In Singapore, companies are afforded the flexibility to designate their fiscal year-end according to their specific business requirements. This can involve aligning it with various factors such as the calendar year, financial quarter-end dates, the anniversary of incorporation, seasonal patterns, or specific business cycles.

Understanding the Fiscal Year

The fiscal year, also referred to as the financial year, in Singapore is the 12-month period utilized by businesses and organizations for financial reporting and tax purposes. Although the standard fiscal year typically runs from April 1st to March 31st of the following year, companies have the autonomy to select their fiscal year-end, provided it complies with statutory obligations and maintains consistency annually. For instance, businesses may opt for a fiscal year coinciding with their industry’s peak season or their budgeting and forecasting cycles.

Upon determining the fiscal year-end, it is imperative to notify the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) as deadlines for unaudited financial statements, annual reports, and tax filings are contingent on this date. When engaging accounting services for Singapore companies, professionals assist in managing this information, alleviating the responsibility of preparing requisite documents within designated timelines.

Understanding the Singapore Financial Year

The Singapore financial system operates on a distinctive fiscal calendar, distinct from the conventional calendar year employed in many other countries. Renowned for its stability, transparency, and efficiency, Singapore’s financial system encompasses diverse institutions and services supporting economic growth and investment. Familiarity with the key components of Singapore’s financial market is essential for comprehending the nuances of the Singapore Financial Year.

Adhering to national regulations is paramount for businesses operating in Singapore when submitting annual returns and tax documentation. This obligation is determined by the financial year-end, known as the fiscal year in accounting, which may not necessarily align with the calendar year. While the fiscal year can commence or conclude on any day of the year, the standard duration remains 12 months, mirroring that of the calendar year.

Establishing a Fiscal Year End for New Companies in Singapore

In accordance with the guidelines stipulated by the Accounting and Corporate Regulations Authority (ACRA), common options for the financial year-end in Singapore include March 31st, June 30th, September 30th, or December 31st. Per the Singapore Companies Act, the fiscal year typically commences on the company’s incorporation date and concludes on a chosen date. However, the initial financial year cannot exceed 18 months unless approved by the Registrar. Subsequent fiscal years are typically 12 months long, starting the day after the previous fiscal year-end and concluding on the anniversary of the first financial year-end.

Prudent decision-making is essential when selecting the company’s fiscal year-end during incorporation. Additionally, consideration should be given to whether the accounting period covers 12 months or a duration of 52 weeks.

Determining the Length of the Company’s First Fiscal Year

While the inaugural fiscal year may extend up to 18 months, the IRAS operates within 12-month periods for tax assessment purposes. Periods exceeding 12 months are treated as two independent periods, even if perceived as a single financial year. This aspect significantly influences the taxes owed, particularly concerning tax exemption schemes. Hence, careful deliberation of preferred exemptions is advisable before setting the first fiscal year-end date.

Amendment of the Company’s Financial Year End

Modifications to the financial year-end are permissible for the current or preceding fiscal year. However, such changes are not feasible if statutory deadlines for holding the Annual General Meeting (AGM), submitting annual returns, or filing financial statements have elapsed.

Initiating a fiscal year-end alteration necessitates submitting a notice to the Registrar, albeit approval is mandated if:

  • The change extends the financial year beyond 18 months.
  • It constitutes the third request for fiscal year-end alteration.
  • The fiscal year-end was amended within the last five years.


Differentiating Between Fiscal and Calendar Years


Temporal Disparities

A fundamental contrast between fiscal and calendar years lies in their temporal frameworks. While a fiscal year can commence on any date, a financial year adheres to the conventional January 1st to December 31st calendar. This variance influences financial reporting and planning methodologies within organizations.


Functional and Utilitarian Differences

Another significant divergence pertains to the function and utility of fiscal and financial years. Organizations often select a fiscal year to align with operational cycles or industry norms, whereas a calendar-based financial year facilitates simplified reporting and tax procedures.

Further nuances exist within fiscal years. In the United States, for instance, the federal government’s fiscal year initiates on October 1st and concludes on September 30th, coinciding with the agricultural cycle prevalent during its inception. This timing enabled the government to accommodate the harvest season and subsequent financial activities of farmers.

Furthermore, the choice between fiscal and financial years can impact multinational enterprises, necessitating synchronization of financial reporting across diverse fiscal year periods. This necessitates meticulous coordination and adjustments to present accurate and consistent financial data.

While fiscal and financial years coinciding with the calendar year share common objectives, they exhibit distinct characteristics concerning temporal frameworks and utilization. Understanding these disparities is indispensable for businesses and individuals, influencing financial planning, reporting, and compliance with tax regulations.


IRAS Stipulations Regarding Fiscal Years

In Singapore, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) administers tax obligations. Compliance with IRAS company annual filing requirements entails considerations such as:

  • Determination of Fiscal Tax Year: Singaporean companies can designate their fiscal tax year, independent of the calendar year. The fiscal year can commence and terminate on any date within the tax year.
  • Consistency: Once a fiscal year is established, consistency is typically expected over time. Altering the fiscal year-end may necessitate IRAS approval, contingent upon valid justifications.
  • Duration: The fiscal year generally spans 12 months, akin to the calendar year. However, the initial fiscal year for a company may vary in duration depending on its incorporation date.
  • Deadlines for Financial Statements and Tax Filings: Deadlines for submitting unaudited financial statements, annual reports, and tax filings are contingent upon the chosen fiscal year-end. The IRAS delineates specific tax year due dates, mandating compliance to fulfill reporting obligations.
  • Tax Assessments: Upon annual tax return submission, the IRAS assesses tax liability for the fiscal year based on provided financial data. Discrepancies may prompt reviews, audits, or inquiries from the IRAS.

Awareness of IRAS directives pertaining to fiscal years is imperative for Singaporean businesses to ensure adherence to tax regulations and proper reporting. Consulting accounting professionals or seeking guidance from the IRAS directly is advisable for specific inquiries or clarifications.


Illustrations of Company Fiscal Years

Singaporean companies enjoy the flexibility to tailor their fiscal year-end according to specific business requisites. While fiscal year preferences may vary, several common fiscal year examples observed in Singapore include:

  • Calendar Year: Aligning the fiscal year with the conventional calendar year (January 1st to December 31st).
  • Financial Year-Ends: Corresponding the fiscal year with financial quarter-ends (March 31st, June 30th, September 30th, or December 31st).
  • Incorporation Anniversary: Establishing the fiscal year-end based on the company’s incorporation date (e.g., June 15th to June 14th of the following year).
  • Seasonal Considerations: Selecting a fiscal year coinciding with industry seasonal cycles (e.g., high-demand holiday season).
  • Business Cycle Alignment: Aligning the fiscal year with unique business cycles, considering project timelines, contract renewals, and industry fluctuations.

The chosen fiscal year should be tailored to suit the company’s operational and reporting requisites while complying with IRAS regulations.


If you need assistance with your company’s fiscal year, you may contact the Raffles Corporate Services corporate compliance team at [email protected].


Yours sincerely,

The editorial team at Raffles Corporate Services