Comprehensive Guide to XBRL Filing Requirement in Singapore

Comprehensive Guide to XBRL Filing Requirement in Singapore

Comprehensive Guide to XBRL Filing Requirement in Singapore

XBRL filing is a mandatory requirement for many companies in Singapore, playing a vital role in the realm of financial reporting. This guide dives deep into the requirements, preparation and process of XBRL filing, equipping you with the essential knowledge and steps to navigate the entire filing process, ensuring a smooth and compliant submission for your company.

What Is XBRL Filing?

XBRL stands for Extensible Business Reporting Language. It’s a standardised format requirement when incorporated companies submit their financial statements electronically to regulatory bodies such as Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) in Singapore.

Why Is XBRL Filing Mandatory in Singapore?

XBRL filing is mandatory for incorporated companies in Singapore, as mandated by the ACRA to enhance transparency, comparability, and efficiency for both regulatory bodies and companies. Traditional paper-based financial statements can be difficult to analyse and compare due to variations in format and presentation. With its standardised tagging system, XBRL ensures consistent data representation across companies.

XBRL Filing Deadlines

To ensure that your XBRL filing is successful, you must be mindful of the deadlines according to ACRA regulations.

The standard deadlines vary between listed companies and non-listed companies:

  • Listed Companies: These companies must file their XBRL data within 5 months from the end of the financial year.
  • Non-Listed Companies: Non-listed companies have a slightly longer grace period, with filings due within 7 months from the end of their company’s financial year.

If you require additional time to file, you can apply for an extension through the ACRA’s online platform. However, it’s recommended to submit your filing within the standard deadlines to avoid potential penalties.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Failing to comply with XBRL filing deadlines or requirements in Singapore can result in penalties from ACRA.

These penalties may include:

Late filing fees
ACRA imposes a fee of S$300 for late filing within 3 months after the due date. However, the fees can increase progressively the longer the filing is overdue, up to S$600 for filing that is due more than 12 months after the deadline.
Compliance notices
ACRA may issue compliance notices requiring corrective action within a specific timeframe.
Disqualification of Directors
Directors of companies have a duty to ensure that the financial statements and annual returns are filed on time. A director who is convicted of three or more filing related offences under the Companies Act within a period of five years will be disqualified as a director, under S155 of the Companies Act.
Striking Off
Persistent non-compliance can lead to the company being struck off the register, meaning it will cease to exist as a legal entity.

Exemptions from XBRL Filing

While XBRL filing is a mandatory requirement for many companies in Singapore, certain entities are exempted from this requirement.

These exemptions include:

  • Solvent Exempt Private Companies (EPCs): These companies are smaller and privately held and have the flexibility to choose to file their financial statements in traditional PDF format.
  • Singapore Branches of Foreign Companies: Foreign companies operating branches in Singapore are not required to file in XBRL. They can submit their financial statements in PDF format to align with their headquarters’ reporting practices.
Financial statements

What Are the Types of XBRL Formats and Their Filing Requirements?

There are various XBRL filing format types, including full XBRL, simplified XBRL, and XBRL FSH for banks or insurers. However, their requirements vary.

The following is a breakdown of these common formats:

Company TypeXBRL FormatDescriptionFiling Requirements (XBRL Taxonomy 2022)
-Listed companies


-Companies with corporate shareholders


-Companies with more than 20 individual shareholders


-Non-listed companies that are not considered smaller companies and publicly accountable

Full XBRLCaptures comprehensive company information in primary statements and selected notes.Balance sheet, income statement, financial statement highlights, auditor’s report, director’s report (selected sections).
-Non-listed companies that are considered as smaller companies and publicly accountable


-Dormant companies


-Companies limited by guarantee (NPOs, Charities)

Simplified XBRLCaptures essential information on financial performance and position.Balance sheet, income statement, statement of changes in equity (may vary).
Banks & Financial Institutions regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)XBRL FSHFocuses on financial statement highlights.Requirements vary based on the size and nature of the institution, typically including a balance sheet, Income statement, cash flow statement, notes to the financial statements, and regulatory reporting.
Licensed Insurers regulated by the MASXBRL FSH (for Insurers)Similar to banks and financial institutions, but with specific insurance details that helps insurance companies comply with regulatory requirements.Balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement, schedules, supplementary information (premiums, claims, reserves, etc.).

