Your quick 5-minute guide to annual returns in Singapore
5 minute read
Did you just receive a reminder from your company secretary about filing your annual return? This guide will explain the steps you need to take to stay compliant this annual return season. We’ve also included a sample timeline for a company with a financial year end of 31 December.
If you prepare and send your company secretary your financial statements within 5 months of your FYE, you no longer need to hold an AGM. This means your company secretary is able file your financial statements with your annual return. If you do not send your company secretary your financial statements within 5 months after your FYE, you are required to hold an AGM and submit this as part of your annual return.
Step #1: preparing your financial statements
One of the most important things you can do to have a smooth annual return process is to prepare your financial accounts promptly after your financial year end. Many subsequent steps depend on having those accounts ready. You need to have your financial statements in order to have your AGM; and you need to have had your AGM before you can file for your annual return.
In most instances your financial accounts can remain unaudited (read our guide on IRAS obligations to find out if you need to have your accounts audited).
Step #2: Hold your Annual General Meeting (AGM)
You typically need to send your notice of an AGM a minimum of 14 days before the AGM, or longer where there is a special resolution or notice requirement; however, a company can give shorter notice for its meetings if the members who are entitled to attend and vote at the meeting agree to it.
It is a responsibility of your company secretary to draft and send the notices of these meetings. These notices are often done online – however, the constitution of the company needs to specify the mode of delivery if it chooses an online method as the default mode of sending notices.
(Want to learn more? We’ve got a guide on AGMs if you’re interested.)
#3 Sending in your AGM and financial statements to your company secretary
You will need to submit details of your AGM and financial statements to your company secretary within 30 days of your AGM. Your company secretary will then file your information with ACRA via Bizfile.
We recommend sending this information across at least one week in advance of the filing deadline. The ACRA site can get overloaded with filing requests which can cause interruptions in service, particularly around peak filing deadlines.
It is a responsibility of your company secretary to draft and send the notices of these meetings. These notices are often done online – however, the constitution of the company needs to specify the mode of delivery if it chooses an online method as the default mode of sending notices. (Want to learn more? We’ve got a guide on AGMs if you’re interested.)
What if my financial statements are not ready in time?
In the event that the financial statements are not ready for the presentation at the AGM and annual return, your company secretary can apply on your behalf for an extension of time. There are costs for filing an extension, but these are reasonably minor.
What if my company is dormant?
You still need to have your AGM and file your annual return. All dormant companies will still need to prepare its accounts in accordance with SFRS (Singapore accounting standards), convene its AGM physically or by written means, and complete annual return filings with ACRA within prescribed time limits.
Not getting your annual return in on time can leave you with penalty fees. Don’t leave it too late. If you would like to learn about how we work with our clients to help them meet their compliance obligations, or if you would like to see an example of an annual return, contact us.