Your Guide to Corporate Tax Filing in Singapore

Your Guide to Corporate Tax Filing in Singapore

Your Guide to Corporate Tax Filing in Singapore

Managing your corporate tax obligations and ensuring their timely filing is a crucial part of conducting and operating your business in Singapore. The Singapore government has specific regulations in place regarding corporate taxes, and while it offers a business-friendly environment, it’s important to learn the steps involved to navigate the process more easily. This guide provides the essential information you need to file your taxes accurately and on time.

What Is Corporate Tax Filing?

Corporate tax filing is the process of declaring your company’s income to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) and paying any taxes owed. It’s a mandatory annual process that ensures businesses contribute their fair share to the nation’s development.

Why Is Corporate Tax Filing Important?

Corporate tax filing is important for several reasons, and they include the following:

Ensuring Compliance
Filing corporate tax ensures that your business complies with Singapore’s tax regulations, avoiding any late filing penalties and potential legal issues with IRAS. It protects your business and helps you maintain a good standing with the authorities.
Maintaining Accurate Records
Corporate tax filing plays a vital role in giving you a clear and comprehensive financial picture of your business, detailing records of your income, expenses, and tax liabilities. With these details, you can easily track your business performance and identify areas for improvement.
Eligibility for Incentives
Accurate corporate tax filing allows your company to benefit from various tax deductions or exemptions offered by IRAS. These incentives can significantly reduce your overall tax burden and contribute to your business’s financial health

Who Needs to File Corporate Income Tax in Singapore?

According to IRAS, companies that must fulfil corporate tax obligations include:

  • A business entity incorporated or registered under the Companies Act 1967 or any law in force in Singapore. It usually has the words ‘Pte Ltd’ or ‘Ltd’ as part of its name
  • A foreign company registered in Singapore such as a branch of a foreign company
  • A foreign company incorporated or registered outside Singapore

However, sole proprietorships and partnerships have separate filing requirements. Sole proprietors report their business income under their personal income tax filing, while partnerships file a separate partnership tax return.

Understanding the Singapore Corporate Tax System

Singapore’s corporate tax system revolves around the concept of the Year of Assessment (YA). The YA refers to the calendar year for which you’re filing your taxes. It’s important to note that corporate tax is levied on income earned in the preceding year. For example, in 2024 (which is also your YA2024), you’ll file your corporate tax return for income generated in 2023.

Singapore boasts a flat corporate tax rate of 17%, applicable to both local and foreign companies. This rate is applied to your company’s “chargeable income,” which is essentially your taxable income after deducting allowable expenses from your gross income.

Filing Corporate Income Tax

Key Corporate Tax Filing Requirements

Before filing your corporate tax return, you must understand the requirements to complete the following two Corporate Income Tax (CIT) returns annually at different times:

Estimated Chargeable Income (ECI)
The ECI is an estimate of your company’s taxable profits for a particular YA. You must file your ECI with IRAS within three months of your financial year-end. For instance, if your financial year ends on December 31, 2023, the ECI filing deadline would be March 31, 2024. Some companies may qualify for an ECI filing waiver.

Your company does not need to file ECI in the YA when both the criteria are met:

  • Annual revenue is $5 million or below for the financial year; and
  • ECI is nil for the YA. The ECI is the amount before deducting the exempt amount under the partial tax exemption scheme or the tax exemption scheme for new start-up companies
Form C-S/ Form C-S (Lite)/ Form C
These forms are the official tax return documents submitted to IRAS. The specific form depends on your company’s revenue and other conditions.

Form C-S and Form C-S (Lite) are for companies with income taxed at the 17% Corporate Income Tax rate and not claiming certain deductions or credits in the Year of Assessment (YA), such as Carry-back of Current Year Capital Allowances/Losses, Group Relief, Investment Allowance, Foreign Tax Credit, and Tax Deducted at Source. If your company’s annual revenue is $5 million or below, you will use Form C-S. If your company’s annual revenue is $200,000 or less, you will use Form C-S (Lite).

Companies that do not meet the above criteria must file Form C.

The filing deadline for these forms is typically 30 November of the YA.

Penalties for Late or Inaccurate Corporate Tax Filing

Late or inaccurate filings can result in penalties from IRAS. The penalties can be significant and include:

  • Late filing penalty: If you fail to file your corporate tax by the due date, IRAS may issue an estimated Notice of Assessment (NOA) based on your company’s past years’ income or any information that IRAS may have. Your company must pay the estimated tax within 1 month from the date of the NOA even if you intend to object to the assessment or are awaiting the outcome of the objection. A penalty of 5% of the unpaid tax will be imposed on you if the full payment is not submitted to IRAS by the due date addressed in the NOA.
  • Late payment penalty: If tax payment is overdue by 60 days after the 5% penalty, a 1% monthly penalty may apply for each completed month that the tax remains unpaid, up to a maximum of 12% of the unpaid tax.
  • Inaccurate filing penalty: A penalty ranging from 200% up to 400% of the additional tax may be imposed due to the inaccuracy, depending on whether there is evidence indicating intention to evade taxes. In severe cases where the taxpayers are found to have the intention to evade taxes, they may be prosecuted with a maximum fine of SG$50,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 5 years.
How Can BoardRoom Help You with Corporate Tax Filing in Singapore

How Can BoardRoom Help You with Corporate Tax Filing in Singapore

Navigating Singapore’s corporate tax system can be intricate. BoardRoom takes the complexity out of tax filing, allowing you to focus on running your business. Our team of tax professionals possesses in-depth knowledge of Singapore’s tax regulations and can handle all aspects of your corporate tax filing, from ECI filing and tax computation to preparing and submitting your final tax return to IRAS.

Talk to BoardRoom today to ensure accurate filing and compliance in your corporate tax filing.

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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.

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What is transfer pricing? A guide to understanding opportunities and risks

What is transfer pricing? A guide to understanding opportunities and risks

Transfer pricing is a fundamental financial strategy for multinational companies operating across various jurisdictions. Over the years, countries around the world, including Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and China, have established specific documentation requirements for transfer pricing to prevent tax evasion and ensure compliance.

In simple terms, transfer pricing is used to determine the fair pricing of goods, services or intellectual property exchanged between related entities in the same enterprise. Understanding what transfer pricing is and how it can be used to optimise tax liabilities is an important strategy. However, businesses have to be mindful of navigating complex regulatory frameworks. Tax authorities have sharpened their focus on transfer pricing arrangements, especially in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, where compliance is vital.

Singapore’s tax authority demands meticulous documentation and adherence to the arm’s length principle, which ensures that transacting businesses are on equal footing. This not only ensures regulatory compliance but also fosters fair profit allocation across borders, which also enhances tax efficiency.

In this article, we explore the complexities of transfer pricing and the essential guidelines businesses must grasp to navigate these challenges effectively.

The purpose of transfer pricing: A key business strategy

Effective transfer pricing plays a pivotal role in audit management, global tax efficiency and risk management for multinational enterprises (MNEs). To leverage transfer pricing strategies effectively, MNEs must ensure their records are up to date to navigate complex tax landscapes and mitigate risks effectively.

