Is It Necessary to Submit Financial Statements to ACRA?


As many business owners are still confused about reporting financial statements to ACRA, let us tell you a bit about financial statements that need to be submitted and who is responsible for them.


Companies registered in Singapore must file annual returns and tax returns with Accounting Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) annually.


Except for those exempted, all Singapore (SG) incorporated companies must file financial statements (FS) with ACRA. 


Some companies will file a full set of financial statements in XBRL format, while others will file important financial data in XBRL format and a full set of signed copies of the financial statements presented at annual general meetings and/or circulated to members (AGM FS) in PDF

If you own a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability partnership, or limited partnership, you are not required to file FS with ACRA.


What are Financial Statements?


Financial statements are written documents that describe a company's operations and financial performance. Government authorities, accountants, corporations, and others frequently audit financial statements to verify accuracy and for tax, financing, and investing purposes which includes:

  • Balance sheet
  • Income statement
  • Cash flow statement
  • Statement of shareholders’ equity
  • Notes to the financial statements

Companies Act Requirements


Under Sections 201(2) and 201(5) of the Companies Act, directors are responsible to present and lay before the company, at its annual general meeting, financial statements that:

  • comply with Accounting Standards issued by the Accounting Standards Council; and
  • give a true and fair view of the financial position and performance of the company.

What are the director’s responsibilities for the Financial Statements?


Under Sections 175 and 201 of the Companies Act, the company's directors are required to lay the accounts before the company at its annual general meeting and to ensure that the accounts or financial statements comply with the Accounting Standards and provide a true and fair view of the accounts.


A director has the right to rely on information prepared or supplied by professionals or experts whom the director believes to be reliable and competent on reasonable grounds, as well as to rely on professional or expert advice.


On the other hand, the director must act in good faith, conduct appropriate inquiries, and have no knowledge that reliance is unwarranted.


What are the actions taken by ACRA when it appears that the financial statements are not compliant with the accounting standards through the Financial Reporting Surveillance Programme (FRSP)?


When material non-compliances with accounting standards are established, ACRA may take the following actions:

a) Issue advisory letters to inform directors of the material non-compliances and encourage them to take note in the preparation of future financial statements;


b) Seek remediation actions from the company, such as revision of past financial statements. This facilitates the communication of reliable and comparable financial information to investors;


c) Issue warning or impose composition sum against the directors to deter future offense (s)


Failure to comply with sections 201(2) and/or (5) of the Companies Act is an offence, which carries a penalty of up to S$50,000.For aggravated offences committed with the intent to defraud, the maximum penalty is S$100,000 and may include imprisonment of up to two to three years.


It should be noted that the law imposes duties equally on all directors, and non-executive directors, as well as nominee directors, are equally liable for breach of this duty; and/or


d) Prosecute directors in court to deter potential offender(s).


ACRA also works with professional bodies to build the competency of directors and preparers of financial statements.


Application for exemption from non-compliance with the Accounting Standards


A company must acquire the Registrar's approval for an exemption from non-compliance with the Accounting Standards, which includes preparing financial statements using an accounting framework other than the Accounting Standards.


Such exemption is granted in very limited circumstances to uphold the principles of transparency and equality of treatment for all Singapore-incorporated companies.


In particular, the Registrar will generally not allow financial statements to be prepared solely by the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Companies can apply Singapore Financial Reporting Standards (International) (SFRS(I)) and state simultaneous compliance with IFRS in the SFRS(I) financial statements.


How to apply?


Companies must fill in the s201(12) application form and attach the completed application form as part of the transaction filed in BizFile+.


How much is the fee?


It is $200 and non-refundable


Application for relief from requirements relating to form and content of financial statements and directors’ statement


A company is required to obtain the Registrar’s approval for departing from the disclosure requirements relating to the form and content of the financial statements and directors’ statements. 


This includes relief from requirements in directors’ statement to:

  • disclose directors’ interest, or
  • have two directors’ signatures.

To uphold the principles of transparency and equality of treatment for all Singapore-incorporated companies, such exemption is granted in limited circumstances.


How to apply?


Companies must fill in the s202 application form) and attach the completed application form as part of the transaction filed in BizFile+.


How much is the fee?


It is $200 and non-refundable


Summary of filing requirements and data elements:

In conclusion, companies registered in Singapore must file annual returns and tax returns with Accounting Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) annually.

It is important to follow the requirements that have been made by ACRA in compliance with the accounting standards through the Financial Reporting Surveillance Programme (FRSP).