Preparing for XBRL Filing

Whether you need to file for simplified XBRL, full XBRL, or other format types, it’s crucial to prepare ahead to ensure a smooth and efficient process. Follow the below steps for your preparation.

  • Understanding the XBRL Taxonomy: The XBRL Taxonomy serves as a standardised dictionary, defining the specific tags used to represent financial data elements in your filings. Familiarise yourself with the available tags, the tag hierarchies such as parent-child relationships, and industry-specific tags outlined in the taxonomy.
  • Mapping Financial Statement Data to XBRL Tags: Achieve accurate mapping by carefully matching financial statement line items to XBRL tags.
  • Learning the Tools Available for XBRL Filing: The BizFinx Preparation Tool  is a free software provided by ACRA for XBRL filing. It can help you map the data, validate the XBRL file, and generate reports to prepare the XBRL financial statements.

XBRL Filing Process

Once you have prepared your XBRL files, you can start navigating the actual filing process by following the below step-by-step guide to ensure every requirement is fulfilled:

  1. Log in to Bizfile+
  2. Select your Profile
  3. Click ‘File eServices’
  4. Select ‘Local Company’
  5. Click ‘Annual Filing’
  6. Select ‘Filing of Annual Return by Local Company’ for companies with FYE before 31 Aug 2018 or ‘Filing of Annual Return by Local Company (For FYE from 31 Aug 2018)’
  7. Enter your company UEN and click ‘Next’
  8. When the E-Form is displayed, verify your company information, select the necessary fields, attach your supporting documents, review and submit.
XBRL Filing Process

Common Errors and Troubleshooting

Even with careful preparation, errors during the XBRL filing process are still a possibility.

The following are some of the common pitfalls you may encounter and should be careful of:

  • Incorrect Tagging of Financial Data Elements:  This occurs when financial data elements are matched with the wrong XBRL tags within the taxonomy.
  • Missing or Incomplete Information: Incomplete data submissions and mapping to inappropriate XBRL tags can lead to filing rejections.
  • Technical Glitches During Upload:  Technical issues during the upload process can sometimes disrupt filing.  These glitches range from internet connectivity problems to compatibility issues between your XBRL software and the ACRA’s online platform.

Apart from gaining a thorough understanding of XBRL Taxonomy, paying meticulous attention while filling in information for submission, and backing up your XBRL file, ACRA provides a troubleshooting guide for users, serving as a helpful reference for them to navigate any technical challenges.

How Can BoardRoom Help You with Fulfilling XBRL Filing Requirements In Singapore?

Understanding XBRL filing requirements ensures timely compliance for submission. Familiarising yourself with the different XBRL formats, exemptions, and potential pitfalls are important to avoid the penalties of non-compliance of your annual return filing.

As a leading provider of corporate solutions, including XBRL services, BoardRoom’s dedicated team of experts can ensure your XBRL filing requirements are fulfilled with a streamlined process to enable accurate, efficient, and timely submission.

  • Expertise and efficiency: BoardRoom has dedicated XBRL specialists who can ensure accuracy, compliance, and timeliness.
  • Software access: With access to advanced XBRL software, we help you streamline the process and reduce errors.
  • Cost-effectiveness: While there are upfront costs, outsourcing can save time and resources in the long run, especially for complex filings.
  • Local knowledge: Our expert team understands the specific requirements of ACRA and can navigate any potential challenges.
  • Peace of mind: Outsourcing allows you to focus on your core business activities while ensuring your XBRL FS are compliant and filed accurately

Contact BoardRoom today to learn more about our XBRL conversion and filing services, and how we can ensure a smooth and efficient XBRL filing experience for your business.

Related Business Insights