Compliance and risk mitigation
Effective transfer pricing requires comprehensive documentation to demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements. It provides a clear record of how transfer prices are determined, how they align with the arm’s length principle, and how they are substantiated by economic analysis. This practice is crucial for audit management as it provides evidence of compliance but also mitigates the risk of penalties and disputes with tax authorities.
Tax efficiency
Strategic transfer pricing reporting allows companies to optimise their global tax positions. By documenting transfer pricing policies, the methodology employed and its rationale, a business in Singapore can justify its tax position and allocate profits in a manner that maximises tax efficiency. This strategic approach to tax planning helps to reduce tax liabilities while ensuring business objectives and regulatory obligations are met.
Staying ahead of changes
Businesses need to stay on top of ever-changing regulations and market dynamics, especially when they operate internationally across multiple jurisdictions. Staying ahead of changes can be daunting, but MNEs can enhance their transfer pricing strategies by actively monitoring and analysing shifts in regulations, industry trends and economic conditions. Taking a proactive approach allows businesses to adjust transfer pricing strategies accordingly, maintain compliance and capitalise on tax optimisation and risk management opportunities.

Because transfer pricing reporting combines compliance with proactive risk management and tax-efficiency strategies, for many global businesses, it’s a cornerstone of their corporate governance strategies.

The key to successful transfer pricing in international business

In today’s interconnected business landscape, MNEs face the challenge of optimising transfer pricing strategies across diverse jurisdictions while ensuring compliance with various regulations and tax rates.

As BoardRoom’s Managing Director Asia, Tax, Eunice Hooi understands the compliance pressures faced by MNEs in the region. To navigate this complex terrain effectively, Eunice advises MNEs to adopt a proactive approach to transfer pricing, where the policies align with their overall business functions and value chains.

MNEs must understand how each business segment contributes to the creation of value across the entire chain. Monitoring and adjusting strategies in response to evolving business dynamics is also crucial. This requires regular reviews of transfer prices to ensure alignment with regulatory changes and economic circumstances.

Navigating regulatory challenges

A significant challenge when introducing transfer pricing strategies lies in navigating diverse regulatory landscapes and tax obligations across countries of operation. Each jurisdiction may impose different compliance regulations and tax rates. This means it is essential for companies to stay informed and adapt their strategies accordingly.

The high-tax countries typically have more comprehensive and strict transfer pricing regulations, preventing MNCs from manipulating their related party transactions to artificially shift profits to low-tax jurisdictions, leading to erosion of taxable income in the higher-tax jurisdictions. These transfer pricing regulations aim to align the pricing of transactions between related parties with what would be expected in an open market between unrelated parties.

In contrast, low-tax countries may have less stringent transfer pricing regulations with the aim to attract foreign investments. These jurisdictions generally offer favourable tax environments to encourage businesses to establish their operations within their borders.

To effectively manage these challenges and ensure compliance, many businesses adopt proactive approaches, such as employing advanced pricing agreements and conducting regular risk assessments. Additionally, developing a robust and consistent transfer pricing policy and methodology is crucial. This helps companies not only manage regulatory challenges successfully, but also maximise profitability by optimising transfer prices according to market conditions and tax implications.

Navigating regulatory challenges

Transfer pricing in Singapore: Case study of company in Asia

Consider the case of a business that operates globally with headquarters in Singapore and operational footprints in Hong Kong, Malaysia and China. The organisation’s diverse structure includes a HR Shared Services Centre in Malaysia, a Treasury Service Centre in Hong Kong, manufacturing facilities in China, and a strategic supply chain hub in Singapore. Given its diverse group of companies, this multinational company faces intricate transfer pricing challenges.

The challenge

The main challenge for this company is accurately assessing the economic value of intercompany transactions across its various jurisdictions. Because each subsidiary contributes distinctly to the value chain, it needs to be able to accurately capture the true value creation arising from the related party transactions.

A strategic approach

The multinational company adopted a value-chain approach to transfer pricing, conducting a detailed analysis of functions, assets and risks for each operational function. This approach allowed for the establishment of transfer prices that truly reflect the economic value of goods and services exchanged between the entities, from manufacturing in China to distribution from Singapore.

The key benefits achieved:

Through the value-chain approach, three distinct benefits were achieved for the company:

  1. Strategic decision-making: the company could make strategic decisions regarding resource allocation and business expansion plans based on a more accurate assessment of where economic value is actually being created within the group of companies.
  2. Risk management: by aligning transfer pricing practices with actual economic activities, the company minimised its compliance risks. This tailored approach provided a robust defence in transfer pricing audits, reducing the likelihood of disputes and penalties.
  3. Tax optimisation: profits were allocated according to the value contributed at each stage of operations, ensuring compliance and optimising tax liabilities. This strategic allocation not only adhered to regulatory requirements but also maximised tax efficiency for the company.

The impact:

This case showcases how a tailored transfer pricing strategy can significantly benefit multinational operations. By adopting a comprehensive transfer pricing strategy rooted in the value-chain approach, the company can enhance its operational efficiency, reduce costs and drive top and bottom-line growth in today’s dynamic global business environment.

Expert advice on transfer pricing in Asia

To navigate the complexities of transfer pricing in Asia, Singapore MNEs can turn to specialised tax advisors. By partnering with an expert in the field, MNEs can be confident that they’ll meet their regulatory obligations in the jurisdictions they operate in while optimising their tax positions.

“We act as strategic tax advisors, guiding our clients through the complexities of transfer pricing,” says Eunice. “Our approach involves understanding their entire business processes, operations and legal structure, including IP ownership if applicable.”

As experts on transfer pricing guidelines, BoardRoom works with clients to conduct a thorough review and assessment of every aspect of business operations, spanning procurement, production and distribution. This allows our team to identify key value drivers, cost centres and profit contributors in the business’s value chain. With a deep understanding of these intricacies, we provide personalised guidance.

Once we have a comprehensive understanding of the business, we collaborate with clients to develop a tailored transfer pricing strategy that aligns with their needs and objectives. This strategy includes both the conceptual framework and the necessary documentation, ensuring a robust and compliant approach to transfer pricing management.

Because the BoardRoom team assesses all areas of the business and what’s important for a business’ strategic direction, we offer a level of detail that many other tax advisors don’t.

“Many advisors focus solely on explaining rules and regulations to their clients based on their reading of the guidelines,” says Eunice. “They can articulate the requirements for a transfer pricing strategy and documentation. However, they often lack the practical commercial experience to help their client implement these strategies.

Setting rules is one thing, but the crucial question is how to implement the transfer pricing strategy effectively.”

Implementation is where the real challenge lies, and this requires a deep understanding of business operations, dynamics and practical solutions that align with regulatory compliance and strategic objectives.

