All Companies can E-file Tax Returns from 2015

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) has announced that it will be extending the e-filing service of tax returns to all companies irrespective of their annual revenue. Presently only small companies filing the Form C-S are able to file their returns electronically. The results from last year, show that 30% (25,600) of the firms that received the Form C-S package filed online, up from the 20% in 2012. Encouraged by the positive response and the ever increasing proportion of companies wishing to file electronically IRAS has decided to extend the facility from next year to companies filing Form C as well.

It is a mandatory requirement for all Singapore registered companies and businesses to file their corporate income tax return. Regardless of whether any trade or business was done during the tax year they are required to file the return if they receive Form C or Form C-S. Those companies receiving Form C-S have the option of filing their tax returns online.

E-filing is beneficial to the companies and tax agents who file the returns on behalf of the client companies because most of the basic information about the company is pre-populated. This prevents errors and oversights that come along with manual filing. The inbuilt formula automatically computes the estimated taxes payable taking into account eligible deductions thus preventing calculation errors. In addition on filing they receive an instant acknowledgement therefore ensuring timely receipt and preventing any loss of files in transit. The iHelp facility also serves as an online guide to clear any doubts that arise during the process..

It must be noted that e-filing also allows an extended deadline of 15 days. The process makes it easier to store and retrieve data therefore it is widely adopted by the tax agents and companies.

Recognizing the need for small companies that are driven to make a switch from conventional paper filing method, IRAS has taken comprehensive measures to steer the companies towards e-filing. Eligible companies will no longer receive paper copies of Form C-S via mail. IRAS conducts workshops to familiarize the first time users and also has an e-learning guide to educate the users. They have designated surf centers in IRAS to help users file their C-S forms.

Form C-S was introduced for small companies to facilitate easy compliance and improve productivity and efficiency. It is a short three-page tax return form, introduced in 2012, for companies with less than S$1 million revenue. Such companies filing the Form C-S do not need to submit their accounts and tax computation details unless required. This initiative has received wide accolades and won the Best Pro-Enterprise Initiative Award 2013 (Bronze) for IRAS.

Welcoming the initiative Ms. Jacqueline Low COO of Hawksford Singapore says “E-filing generally helps companies and tax agents save time, cost and manpower involved. It promotes organizational and operational efficiency, all documents are in softcopy format therefore electronic filing helps us to save physical space as well as reduce our impact on the environment. As an international finance centre with excellent governance, such initiatives are imperative, and extending this to all companies is a welcomed move of which the benefits will be reflected in the form of improved compliance. Such initiatives improve the enterprise ecosystem of Singapore making it the easiest place to do business attracting enterprises and investors to setup companies in Singapore”.

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