitate only one license, while others may require multiple licenses. Take the retail sector as an example: the type of goods you deal with dictates the required business license in Singapore.
- Evaluate Eligibility for Singaporean Grant Incentives and Schemes: The SSIC code also determines your company’s eligibility for various grants, tax incentives, and government support programs. Conduct thorough research to uncover opportunities for benefiting from these initiatives. Singapore is renowned for its business-friendly ecosystem, offering many programs to foster startup growth. Don’t let potential advantages slip through the cracks—after selecting your SSIC code, assess your eligibility for government grants and business incentives. This proactive approach ensures you don’t miss out on valuable opportunities for your business.
Common SSIC Codes and Referral Authorities
Below are examples of commonly used SSIC codes, each accompanied by a brief description indicating potential licensing requirements:
- 56111: Restaurants (may require a license) This code is relevant for restaurant businesses. You should obtain a license to operate legally, depending on your operations.
- 62011: Development of software and applications (excludes games and cybersecurity) SSIC code 62011 pertains to creating software and applications, excluding activities related to games and cybersecurity.
- 46900: Wholesale Trade of various goods without a dominant product. This code applies to businesses engaged in wholesale trade across a range of goods without a dominant product category.
- 69201: Accounting and auditing services, not including online marketplaces (may require a license) SSIC code 69201 involves providing accounting and auditing services. Depending on the specifics, a license may be required to carry out these activities.
SSIC Codes Requiring Referral Authorities and Possible Delays
Specific SSIC codes necessitate review by Referral Authorities before approval in BizFile. This review process can span 14 to 60 days, potentially affecting your company’s incorporation timeline. Here are examples of such SSIC codes:
- Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) – 64120, 64130, 64140, 64992: Banks and Financial Holding Companies
- Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) – 68201, 68209: Real Estate Agency Activities (excluding online marketplaces)
- Ministry of Education – 85211, 85212, 85220 and more: Educational Establishments (excluding “non-academic” nature)
For a comprehensive understanding of whether your chosen SSIC code warrants Referral Authority review, it’s advisable to consult the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). This proactive approach ensures awareness of regulatory processes and the potential impact on your incorporation timeline.
In the intricate business setup landscape, the significance of SSIC codes cannot be overstated. We recognise these codes’ pivotal role in accurately categorising and defining your business activities. Our seasoned team is dedicated to steering you through this often daunting process, ensuring that your SSIC code selection aligns perfectly with your business operations.
By partnering with us, you gain more than just assistance; you gain a trusted advisor invested in your success. From accurate code selection to regulatory compliance, we’re here to simplify the intricate, ensuring you’re poised for growth and prosperity. Contact us today to embark on this transformative voyage.
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