In a major step towards reducing compliance costs and raise the efficiency of the country’s tax collection system, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), the city-state’s principal tax collecting body, has decided to extend corporate tax e-filing facilities to all Singapore-registered companies irrespective of their annual revenue, with effect from 2015.
Every year, all registered companies in Singapore that have received either the Form C or Form C-S package, have till November 30 to file their corporate tax returns even if they hadn’t carried out any business in the said year-of-assessment. Notably, smaller companies that e-File Form C-S have up till December 15 to do so.
“Form C-S is a shortened three-page tax return for companies with annual revenue of up to S$1 million. Introduced in 2012 to make tax filing for small companies easier, the simplified return includes only essential tax and financial information most relevant to them. Companies that file Form C-S are not required to submit their financial accounts and tax computations unless requested by IRAS,” IRAS said in a release.
Over the past two years, Form C-S has gained accolades and recognition for its role in improving productivity for small companies and contributing to greater efficiency. IRAS even won the Best Pro-Enterprise Initiative Award (2013- Bronze) this year for the initiative.
Thus, encouraged by the positive feedback e-filing of Form C-S has received, IRAS has decided to extend this e-filing facility to Form C as well from next year.
In fact, IRAS is overseeing a pilot run right now where companies are encouraged to e-file Form C and enjoy the benefits of instant acknowledgement and an extended filing due date of December 15, 2014.
Based on the feedback, IRAS will launch the initiative (e-filing Form C) nationwide starting next year.
Singapore Companies Preferring e-Filing
Last year, almost 30% (about 25,600) of small companies e-filed Form C-S.
The figure was only about 20% (about 14,000) in 2012.
The increase in the percentage of tax agents e-filing Form C-S for their clients has been similar.
Measures Taken by IRAS to Encourage E-fling Even More
IRAS has decided that from 2014, eligible companies will not be issued hard copies of Form C-S via post. This, IRAS hopes, will encourage e-filing even more.
Moreover, to generate awareness about the concept, IRAS has:
- put forward designated surf centres in its building, which taxpayers can visit up to December 15, 2014, to get help on e-Filing of Form C-S
- come up with an e-learning guide and several step-by-step guides (can be downloaded from elearn.iras.gov.sg) to familiarise the companies with the entire e-filing process
- organised several e-filing workshops where pilot users are given hands-on experience of online filing of Form C
Benefits of E-filing Corporate Tax in Singapore
In a nutshell, the benefits of e-filing Form C-S are as follows:
- Prompts companies to complete certain fields, avoiding common errors made in the paper forms, such as leaving certain data items blank or forgetting to sign the Form. This helps the IRAS finalise companies’ tax matters more quickly
- E-filing has in-built formulae to auto-compute relevant fields avoiding calculation errors.
- Information on company’s name and tax reference number is auto generated through e-filing.
- The e-filing system ensures only those companies that meet the S$1 million qualifying condition for Form C-S are allowed to e-file it.
Instant acknowledgement of submission over secured channel
Instant help via an online facility, iHelp, which reduces the need for manual checking of forms and notes. This saves time and manpower for both the companies and IRAS.