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Compulsory e-filing starts this year for companies with revenue over S$10m: IRAS reminder

COMPULSORY e-filing of corporate income tax returns starts this year for companies with revenue of more than S$10 million in year of assessment (YA) 2017, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) reminded in a media statement on Wednesday.

The deadline for paper filing of corporate income tax returns is Nov 30, but companies doing so online have until Dec 15.

Implemented in phases, compulsory e-filing of tax returns will be extended next year to companies with more than S$1 million in revenue in YA 2018, and to all companies by 2020.

IRAS also reminded companies that they must set up their CorpPass account to e-file their tax returns at its myTax Portal. It said about 70 per cent of companies are CorpPass-ready. Those which are not are advised to set up their CorpPass accounts early in order to e-file their tax returns on time, said IRAS. The CorpPass account set-up guide is available on its website.

To help companies file online, IRAS will be pre-filling certain information such as unutilised capital allowances, losses and donations.

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IRAS also shared filing tips and common mistakes to avoid in its media statement.

For one thing, it highlighted that companies that qualified to file with Form C-S, a simplified version of the Form C tax return, do not need to submit their financial statements, tax computations and supporting schedules - but they should prepare these documents and submit them to IRAS upon request. 

It also noted that companies can claim benefits on qualifying research and development (R&D) expenditure. For YA 2018, these benefits include enhanced tax deductions of up to 400 per cent of the qualifying costs incurred, subject to a cap of S$400,000; or an option to convert up to S$100,000 of qualifying R&D costs into a Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) cash payout at prescribed rates.

In 2017, about 670 companies claimed enhanced R&D benefits, with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) accounting for 88 per cent of R&D claims. Based on the claims processed, 79 per cent of SME claims were granted full R&D benefits, with another 6 per cent of claims adjusted by IRAS on the approved expenditure.

On mistakes to avoid, IRAS highlighted wrongful claims of non-deductible expenses. It gave as example interest expenses attributable to non-income producing assets or investments that produce exempt dividends, such as Singapore one-tier dividends, which are not tax deductible. Provisions are also generally not tax-deductible, said IRAS.

IRAS also noted that companies must maintain proper records and keep the source documents - accounting records and bank statements that are connected to the business - for five years, even after the company has received its notice of assessment for the year. Failure to do so may result in expenses claimed being disallowed and/or penalties imposed, said IRAS.

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