Mr Terry Tong, director of wellness and retail company GTCL, used to find tax filing a tedious exercise, but not anymore.
Previously, he had to file a tax return, an annual return, and financial statements separately to government agencies, namely the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) and the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
Now, a new enhanced accounting solution, co-created by IRAS, ACRA and five software developers, has not only streamlined the filing process for owners like Mr Tong, it has also automated the preparation of a tax computation, that provides data for tax return.
The enhanced solution — which is exclusively available through accounting software such as Netiquette O2O Business Suite and SMECEN — enables Mr Tong to file to both IRAS and ACRA in a single log-in session. Other accounting software such as AutoCount Accounting, Deskera ERP and Realtimme Cloud Solutions will be made available progressively. With embedded accounting functions, the software also acts as a primary record-keeping tool, keeping all business transactions in one place.
Currently, the enhanced solution is tailored for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with an annual revenue of S$5 million and below, and is expected to benefit some 200,000 companies.
Mr Tong says: “The solution really helps to cut down time spent on duplicating efforts in preparing reports. Being able to submit the necessary returns to both IRAS and ACRA using one system alleviates the hassle of having to log in to two different systems.”
IRAS and ACRA say the new accounting digital solution is expected to reduce the time smaller companies typically spend on preparing the returns manually and submitting them — from nine hours to 30 minutes.
Just four steps to breeze through direct e-Filing
With the enhanced solution, companies only need to go through four steps — review, edit, confirm, submit — to file the Corporate Income Tax Return (under Form C-S):
Transport firm Puzzle has already lodged its annual return and tax return using the enhanced accounting solution, finding it a breeze to use.
The firm’s director Lee Tian Xiang says the online solution was straightforward to use, with an easy-to-understand interface, adding: “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.”
Simplified Corporate Income Tax Return for smaller companies — Form C-S (Lite)
Another digital initiative introduced to simplify and speed up tax filing for SMEs is Form C-S (Lite). Companies that qualify to file Form C-S and have an annual revenue of S$200,000 or below can now file Form C-S (Lite), which only requires six essential fields to be completed for companies with straightforward tax matters. This is a two-third reduction in the number of fields required for Form C-S.
SMEs filing Form C-S (Lite) are not required to submit their financial statements and tax computations. However, SMEs are still required to prepare these documents for possible submission if and when IRAS requests for them.
It is projected that about 60,000 SMEs will benefit from Form C-S (Lite).
No paper filing from Year of Assessment (YA) 2020
With the Dec 15 Corporate Income Tax Filing deadline fast approaching, and e-Filing YA 2020 Corporate Income Tax Returns a must, the streamlined tax filing processes made possible by the enhanced accounting solution and Form C-S (Lite) will make the transition to e-Filing a breeze for many SME owners.
SMEs are encouraged to begin adopting these new digital initiatives, and can tap three support schemes to fund their onboarding processes for the enhanced accounting software (see text box below). From YA 2021, the filing due date of Nov 30 will no longer be extended to Dec 15 for those who e-File. This means that all companies must e-File their YA 2021 Corporate Income Tax Returns by Nov 30, 2021. Late filers can face a fine of not more than S$1,000, and in default of payment, a possible imprisonment term of not more than six months.
In light of these new digital initiatives and changes, Ms Lim Siew Gim, director of IRAS’ corporate tax division — services branch, says: “IRAS is constantly seeking new ways to redefine the taxpaying experience. The new enhanced accounting solution and Form C-S (Lite) as additional e-Filing options for SMEs exemplify IRAS’ commitment to provide solutions and services that are customised to our taxpayers’ needs.”
"These digital initiatives will help companies to enjoy greater productivity and efficiency in their operations.”