The Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) is the national standard for classifying economic activities undertaken by companies in Singapore. Every business owner needs to submit at least one SSIC code when incorporating a company. You can add a secondary one if you want, but there can be no more than two.
Over the last few years, particularly during the Covid-pandemic, many business owners have realised the importance of updating their SSIC Code or registered business activity in order to qualify for certain COVID-19-related government grants.
Furthermore, if you need to pivot your business to seize new opportunities, you will also need to change your registered business activity in BizFile+. This can also be essential in determining if you fall within the latest government schemes and announcements, including whether you qualify for specific government grants.
Here is a step-by-step guide to changing your business activity.
Step 1: Log In To BizFile+ Using Your SingPass
If you have a Unique Entity Number (UEN) for your business, click on the button “For Business Users”. Otherwise, click on the other button for individual users.
Step 2: Click On ‘eServices’, Then ‘Local Company’
For Singapore businesses, you can go to “Local Company”. If you are a sole-proprietor or in a limited partnership or limited liability partnership, you can click on the relevant links right below “Local Company”.
Step 3: Click On ‘Make Changes’
Under “Make Changes”, there is a listing of 13 types of eServices which you can choose to make changes for your business (with the related fees involved). On the right column, there are links to more information about the service and an in-depth step-by-step eGuide.
Step 4: Click On No. 1 “Change in Company Information including Appointment/Cessation of Company Officers/Auditors”
This eService allows you to update changes in the company’s particulars including Business Activity. Other changes that you can make within this link includes Company Name, Address and the Appointment/Cessation of company officers/auditors.
Step 5: Enter your UEN and click on “Next” (at the top or bottom right of the page)
Your Unique Entity Number or UEN is your company’s unique identification number that will be used in all interactions with government agencies.
Step 6: Select “Change in Activity”. Tick At The Checkbox To Indicate A Change In This Section
Here that you can update your new primary activity, new secondary activity and effective date of change.
Step 7: Enter “New Primary Activity” and click on “Search Primary Activity”.
When incorporating a company in Singapore, you will be asked to specify up to two principal activities, with the first being the primary activity. These activities can be chosen from the list specified in the Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC).
Step 8: Select SSIC code and click ‘OK’ to proceed.
The SSIC codes chosen during incorporation matter, especially when you seek a further government license, e.g., a recruitment firm must choose ‘SSIC code 78104 – Employment agencies’ to receive the Employment Agency licence from MOM.
Step 9: Enter ‘New Primary User-Described Activity’, if applicable.
You can write a one-sentence custom description of your business activity for your Business Profile. Note that you do not have to stick to the SSIC code standard description. You can write something that describes your business more accurately for your Business Profile on ACRA.
Step 10: Enter ‘New Secondary Activity’ and click on ‘Search Secondary Activity’, if applicable.
The “Secondary Activity” field is optional.
For example, if you have a cake shop, your primary user-described activity can be “Sale of Bakery Products” with SSIC Code 47213. If you also intend to sell baking tools, you would then use SSIC Code 47534 in “Secondary Activity” and “Sale of Baking Tools” for “Secondary User-Described Activity”.
Step 11: Select SSIC code and click ‘OK’ to proceed
To decide on your SSIC Code, you can use the free SSIC search tool on the BizFile+ website using keywords relating to your business.
Step 12: Select or enter ‘Effective Date of Change’.
Ensure that you get the effective date of change correct as a penalty may be imposed for late notification. In fact, you must update the information in BizFile+ within 14 days if there are changes to your business particulars such as business activity, principal place of business, business owners and/or authorised representative.
You Have To Inform ACRA And IRAS Separately When Your Company Has Changed Its Principal Activity
Currently, principal activity changes filed with ACRA are not transmitted to IRAS. You have to inform ACRA and IRAS separately when your company has changed its principal activity by:
- Updating the company’s new business activity (i.e. SSIC Code) with ACRA via BizFile+; and
- Emailing IRAS via myTax Mail to inform IRAS of the effective date of change of the company’s new business activity together with a copy of the Business Profile extracted from ACRA’s BizFile+.
It is important that you inform IRAS of the company’s new business activity (i.e. SSIC Code) as this record may be used by IRAS for tax assessment purposes.
Featured Image Credit: Giovanni Lidya/DollarsAndSense
This article was first published on 25 June 2021 and has been updated with latest information.
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