Through a client-centric approach, we offer a suite of transfer pricing services:

Value chain analysis
At the core of our transfer pricing services is a comprehensive analysis of our clients’ value chains. We review and assess each stage of their operations, from procurement to production to distribution, to identify value drivers, cost centres and profit contributors. By understanding the intricacies of their value chain, we can assist the clients in optimising their transfer pricing strategies to enhance efficiency, minimise tax risks and maximise profitability.
Ex-ante price setting
One of the key components of our transfer pricing services is assisting clients in setting appropriate transfer prices before transactions occur. Through market analysis, benchmarking studies, and economic modelling, we assist clients in setting the prices for intercompany transactions at arm’s length and complying with relevant regulations.
By establishing clear and defensible pricing policies upfront, we help clients mitigate the risk of transfer pricing adjustments, penalties and disputes with tax authorities.
Ex-post price testing
In addition to proactive ex-ante price setting, our transfer pricing services encompass ex-post price testing to validate the arm’s length nature of intercompany transactions. We employ statistical techniques, such as comparable profits methods and transactional net margin methods, to assess the accuracy and reliability of transfer prices.
We assist clients in conducting regular transfer pricing reviews, giving the clients the assurance that their transfer pricing policies withstand scrutiny and align with best practices, thus minimising the risk of non-compliance and potential financial consequences.
Transfer pricing partner in Singapore

Your transfer pricing partner in Singapore

At BoardRoom, we play an important role in helping businesses understand the intricacies of transfer pricing, its meaning and its importance in their overall strategic activities in Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and China. Through guidance, meticulous analysis and proactive implementation, we help our MNE clients navigate the complexities of transfer pricing regulations and optimise their tax positions.

Enterprises seeking guidance on everything to do with transfer pricing in Asia, come to us because they want a partner who can capitalise on opportunities and ensure compliance. Please contact us today to discover what our team can do for you.

Contact BoardRoom for more information:


Eunice Hooi

Managing Director Asia, Tax

E: [email protected]

T: +65 6536 5355

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The power of BPO in facilitating overseas business growth

The power of BPO in facilitating overseas business growth

The power of BPO in facilitating overseas business growth

Expanding a business overseas is a critical growth goal for many organisations. The appeal of new markets is enticing, but the challenges of moving into offshore territories can be overwhelming.

Understanding and complying with diverse, unfamiliar legal frameworks, tax structures and regulatory compliance standards in foreign territories is a complex process, and non-compliance can result in far-reaching consequences for any business. For owners, entrepreneurs and leaders keen to pursue overseas opportunities but needing an in-depth understanding of local issues, specialist business process outsourcing (BPO) services can be essential to safe and successful expansion.

Through a BPO partner, businesses gain insights into local compliance and strategic support in navigating the intricate process of establishing and growing your presence in new markets.

In this article, we explore what a BPO provider is, what they do for their clients, and how BPO can help clients navigate regulatory complexities when considering expansion into Asia.

What is BPO? Your key to successful international expansion

Running a business, especially one that is expanding globally, is complex and can be fraught with compliance risks. Missteps in unfamiliar areas can lead to significant consequences, demanding careful navigation, knowledge and skills. That is where business process outsourcing (BPO) comes in. BPO occurs when a business outsources critical backend functions to external entities.

However, it’s important to recognise that certain functions will come with an increased need to find a provider that specialises in regulatory compliance.

Some of these functions are:

When you engage an expert BPO service provider with specialised skills in regulatory compliance to outsource these critical functions to, your staff can concentrate on your business’s core competencies. By working with an expert provider and also being aware of how each function interplays with your company’s broader operations and expansion goals, risk can be mitigated, ensuring the integrity and continuity of your core business activities.

There are several fundamental advantages of partnering with a compliance focused BPO provider:

Access to specialised skills and local knowledge that may not be readily available within your organisation. This expertise ensures accuracy in compliance and allows easier navigation of in-country requirements and valuable insights into local markets.
Efficiently scale operations especially when expanding internationally, by tapping into vast pools of experienced professionals through the services provided.
Gain access to advanced technologies compliant with regulations, allowing optimisation of internal processes, guaranteeing streamlined operations, while mitigating the risk of non-compliance.
Benefit from a commitment to adapt to changing regulations while maintaining stringent compliance standards, mitigating risks, and ensuring continuous agility in navigating a dynamic regulatory environment.
Your key to successful international expansion

Navigating your expansion into Asia

Asia’s robust economic growth and diverse markets make it an increasingly attractive destination for business expansion. In this rapidly growing business environment, understanding the key factors crucial for successful business expansion is pivotal for tapping into the region’s unique opportunities.

Here are four important factors to look out for in selecting your BPO provider:

The complexity of local regulations

Business owners entering new markets in Asia must understand that the regulatory landscape in the region has evolved and continues to evolve rapidly. Hugo Walkinshaw, Group Chief Executive Officer of BoardRoom, has this advice for foreign investors entering Asia. “There’s some commonality among Commonwealth countries, but you cannot assume if you have a footprint in one country, you can easily take that elsewhere. We advise businesses to be aware that Asia’s not one place.”

Just as every country has a unique culture, language, time zone and climate, so too are its regulatory framework, laws, processes and ESG standards. Therefore, it is recommended you get advice from a BPO provider who has the experience in regulatory compliance and deep relationships with the regulators in the country you are planning to enter.

Owners and business leaders who fail to consider the complex regulations are putting their personal and business reputations at risk.

Compliance focused BPO provider

Leveraging technology in an evolving regulatory landscape

Technology is changing how businesses operate, and the regulations that govern technology are also evolving rapidly. This complexity is magnified in Asia due to the diverse legal and technological landscapes across different countries.

An example is data security, which has become increasingly complex in a rapidly-digitised world where data is valuable, and automation is commonplace. Businesses have a duty of care to themselves, their staff and their customers to protect data and information systems. A service provider with sound security systems in place is an essential layer of protection to your business, ensuring compliance with local data protection laws. This is especially crucial for functions like payroll, where sensitive employee data must be handled with care and accuracy across different legal frameworks.

Partnering with a compliance-focused service provider who understands these regulations and leverages the latest technology provides assurance that compliance requirements are consistently met.

Geopolitical and economic concerns

The Y2K scare, the 1997 Asian crisis, the 2007-08 Global Financial Crisis and COVID-19 – the past two decades have been punctuated by massive economic uncertainty and geopolitical volatility. These factors make for an increasingly complex environment for businesses. However, Hugo says economic opportunities in the region are still compelling.

A corporate services provider that offers an integrated suite of services across multiple countries can leverage regional expertise and serve as a single point of contact for businesses moving into Asia. Furthermore, businesses ought to seek a seasoned provider with a appropriate market presence that is aligned with your expansion goals. These providers will have first-hand experience navigating legislative changes and are better positioned to address the needs of businesses amidst volatile geopolitical and economic uncertainty.

Ensuring the right coverage

When choosing a BPO provider, it is important to understand their size and scale. What services do they provide, and which countries do they operate in?

Businesses entering Asia will find many providers that Hugo calls “single-service, single-country local players”. But these might not offer a comprehensive enough service for your business. Choosing a provider that operates in several countries with a range of services is often a better option, allowing your business to enter whichever country you decide to expand into.

