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Navigating Tax Season: Tips and Tricks for Small Business Owners


Navigating Tax Season: Tips and Tricks for Small Business Owners

January 2023

The Lanturn Team

It's no secret that Singapore has established itself as a leading destination for startups and entrepreneurs. With its stable infrastructure, reliable regulatory framework, and business-friendly legal and tax system, Singapore offers a top-notch environment for businesses to thrive. And with a top ranking on the 2022 Index of Economic Freedom and 4th place in the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, it's no surprise that this island nation has become a premier international hub for entrepreneurship and innovation.

Singapore's tax laws are complicated and constantly evolving, which is a challenge for small business owners. Understanding the laws and regulations surrounding taxes is crucial for the success and sustainability of any business.

This article aims to provide tips for navigating tax season in Singapore, making it less daunting and more manageable. Whether you are a new entrepreneur or a seasoned pro, this guide will help you stay compliant and make the most of your finances. From staying organised to claiming deductions, we'll cover everything you need to know.

Understanding the Tax System in Singapore

Types of taxes for small businesses in Singapore

As a small business owner, you must understand the various types of taxes you'll be subject to in Singapore. We'll be discussing the different types of taxes that small businesses in Singapore must pay to have a clear understanding of your tax obligations.

  • Corporate Income Tax
    Businesses are generally taxed on their income at a flat rate of 17%. Check out Lanturn's Friendly Guide to Singapore Corporate Taxes for all the details you need regarding the country's corporate income taxes.

  • Goods and Services Tax (GST)
    Businesses with a turnover of more than SGD 1 million per annum must register for GST and charge 7% GST on their taxable supplies. To know more about this, check out Lanturn's Beginner's Guide to Singapore's Goods and Services Tax (GST).

  • Property Tax
    Businesses that own property in Singapore are subject to property tax, which is based on the annual value of the property.

  • Withholding Tax
    Businesses are required to withhold tax on certain payments, such as rent, director's fees, and interest, at the prevailing rate. 

  • Stamp Duty
    Businesses are required to pay stamp duty on certain transactions, such as the transfer of property and shares.

Small businesses in Singapore are subject to corporate income tax filing, not personal income tax filing. Individuals are taxed on their income at progressive rates; however, if a sole proprietorship or partnership, the individual owner(s) will be considered self-employed and need to file for personal income tax on their share of the business' income.

If you are a freelancer or self-employed in Singapore, you'll want to check out our in-depth Singapore Tax Guide for Freelancers and Self-Employed Persons. This article delves into the tax laws and regulations applicable to freelancers and self-employed individuals in Singapore.


Singapore Tax System - An Introduction to Taxes in Singapore

Singapore is known as a tax haven. Get to know the different types of taxes, the policies around them, and how to compute personal income tax in this guide.

Singapore Tax Filing Deadlines

Staying on top of Singapore's tax filing deadlines benefits small businesses. It is essential to remember that late filing and payment of taxes can result in penalties and fines.

Here is a table of the tax filing requirements and deadlines for small businesses in Singapore:

Tax Type

Filing Deadlines

Corporate Income Tax

Businesses in Singapore are required to file their Estimated Chargeable Income (ECI) Filing within three months after the end of their financial year. The deadline for e-filing and paper filing is the same, and any late filings are subject to penalties. On the other hand, Form C-S/ Form C-S (Lite)/ Form C must be filed by 30 Nov, 11 months from the end of the financial year. 


Businesses registered for GST are required to file their GST returns on a quarterly or annual basis, depending on their turnover and tax obligations. They must file the GST return within one month after the end of the relevant quarter. The government may impose a late filing fee for late submissions.

Property Tax

Property tax in Singapore is based on the annual value of the property, and it is assessed by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). Property tax is payable yearly in advance and is due by January 31st. All other property tax notices are due one month from the date of the notice.

Withholding Tax

Businesses must file their withholding tax returns by the 15th day of the second month following the end of the quarter. The deadline for e-filing and paper filing is the same, and late filings will incur penalties.

Stamp Duty

If the document is signed in Singapore, it should be stamped within 14 days of signing it. If the document is signed overseas, it should be stamped within 30 days of receiving it in Singapore. Failing to do so within this timeframe may result in penalties.

It's advisable to check for any updates and consult with a professional regarding tax filing requirements and deadlines. You can also check the IRAS due dates online.

Tips for Preparing for Tax Season

1. Plan ahead.

By starting your preparations early, you can ensure enough time to gather all the necessary documents and information. It includes financial statements, receipts, invoices, and other records required by the IRAS. Having all of your documentation in order allows you to file your taxes accurately and on time, which can save you from potential penalties.

Another important aspect of planning is setting funds for taxes in advance. As a small business owner, it is essential to understand your tax obligations and set aside funds to cover the cost of taxes. It can help you avoid any last-minute financial hiccups and ensure you have the funds to pay your taxes when they are due.

2. Filing and paying taxes on time.

Filing and paying taxes on time is critical to running your business. One of the essential steps of doing your taxes is keeping track of deadlines. Late filing and payment of taxes can result in penalties and fines. Legal problems and criminal penalties might result from failing to submit and pay taxes. It would be best if you also made it a practice to check with the IRAS for the most up-to-date information. In the IRAS myTax Portal, you may also update your contact information and notification preferences, enabling you to receive timely reminders on your tax filing obligations.

3. Keeping accurate records throughout the year.

Small business owners in Singapore need to stay on top of their tax obligations by keeping accurate and up-to-date records of their financial transactions throughout the year. It includes keeping track of income, expenses, and other financial documents that may be relevant for tax purposes. It will make it easier for them to prepare their tax returns and ensure they are accurate and complete.

