Before you incorporate a business in Singapore, you first need to register a business name. When you do this, you also have to specify your business activity – you can input a primary and secondary business activity.
The categorisation of business activities in Singapore is dictated by the Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) Code. This will provide up to a 5-digit code to categorise the sub-class of your business activity.
When you input your primary business activity, it is sent to relevant referral authorities in Singapore for approval. For example, the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) will look at SSIC Codes 68201 and 68209 – for certain businesses in real estate.
On the other hand, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) looks at banks, finance companies and exchanges.
Other referral authorities include Enterprise Singapore (ESG), MCCY – Charities Unit, Mindef – Defence Industry & Systems Office, Professional Engineers Board, Singapore Tourism Board, and more.
What Is Your Company’s SSIC Code?
Your SSIC Code should correspond to your business activity (or activities if you have a secondary business activity). Businesses should ensure that your SSIC Code is accurate and reflects your business activities.
To check your SSIC Code, you can use the BizFile+ SSIC Search tool.
For reference, you can find the full list of SSIC Codes in the Singapore Standard Industrial Classification 2020 report – detailing the latest updates and list of SSIC Codes currently in use.
What Is The SSIC Code Used For?
Your SSIC Code is a set of numbers used to classify your business activities. Managed by the Department of Statistics (DOS), this makes it easier for the Singapore government to compile and analyse a wide range of economic statistics. This allows the government to better understand how businesses in specific categories are performing.
Apart from this, there are several other uses for your SSIC Code.
Apply For Relevant Licences
When you first list your business activity, or SSIC Code, you will also better understand the licences you have to apply for. For example, you will need to apply for an employment agency licence, if your primary activities require:
Receive Government Incentives And Grants
Government measures and support schemes may take into account your business activity. This makes it more pertinent for you to ensure that your SSIC Code is kept up-to-date with your primary business, as it may affect your business classification and eligibility for grant support.
For example, during the pandemic, when the Circuit Breaker measures were announced, non-essential businesses had to shut their workplaces. The list of businesses allowed to operate was listed on the GoBusiness Gov Assist website – and corresponded to their SSIC Code.
In the following months, certain businesses continued to be affected by safe management measures, such as F&B establishments, gyms and fitness studios and others. Such businesses were identified via SSIC Codes.
For example, an operating grant providing $5,000 to $100,000 in support under the Sports Resilience Package was disbursed to gyms and fitness studios under SSIC Code 93111, while businesses under different SSIC Codes, such as 85410, 93119 and 93120 can apply for assessment to qualify.
Similarly, as new measures to stop dine-in activities for the food and beverage sector was implemented, the government also enhanced wage support for affected businesses via the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS). This was provided to F&B establishments under the SSIC Codes 56 or 68104.
There are many other instances of sector specific grants such as the Digital Resilience Bonus (DRB), Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG), and others that will also be disbursed according to your SSIC Code.
The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) may also make use of the SSIC to provide tax incentives.
How To Change Your SSIC Code?
For the reasons listed above, keeping your SSIC Code updated is necessary.
For starters, the SSIC Code underwent major changes in 2020. This is one reason to check your current SSIC Code to ensure it is still relevant. Over the years, your business may have also evolved from the day you first incorporated the company. This is another reason to ensure that your SSIC Code are up-to-date.
Businesses can log in to ACRA – www.bizfile.gov.sg – to change their business activity at any point after incorporation. By changing your business activity, you will be changing your SSIC Code.
You can choose to change only your primary SSIC Code, secondary SSIC Code or both. When doing so, you also need to input the “Effective date of change”.
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