Furthermore, a service provider with regional expertise and integrated services like corporate secretarial and tax advisory can also help optimise your business’s tax payouts. This starts at the incorporation stage with the advice on the most advantageous business structure. Different business structures have varying tax implications, and a knowledgeable service provider can navigate these intricacies to ensure that your business benefits from tax efficiency while remaining compliant.

Leveraging technology in an evolving regulatory landscape

BoardRoom: your compliance focused BPO partner

Successfully establishing a business in Asia requires a deep understanding of its laws and regulatory structures. Regulatory compliance-focused BPO service providers equipped with this expertise offer invaluable guidance to help businesses navigate the complexities of regional expansion. They take on the responsibility of a range of business processes, freeing up your time and resources to grow your business.

At BoardRoom, we have the regional expertise to help your business navigate the complex regulatory landscapes and technology integration in various Asian nations.

Our multi-service offering and our years of experience managing cross-border expansion means you get integrated, efficient solutions to help your business succeed:

Contact our team for your expansion needs now!

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Singapore’s variable capital company: a guide to VCC benefits and setup

Singapore’s variable capital company a guide to VCC benefits and setup

Singapore’s variable capital company: a guide to VCC benefits and setup

In the evolving landscape of Singapore’s financial sector, variable capital companies (VCCs) have emerged as a prominent and flexible solution for diverse investment needs.

Thanks to its innovative structure, the VCC has led an increase in investment flows into the city-state, and has helped to propel Singapore firmly onto the global stage as a destination of choice for fund managers and family offices. This has also led to opportunities for professionals through the creation of local jobs. In response to the high demand, the Singaporean government recently extended the Variable Capital Companies Grant Scheme to 15 January 2025.

This article provides an overview of the VCC to help you decide if it is the right investment vehicle for you. In consultation with multiple business experts, we explain what a variable capital company is and the benefits it offers. We will also explain the setup process and provide advice for giving your entity the best chance of success in the region.

The VCC structure and its unique benefits

The VCC is an innovative structure offering many benefits for investment managers in Singapore – particularly high-net-worth individuals and families.

“The introduction of the VCC Framework at the start of 2020 further strengthened Singapore’s value proposition as a leading full-service asset management hub,” explains Eunice Hooi, Head of Corporate Secretarial for BoardRoom Singapore.

Like private limited companies, VCCs are governed by a board of directors and have shareholders who own shares in the fund. They also offer limited liability for shareholders and directors, as they are considered a separate legal personality (this means that shareholders and directors are protected in cases of litigation against the company).

However, VCCs have unique benefits that may make them a preferred structure for investment managers. In contrast to other investment structures, VCCs offer:

  • operational flexibility;
  • tax efficiency, and
  • privacy.
The VCC structure and its unique benefits
Operational flexibility
VCCs offer investors and fund managers a high level of flexibility across different fund strategies, investor and asset classes.

Importantly, fund managers can use VCCs for both open- and close-ended funds. Open-ended funds allow investors to freely invest, redeem or withdraw shares without shareholder approval, empowering them to respond swiftly to market changes. “VCCs can also pay dividends out of capital, giving fund managers the flexibility to meet their dividend payment obligations,” says Zhan Aijuan, Senior Manager of Corporate Secretarial for BoardRoom Singapore.

In addition, VCCs can incorporate new funds and re-domicile existing funds to a new location.
Tax efficiency
VCCs can access a variety of beneficial tax treatments. Even VCCs with sub-funds are recognised as a single entity at tax time. Distributions from VCCs in Singapore are usually tax-exempt, and the VCC itself may qualify for tax-exemption schemes such as the Singapore Resident Fund Scheme and Enhanced-Tier Fund Scheme.

“VCCs can also enjoy the extensive tax treaty network that the Singapore government has with over 85 countries,” Eunice adds.
While VCCs must submit financial statements to regulatory authorities, they do not need to make these documents publicly available. They can also keep their list of shareholders confidential. This means they offer extra privacy and confidentiality for shareholders.

VCCs can be set up as:

  • a standalone fund or
  • an umbrella VCC with two or more sub-funds, each holding a portfolio of separate assets and liabilities.

Josephine Toh, Associate Director of Corporate Secretarial for BoardRoom Singapore, adds that umbrella VCCs can offer valuable economies of scale.

“VCCs need to appoint a variety of professionals, such as fund managers, company secretaries and auditors,” she says. “Umbrella VCCs enable investors to achieve economies of scale by splitting the cost of using the same professionals across all sub-funds.”

Further, the fund managers can claim a 30% reduction on qualifying VCC set-up costs paid to Singapore-based service providers through the Variable Capital Companies Grant Scheme.

Regulatory requirements for VCCs

Compliance requirements for VCCs encompass stringent reporting standards and governance mechanisms to promote transparency and accountability.

The Variable Capital Companies Act governing VCCs in Singapore is relatively new, and therefore will continue to develop. Fund managers must ensure their VCC complies with this legislation as it evolves.

VCCs also have obligations to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), such as the implementation of processes for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.

Key requirements for the setting up of VCCs include:

  • at least one ordinarily resident director in Singapore;
  • one qualified MAS licensee as a fund manager (this can be the same person as the local resident director);
  • a registered office in Singapore;
  • a Singapore-based company secretary; and
  • an auditor and annual audits.

Setting up a Singapore VCC

A prominent feature of the VCC framework is the option for fund managers to either set up a new VCC or re-domicile their existing investment funds with comparable structures to Singapore. This flexibility offers a range of advantages and can significantly enhance the fund manager’s operations. Below are the steps in incorporating a new VCC or re-domiciling existing investment funds.

Incorporating a new VCC

Companies seeking to expand their presence in Singapore or tap into the benefits of the VCC structure can set up a new VCC. Here are the key steps involved:


Register a name

Register a VCC name via the VCC Portal. Once approved, the VCC must be incorporated within 120 days and adhere to any potential reviews by Referral Authorities.

Determine the VCC type

Decide between establishing a non-umbrella VCC or an umbrella VCC that contains multiple sub-funds with segregated assets and liabilities.

Appoint key personnel

Appoint VCC officers, including director, company secretary, auditor and fund manager. At this point, you will also need to decide on the VCC's first financial year end (FYE) and determine the accounting period length.

Register the office address and constitution

Provide a publicly accessible registered office address for the VCC and submit a constitution detailing the VCC's governance, operations and key stakeholder rights and responsibilities.

Incorporate the new VCC

This can be done directly through the VCC Portal or via a registered filing agent or corporate service provider. The processing time can range from 14 to 60 days, depending on any additional governmental reviews.

Register any sub-funds for an umbrella VCC

Register individual sub-funds under an umbrella structure of a VCC.

Re-domiciling existing investment funds

Re-domiciling existing investment funds

For fund managers with existing overseas investment funds that align with the VCC framework’s criteria, the option to re-domicile these funds to Singapore can be an efficient and cost-effective strategy. This process involves transferring the registration and legal domicile of an existing fund to Singapore while retaining its existing structure. Here are the key requirements needed for re-domiciling existing investment funds:

Eligibility assessment: Fund managers must first determine whether their existing investment funds meet the criteria for re-domiciliation to a Singapore VCC. The existing fund should have a similar structure and characteristics to that of a VCC, making it a suitable candidate for re-domiciliation.