One way to stay organised is to set up a system to track financial records such as invoices, receipts, and bank statements. One can do this manually or by using accounting software, which can help automate the process and make it more efficient and accurate.

4. Avail of any possible deductions and incentives applicable for your business.

Singapore boasts some of the lowest tax rates globally, and to support the growth of businesses, the government offers various tax and financial incentives to further lower effective tax rates. There are multiple tax deductions and reliefs that small business owners can take advantage of to reduce their tax liability. Additionally, there are tax exemptions and incentives for specific industries or activities.

Bear in mind that, tax reliefs are typically granted for specific purposes, such as supporting education or investing in approved funds. In contrast, people can claim tax deductions for expenses incurred in earning income, such as business expenses, donations, and CPF contributions.

Here are some government schemes that you can apply for tax deductions if your business qualifies:

Here are some tax deductions your business can take advantage of:

A business can apply for the following applicable tax reliefs:

To maximise the deductions and incentives your business can get, work with an experienced tax professional or accountant.

5. Don’t hesitate to utilise accounting software and professionals.

As a small business owner in Singapore, navigating the tax season can be challenging and time-consuming. Accounting software can help you save time, reduce stress, and can provide you with the following benefits:

  1. Ensure accuracy and minimise human errors: Accounting software can automatically perform complex calculations and ensure accuracy, reducing the risk of human errors and miscalculations.

  2. Ease in Record-keeping: The software can help automate the process of tracking expenses, generating invoices, and categorising transactions, which can save time and reduce the chance of human error.

  3. Streamline your tax preparation process: With an accounting software, all financial records can be stored in one centralised place, making it easier for business owners to access and manage their financial information. Most importantly, the software can also generate reports, making it easy for a business to collate the needed documents upon filing.

While utilising accounting software can be convenient for some tasks, there may be benefits to hiring or outsourcing an accounting professional for the job. A specialist has a thorough understanding of tax rules and regulations, and can provide personalised advice and support to ensure your business stays compliant and maximises any available tax benefits. They can also offer a more comprehensive solution for all your accounting and tax needs, providing peace of mind and freeing up valuable time for you to focus on running your business.

Hiring an accounting specialist like Lanturn can provide you with the following benefits:

  1. Knowledge, experience, and expertise: An expert tax specialist may assist a small business in navigating the complexities of the tax system in Singapore and ensuring compliance with all regulations. They can offer guidance on financial and tax planning methods and assist in locating potential for tax reductions.

  2. A dedicated specialist to help you: An accounting professional can offer personalised attention to a small business, providing customised solutions and advice based on the business's specific needs and goals. Having a dedicated, experienced tax expert can also help you navigate the tax landscape and offer advice on how to minimise your tax liability and ensure that your business complies with all tax laws and regulations.

  3. Customisable reporting for tax filing: The right professional can provide customised reports tailored to your specific tax needs, giving you a clear and comprehensive view of your financial information. This level of customisation can greatly aid in the accuracy and efficiency of tax filing, helping you avoid costly mistakes and penalties.

  4. Saving time and gaining peace of mind: By outsourcing your tax preparation to a professional like Lanturn, you can save valuable time and energy that you can redirect towards growing your business. The peace of mind that comes with having a seasoned expert handle your taxes and ensure timely filing is a bonus, taking the stress out of tax season.


Small Business Accounting: What Are the Best Accounting Systems Available Today?

With the myriad of accounting software in the market, choosing one that fits your needs can be difficult. Read this guide to help you decide on the right software.

Small business owners in the island nation may find it difficult and daunting to get through tax season, but with careful planning and knowledge of the tax system, it can be made much more straightforward. Understanding the various types of taxes for small businesses in Singapore and taking advantage of tax deductions can help you better plan for and manage your tax liabilities. In addition, utilising the tips and tricks outlined in this article, such as utilising tax software, or hiring a tax professional, can help make the process smoother and less stressful. Remember, planning and staying informed are essential to ensure a successful tax season.

By being proactive and informed, small business owners in Singapore can save themselves the trouble of unnecessary penalties or fines.

Lanturn Accounting & Tax Services

Introducing Lanturn, the premier accounting and bookkeeping solution for all business sizes in Singapore. With our experienced team of accountants and cutting-edge cloud technology, we'll make managing your finances a breeze.

  • Our automated expenses system and integrated platforms help your team save time and make it easy for you and your business to stay up-to-date on all compliance and accounting matters, giving you more time to focus on your core business.

  • Our innovative task-management technology makes it easy for our team to work with you and keep track of all the information necessary to close your accounts. 

  • Lanturn's advanced bookkeeping portal allows you to enjoy a quicker, better, and transparently priced experience.

  • Our OCR technology ensures that all costs are captured quickly and accurately, minimising your tax bill.

  • Lanturn's specialised yet manageable expense and bill capture system allows you to photograph and send them to a dedicated email address, and we'll handle the rest.

Lanturn's tax filing services come with the following benefits:

  • Cost effective pricing.

  • Personalised advice on the correct deductions for your company.

  • Never miss a deadline ever again. Lanturn will track it for you.

Lanturn provides a wide range of tax services, from GST Registration to ECI Submission. Don't waste your time on tedious accounting and tax processes. Choose Lanturn and let us handle the heavy lifting. With our advanced technology and expert team, we'll make sure your finances and taxes are always in order.

Avail Lanturn's accounting & tax services. And experience the difference!

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