Approval from shareholders: In most cases, the existing fund’s shareholders must approve the re-domiciliation. This process may require a special resolution or a majority vote, per the fund’s existing legal structure.

Regulatory compliance: Fund managers should ensure that the re-domiciliation process aligns with the regulatory requirements of both the fund’s current jurisdiction and Singapore.

Transfer of assets and liabilities: As part of the re-domiciliation process, assets and liabilities of the existing fund must be appropriately transferred to the newly incorporated Singapore VCC. If applicable, this transfer process should ensure the segregation of assets and liabilities for each sub-fund.

Appointment of local service providers: Engage local service providers, including a permissible fund manager, company secretary, and auditor, to ensure compliance with the VCC Act’s requirements. The engagement of these professionals is crucial for ongoing compliance.

Re-domiciliation application: Submit the necessary documentation to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) for approval of the re-domiciliation. The application should include details of the existing fund, the proposed Singapore VCC structure, and other relevant information.

Tax implications: Consider the tax implications of re-domiciling the fund to Singapore. Collaborate with tax advisors to maximise the benefits available under Singapore’s tax incentive schemes, such as the Singapore Resident Fund Scheme or the Enhanced-Tier Fund Scheme.

A trusted partner in Singapore VCC incorporation

A trusted partner in Singapore VCC incorporation

The VCC in Singapore is transforming the investment landscape, offering flexibility, tax benefits and privacy. It attracts wealth, creates jobs and solidifies Singapore’s position as a global financial hub. Setting up a VCC in Singapore involves navigating a complex landscape of legal, financial, and regulatory requirements.

BoardRoom, as a trusted partner with more than 50 years of experience in corporate services, can guide you through each step of the process, from registering your company to corporate secretarial services and setting up an efficient tax structure. BoardRoom can also ensure your accounting and tax compliance meet local and APAC-wide standards for your VCC in Singapore.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help set up your VCC and optimise the tax incentives.

Contact BoardRoom for more information:


Eunice Hooi

Managing Director Asia, Tax

E: [email protected]

T: +65 6536 5355

Related Business Insights

Liquidation of company in Singapore: Guide to Compliance and Tax

Liquidation of company in Singapore Guide to Compliance and Tax Banner

Liquidation of company in Singapore: Guide to Compliance and Tax

The cessation of a Singapore company can occur for a range of reasons, such as changes in strategic direction, lack of profitability or legal issues. Factors like your company’s state of affairs, debt level, business goals and tax status can determine the method of closure.

Especially in the case of voluntary liquidation, having a good understanding of the tax implications of company closure can help business leaders to streamline the process, optimise the tax position of stakeholders and minimise compliance risk.

This article sheds light on the compliance and tax issues surrounding the liquidation of a company and provides valuable insights to help you optimise the process and safeguard the interests of all stakeholders.

What to know about closing a company in Singapore

The two main methods of closing a company in Singapore are striking off and liquidation (also referred to as winding up):

  • Striking off – Private companies that are not actively in business and do not have any assets or liabilities may apply to the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) to be struck off the register. Striking off is a relatively easy, fast and inexpensive process.
  • Liquidation – This formal closure process involves an appointed liquidator who takes control of the company’s assets, business operations, and financial affairs. All bank accounts and assets are under the liquidator’s custody and the liquidator has the power to sell off (realise) the company’s assets, with the net proceeds used to pay off debts and liabilities. Any surplus cash is distributed to shareholders according to their rights and interests under the company’s constitution and Companies Act 1967.

The winding of a company may be either by Order of the Court or voluntary.

There are two types of voluntary winding up which are:

  • a members’ voluntary winding up; or
  • a creditors’ voluntary winding up.

A company’s solvency (its ability to pay its debts and liabilities within 12 months from winding up) will qualify for a members’ voluntary winding up.

Winding of a company

The process of voluntary liquidation in Singapore

To comply with local regulations, Singapore businesses entering members’ voluntary liquidation will generally need to:

  1. Prepare a Declaration of Solvency – A majority of the directors must make a statutory Declaration of Solvency.
  2. Hold an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) – Shareholders need to pass a special resolution to wind up the company and approve a liquidator.
  3. Realise assets and distribute cash – The liquidator will take over the winding up process, using proceeds from the sale of assets to repay creditors in order of priority. Any excess money may be paid to shareholders and employees.
  4. Hold a final EGM – The EGM must be called by giving at least 30 days’ notice and the notice of EGM published in one English local newspaper and in the eGazette.
A majority of the directors must make a statutory Declaration of Solvency.
Hold an extraordinary general meeting (EGM)
Shareholders need to pass a special resolution to wind up the company and approve a liquidator.
Realise assets and distribute cash
The liquidator will take over the winding up process, using proceeds from the sale of assets to repay creditors in order of priority. Any excess money may be paid to shareholders and employees.
Hold a final EGM
The EGM must be called by giving at least 30 days’ notice and the notice of EGM published in one English local newspaper and in the eGazette.

Please refer to the infographic “The process of voluntary liquidation in Singapore“ below for more details.


Prepare a Declaration of Solvency

A majority of the directors must make a statutory Declaration of Solvency, which annexes a statement of the estimated assets and liabilities of the company. The declaration must also show that as at the latest practicable date, at a meeting of the directors, in their opinion, the company shall be able to pay its debts in full within 12 months from the commencement of the winding up. The declaration has to be made within 5 weeks preceding the resolution to wind up and the declaration is filed with ACRA before the notice of the meeting to pass the winding up resolution is sent out.

Hold an extraordinary general meeting (EGM)

Shareholders need to pass a special resolution to wind up the company and approve a liquidator. A copy of the resolution to wind up must be filed with ACRA within 7 days after it is passed and advertised in a local English newspaper within 10 days. The liquidator must, within 14 days after his appointment, file a notice of appointment with ACRA and the Official Receiver. The fact that the company is being wound up must be stated on every invoice, business letter or other correspondence of the Company. Then, directors’ powers will cease on the appointment of liquidator and the liquidator takes charge.

Realise assets and distribute cash

The liquidator will take over the winding up process, using proceeds from the sale of assets to repay creditors in order of priority. Any excess money may be paid to shareholders and employees.

Hold a final EGM

The EGM must be called by giving at least 30 days’ notice and the notice of EGM published in one English local newspaper and in the eGazette. The liquidator will present to shareholders its final account of how the liquidation was conducted and payments were made. It must also lodge the account of the liquidator’s receipts and payments, and a statement of the position in the winding up with the Official Receiver. Within 7 days after filing the account and statement with the Official Receiver, the liquidator must file the account and statement with ACRA.

On the expiration of 3 months from lodgement of the accounts and the final return, the company is deemed dissolved. The books and documents of the company and of the liquidator shall be retained for a period of 5 years after the date of dissolution and may be destroyed at the expiration of the period.

The tax implications of liquidation of a company

Understanding the tax issues involved in company liquidation can help ensure a smooth winding up process that optimises financial outcomes and reduces compliance risk.

In the case of voluntary liquidation, key tax considerations include:

  • Goods and services tax (GST) – Companies must fulfill all GST obligations, including settling any outstanding liabilities, claiming refunds, filing a final return and cancelling its GST registration.
  • Corporate income tax – Companies must ensure all outstanding tax obligations are filed up to the date of liquidation and there are no outstanding tax liabilities. Any outstanding tax matters must be settled before completion of liquidation process.
  • Tax losses and carry-forward – To utilise any unabsorbed tax losses brought forward, the company’s ultimate shareholders must remain substantially (50% or more) the same as at the relevant dates. Any remaining unabsorbed tax losses carried forward in the year of liquidation will be disregarded.

Updated rules for financial reporting during liquidation

Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) has recently updated its guidelines for financial reporting during the winding up of a company.

The Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Act 2018 requires liquidators to prepare a declaration detailing the company’s receipts and payments for a period of 12 months after the date of liquidator’s appointment, and every subsequent period of 12 months.

With effect from 1 May 2021, liquidators can use the same 12-month period as their reporting period when preparing these declaration of receipts and payments. This means liquidators no longer need to split receipts and payments based on the calendar year when filing declaration with the IRAS, making for easier reporting.

Common tax pitfalls during liquidation

According to Ade Teo, Senior Manager of Regional Tax Services for BoardRoom Singapore, a common tax pitfall seen in company liquidation is inaccurate record keeping.

“Some companies do not maintain proper records,” she says.

“Companies without these documents may face challenges in substantiating deduction claims and revenue reporting during liquidation.”

This is why good record-keeping is important in every phase of the business lifecycle, from company incorporation to the end.

Companies with a history of non-compliance with tax filing obligations may face scrutiny from IRAS during liquidation. For companies that have failed to meet tax filing requirements, IRAS may issue chaser letters or impose late filing penalties.

Taking proactive steps to settle outstanding tax obligations will help ensure a seamless liquidation process.

Common tax pitfalls during liquidation

How to optimise company liquidation in Singapore

Given the complex, time-consuming nature of members’ voluntary liquidation in Singapore, engaging a qualified corporate services team to act as your liquidator can be immensely beneficial. If you are unsure how to close a company in Singapore, a reputable firm specialising in corporate secretarial and tax services can help ensure a smooth, compliant process.

“At BoardRoom, our company secretarial and tax teams work closely together to ensure we obtain tax clearance in the shortest time frame,” says Eunice Hooi, Head of Corporate Secretarial for BoardRoom Singapore.

The company secretary’s role in Singapore liquidation includes supporting you with the following activities:

Navigating the entire process of liquidation
Preparing for liquidation by ensuring your documents are in order and debts are paid
Filing necessary returns to local authorities (e.g. ACRA, Official Receiver)
Sending letters to directors regarding cessation of their power
Correspondences with the statutory boards (e.g. IRAS, CPF Board) and banks on the commencement of the company’s liquidation and appointment of liquidator
Informing stakeholders of the liquidation by placing notices in a local English newspaper and on the eGazette

Meanwhile, tax professionals can help you navigate financial complexities and obtain any tax benefits you’re entitled to.

“It is very important to engage a liquidator who has a wealth of knowledge and knows what steps need to be taken at what point in time,” adds Eunice, who has been appointed as liquidator to support the clients’ members voluntary liquidations.

Having the support of a skilled, experienced corporate services team is especially important for the liquidation of a parent company, where multiple entities are involved.

Streamline the liquidation of your company

In the event that your business needs to close down, confidently navigating the tax issues and process of the liquidation of a company is of utmost importance.

For more than 60 years, BoardRoom has been providing expert liquidation guidance for Asia-Pacific companies of all sizes and industries. We can advise you on the members’ voluntary winding up and help ensure a tax-efficient closure that fully complies with local regulations.

To find out how our local business experts can assist with the liquidation of your company, please contact us.

Related Business Insights

The Accounting and Tax Trends that are strengthening Singapore’s Economic Growth Prospects

The Accounting and Tax Trends that are strengthening Singapore’s Economic Growth Prospects Banner

The Accounting and Tax Trends that are strengthening Singapore’s Economic Growth Prospects

As a global hub for trade, finance and technology, Singapore presents a wealth of growth prospects for businesses looking to expand throughout Asia. Its high-income economy, low corporate tax rate and abundance of business incentive programs (such as the tax exemption scheme for new companies) further enhance its appeal in the eyes of foreign investors.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has predicted that Singapore’s economic growth will slow down in 2023, which means your organisation’s resilience is now vital. Building this required resilience necessitates a robust understanding of the latest trends in tax and accounting.

Particularly in the face of increasing expectations for environmental, social and governance (ESG) action – bolstered by the government’s newly shortened timeline for achieving net zero emissions – prompting finance teams to elevate their sustainability reporting.

BoardRoom Singapore’s Director of Accounting, Yang Shuzhen, discusses the most significant tax and accounting trends in 2023 and the strategies you can use to prepare for economic change.

Singapore business tax trends

Singapore business tax trends

The 2023 Budget contained several significant tax updates that will impact the corporate sphere. Notably, the government announced its plans to implement the Global Anti-Base Erosion rules of the OECD/BEPS two-pillar plan.

Developing tax trends in Singapore businesses therefore include:

The introduction of a domestic top-up tax
Preparation by businesses for Pillar Two
Fresh tax incentives
The Singapore GST increase, now already in effect

1. The introduction of a domestic top-up tax

Under Pillar Two, the new minimum Singapore corporate tax rate will be 15% for multinational companies with revenues of at least EUR 750 million. These group entities will need to redress their profits so they are paying a minimum effective tax rate of 15%.

Countries involved in the OECD/BEPS collaboration are still deciding on their approach to implementing Pillar Two. Once the government of each country that your organisation has a presence in has announced how it will implement Pillar Two, you can decide in which country you will pay the top-up tax.

2. Preparation for Pillar Two

The best thing businesses in Singapore can do right now is to undertake an audit to identify where they are conducting their value-creation activities. It is a good time to tidy up your operations and ensure that both your value creation activities and your revenue and profits are recognised in the same country.

In Singapore, the new top-up tax is scheduled for implementation from 2025. Preparing for this change may require major adjustments to business operations, so organisations should begin the process now to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

3. Fresh tax incentives

The 2023 budget announced the following tax incentives to encourage foreign investment and economic growth:

  • Corporate Income Tax rate remains the same, with the partial tax exemption on the first $200,000 of a company’s chargeable income;
  • a 200% tax deduction on qualifying market expansion and investment development expenses under the DTDi scheme;
  • an additional tax allowance for businesses that incur qualifying fixed capital expenditure on approved projects under the IA scheme;
  • 100% IA support on the amount of approved capital expenditure and net of grants for approved automation projects;
  • concessionary tax rates of 5%, 10%, 12%, and 13.5% on income from qualifying banking and financial activities, and corporate and advisory services under the FSI scheme;
  • the introduction of a new Enterprise Innovation Scheme to raise tax deductions to 400% on qualifying expenditure incurred from the YA 2024 to YA 2028 on various innovation boosting activities; and
  • enhancements to the double tax deduction for internationalisation DTDi Scheme.

The budget also announced extensions for a range of incentive schemes across various industries.

View our Singapore 2023 Budget Tax Highlights for a complete list of announced tax updates.

4. The Singapore GST increase

Singapore’s goods and services tax (GST) rate rose from 7% to 8% in 2023. This rise has impacted businesses in various ways, with many organisations facing increased costs across core expenses such as materials, labour, rent and utilities.

Some businesses are choosing to register for GST to claim on the GST paid for purchases. However, there are a few factors to consider to determine whether this is worthwhile for your organisation. For example, you should decide whether the associated compliance costs outweigh the benefits of claiming on taxes paid. Additionally, you must be mindful when fulfilling your compliance requirements for quarterly GST returns to avoid making an error and being penalised for it.

The GST rate is set to rise another percentage point from 2024, which means your decision to register for GST will only become more important.

Singapore accounting trends

Singapore accounting trends

The accounting function is quickly evolving in response to changes in economic growth and environmental sustainability matters, as well as technological advancement.

In Singapore, this transformation is largely characterised by the following three trends:

  • the digitisation and digitalisation of financial management;
  • the provision of meaningful corporate disclosures; and
  • the rise of sustainability reporting.

1. The digitisation and digitalisation of financial management

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital transformation of many vital business functions, including accounting. Now, businesses have the opportunity to use innovative digital technologies to promote efficiency, productivity and stability in volatile times.

For the best results, consider breaking the digital transformation of your accounting function down into three parts:

  • managing your human resources, including the training your people need to utilise new software and follow new processes;
  • selecting the right accounting software depending on your business needs and implementing it effectively; and
  • refining your processes post-implementation for improved results and reduced risk.

2. The provision of meaningful corporate disclosures

Singapore’s Financial Reporting Standards are updated every year, meaning businesses must constantly elevate the quality of their corporate disclosures to maintain compliance. Fortunately, digital advancement is creating opportunities for improved data collection and analysis.

Beyond standard facts and figures, regulators are now demanding more qualitative information in business reports.

“Businesses need to ask themselves, ‘Through our processes, how do we keep track of the narratives and qualitative information we need to satisfy compliance requirements?’” Shuzhen says.

In addition to reducing your business’s compliance risk and improving its reputation, strengthening your disclosures with data-driven insights will also enhance your understanding of your business’s health and outlook.

Business leaders who facilitate strong financial forecasting are empowered to:

  • make informed decisions about the strategic direction of the business; and
  • bolster the confidence of stakeholders by advising them of what is to come.

3. The rise of sustainability reporting

Businesses in Singapore are under pressure from regulators, consumers, shareholders and workers to produce insightful ESG reports. Most accounting teams are already publishing valuable ESG-related information in their financial reports, so they are well positioned to help demonstrate the ESG efforts of businesses through sustainability reporting.

Business leaders can empower their accounting teams to deliver timely, high-quality sustainability reports by implementing procedures for collecting specific ESG data that aligns with stakeholder expectations.

Remember that upgrading your data collection processes can be a complex, time-consuming endeavour, especially amid shifting regulatory demands. The earlier you establish procedures to capture the right data, the easier it will be to file your reports at the end of the financial year.

Skills finance professionals need in 2023

Skills finance professionals need in 2023

This year, tax and accounting professionals can support businesses to prepare for uncertainties in Singapore’s economic growth by embracing innovation and expanding their skill set. The key competencies finance teams now require are twofold.

1. An open and adaptive mindset

“Accounting teams need to be open to exploring new software and using the built-in functionality to understand how it could help them generate financial statements,” Shuzhen says.

“Gone are the days when accountants would merely key in numbers. Modern systems such as Xero can now take care of much of the groundwork traditionally done by accountants, such as capturing and generating data.”

Numerous accounting software options are available to businesses today, so it is important to consider which programs will best serve your needs. Understanding the types of data you need to collect will help you determine which systems are strong enough to generate the information you need.

Business leaders who are hesitant to explore new functionalities serve to limit the possibilities for what their teams can achieve and may struggle to navigate shifts in Singapore’s economic growth trajectory.

2. Well-developed analytical skills

Now that many transactional and data-collection tasks can be automated, modern finance professionals are able – and expected – to take a more strategic role within businesses. “They now have more time to spend on analytical work and quality reporting,” Shuzhen says.

A recent global survey showed that, in 2023, just under half of C-suite and finance professionals in Singapore plan to invest in data analytics capabilities to make better decisions using data. Accounting teams with data analytics skills can make strategic recommendations for optimising operations to minimise the impact of external disruptions and promote business recovery.

Finance professionals should also be able to present data in meaningful ways to specific stakeholder groups – thus maximising the value of the available data.

“For example, if I report to a Finance Manager, they will want to go through all the details, line by line,” Shuzhen explains. “But if I present the information to a Chief Financial Officer, I will do this in the form of a flash report that shows EBITDA and provides some analysis on the ratios important to the business.”

Drive business success in Singapore

For over 50 years, BoardRoom has been helping businesses achieve their expansion goals with our holistic approach to corporate services. Our teams possess in-depth knowledge of local business environments throughout the Asia-Pacific region, which means we can help you consolidate multinational taxes and manage cross-border accounting to ensure strong local compliance, reduce risk and enhance efficiency.

When you engage our expert tax advisory and filing and accounting services, you will also start saving time and money that can be redirected to progress core business objectives.

To find out more, please contact us today.

Contact BoardRoom for more information:


Yang Shuzhen

Director, Accounting & Tax

E: [email protected]

T: +65 6536 5355

Related Business Insights

Benefits of consolidating multinational taxes with one firm

Benefits of consolidating multinational taxes with one firm banner

Benefits of consolidating multinational taxes with one firm

Managing accounting and tax in your company is a complex task. It is one of the most critical business processes to manage, so there is simply no room for error. For organisations that operate in multiple countries within the region, regulations and compliance requirements can be even more involved.

According to Deloitte’s 2021 Asia Pacific Tax Complexity Survey, 80% of respondents believe tax regimes in the region have become more complex over the last three years.

For many tax and accounting executives, finding an international tax advisor in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong or China, who can handle all your accounts at a local level is ideal. But this doesn’t happen for most organisations. At least, not from the start.

Instead, as companies grow organically, they might add offices across the Asia-Pacific region, each with different tax specialists to deal with their country’s specific needs. Perhaps this seems like a smart idea – after all, these specialists will have a deep understanding of the local tax regulations. But managing multiple specialists can quickly raise its own set of problems.

This is why many tax leaders in multinational firms find themselves grappling with:

  • Communication siloes: getting multiple tax specialists to coordinate their operations can be challenging, especially with language and cultural differences at play.
  • Staff turnover: the great resignation is upon us, which means as more employees are leaving, there are more people to train.
  • Technology challenges: each country has its own system and method of communication, which may not feed into each other.

If you are facing similar challenges, it might be a good time to think about consolidating your tax operations with an international tax advisor in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong or China. This advisor can then help coordinate your tax efforts across the region while having one single point of contact, regardless of your base location.

Here is what you need to know about why to consolidate your taxes with one company, and how to choose the right provider for your business.

Do not underestimate the power of local expertise

The tax landscape in Asia-Pacific is constantly changing, with governments regularly introducing new regulations and laws.

This means partnering with a trusted tax advisor to help you navigate the complexities of local tax regulations is crucial for successful operations. Singapore itself has many complicated tax regulations, such as Goods and Services Tax (GST), which need expert local knowledge to understand. Also having a partner that can help you with certified tax planning, financial accounting, and compliance services will help during reporting season, allowing you to maximise tax incentives and benefits.

Choosing a global provider with local offices will give you a premium service at a regional level.

A reliable tax advisory service can also help you drive long-term success in your business by maximising your tax incentives and benefits. Without expert local knowledge, it can be easy to miss out on tax breaks and exemptions that your business is entitled to.

If you’re purely a Singapore-based business, managing all this in-house may be achievable. But multinational organisations need to deal with cross-border issues and any complexities regarding tax compliance that may arise. This can quickly become unmanageable if you don’t have the right partner to help you navigate through it.

So choosing an international tax advisor in Singapore who has connections in other countries, can significantly streamline this process and ensure the business continues to operate safely across the region.

One contact, or many?

When selecting a tax partner, check whether you’ll have a single point of contact or deal with different individuals in each country. If the latter is true, you may be no better off than you would with managing your teams.

Ideally, you want access to a connected ecosystem of tax advisors while only dealing with a single point of contact. That way, you get all the benefits of local tax expertise without the headaches that come with managing in-house teams.

Another important factor to consider when managing tax in multiple countries is dealing with cultural nuances. The Asia-Pacific region is home to a diverse mix of cultures, religions, languages and customs.

woman standing in front of her business team discussing tax compliance

Having people who understand, and can sensitively navigate, cultural complexities is an important part of doing business and maintaining a well-functioning team.

A dedicated international tax advisor in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong or China, can help you to navigate all of these issues, and advise you on the best approach for each country in which you operate.

Tax compliance matters more than ever

As regulations tighten, tax activities are attracting more and more attention from authorities. No executive wants their company to be the subject of a tax compliance audit. At the same time, however, finance and accounting teams are under pressure to do more with less, as budgets and teams are scaled back.

Organisations are also dealing with a workforce in transition. Many employees are seeking a ‘next role’ that offers higher pay or better working conditions – reducing available resources and stretching teams beyond capacity.

Nevertheless, businesses cannot ignore compliance requirements. Singapore has some very strict tax laws, it’s critical that your company does everything it can to follow them by paying taxes correctly and on time. Any business that does not follow tax compliance is doing so at the risk of breaking the law.

Even something as small as overlooking a detail in tax law or inaccurately calculating taxes owed can result in non-compliance.

And maintaining compliance with changing tax laws can be particularly challenging for multinational organisations with business partners all over the world.

business meeting with six colleagues discussing tax notes international

Having a team of professionals that understands not only the tax laws in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and China but also those across the entire Asia-Pacific region, can free your business to focus on its core business. The team can help you to navigate the changing tax laws across the region, and assist you in adjusting your tax reporting processes accordingly.

And of course, if tax compliance issues arise, the team can deal with them swiftly and accurately.

But most importantly, having a trusted team to manage tax compliance services can ensure in-depth analysis of your business structure, before providing industry-leading advice on the best long-term tax solutions. After all, it takes skilled knowledge to structure your business divisions to understand and be able to take advantage of tax benefits.

Seek value with service

One of the biggest benefits of outsourcing your tax function is cost savings. ‘Time is money’, and increased efficiency can substantially improve your bottom line.

However, simply going with the cheapest option may be a false economy. When looking for a business tax advisory service, carefully consider their reputation in the market.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • How long have they been operating?
  • What is their client footprint?
  • How many staff do they have? And more importantly, how well do they retain their employees in the long term?
  • How solid is their track record? Do they have measurable results they can share?
  • How big is their regional and international footprint? Can they support your growing business?

To find an international tax advisor who satisfactorily answers all these questions, you will likely need to choose a premium provider.

The good news? Partnering with an established business tax advisory service gives you complete peace of mind that they will handle your tax matters efficiently, accurately and professionally.

Choosing a premium provider such as BoardRoom also means:

  • Low error rates: we have over 50 years of experience in the Asia-Pacific region and a proven track record of performance.
  • Fast service: we maintain high staff retention rates, so we always have the right amount of people to efficiently handle our clients’ needs.
  • Skilled staff: our staff are highly trained and keep up to date with changes in local regulations.

Think beyond where you are today

While planning for your current tax activities is crucial, any smart leader knows that planning for tomorrow is just as important.

If your business already operates in multiple countries within the Asia-Pacific region, you may be considering expanding even further. This means, of course, even more legal, compliance and cultural differences to navigate.

Therefore, it is essential to check with potential providers about their global capabilities.

For example, BoardRoom is part of Andersen Global, a worldwide network of tax and legal professionals operating in 315 locations. As such, we are well-versed in a range of international company taxation and tax planning issues.

In short, partnering with an international tax advisor ensures that wherever you grow your business, they have people on the ground to deal with the local tax regulations.

Look beyond just tax

When choosing a tax advisory service, it is also worth checking whether they handle other aspects of corporate advisory and management.

As your company expands, you will need to navigate the issues that lead back to the important issue of tax and tax compliance. You will also need to consider company incorporation and corporate secretarial services.

Partnering with a corporate advisory service that offers a full spectrum of corporate services, can help make expanding simpler. It is also more efficient, cost-effective and allows the business to focus on its core operations.

man with calculator tax compliance meaning

Streamlining your operations often becomes more important the bigger you get. Once you start to see the benefits of outsourcing your tax to a trusted firm, you may consider other areas in which they could help, such as:

If you decide to engage a full-service firm to handle your tax, they will already be familiar with your business structure, operations and working style. This will enable them to seamlessly move to support you in other areas of your business.

Cut the complexity by consolidating

When you consider the cost and effort of coordinating individual tax specialists across the region, the benefits of consolidating with one partner quickly add up. Having people with an in-depth understanding of the local tax incentives and benefits your company is entitled to can create significant savings each financial year.

But the benefits extend far beyond mere cost savings into making business simpler.

There is no doubt that tax complexity is on the rise. Having a trusted tax advisor to help you coordinate your growing operations within the Asia-Pacific region while navigating the changing regulations can reduce this complexity.

Speak to our tax experts today about how your company could benefit from consolidating your taxes with one partner, as well as for your international tax services needs.

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Ang Lea Lea

Senior Tax Advisor


Chester Leong

Regional Managing Director, BoardRoom Business Solutions