Records That Your Company Must Keep
To run a business, it is important to have good record keeping. Companies that adopt good record keeping practices are able to:
- Make better business decisions
- Be aware of the financial status of your company (e.g. profit or loss position, whether there is internal fraud or theft)
- Reduce the cost and effort required to file the Corporate Income Tax Returns, and to reply to IRAS’ queries (if any)
Your company must retain its records (including source documents and bank statements) and be able to explain all transactions relating to its income, business expenses, and purchases. Your company must also keep its accounting records and schedules which summarise its business transactions in a systematic order.
Refer to the Record Keeping Checklist (PDF, 61KB) for a summary of the different types of records required. GST-registered companies may also refer to the types of records to keep to support their GST declarations.
How to Ensure Proper Record Keeping
Use Accounting Software
Companies are encouraged to use accounting software that are on IRAS’ Accounting Software Register Plus (ASR+). These software help companies to manage their day-to-day business operations and transactions digitally, as well as fulfil their tax compliance obligations seamlessly. Learn more about the benefits of adopting accounting software.
Download Record Keeping Guides
Download the Record Keeping Checklist (PDF, 61KB) to ensure that your company has maintained the required records. You may also download the Self-Assessment Toolkit to review your company’s record keeping standards and identify areas for improvement:
- For GST-Registered Companies: Self-Assessment Toolkit (XLSX, 172KB)
- For Non GST-Registered Companies: Self-Assessment Toolkit (XLSX, 30KB)
For a more comprehensive guide on how to prepare and keep your company’s records, download the respective e-Tax Guides:
- For GST-Registered Companies: Record Keeping Guide for GST-Registered Businesses (PDF, 299KB)
- For Non GST-Registered Companies: Record Keeping Guide for Non GST-Registered Businesses (PDF, 231KB)
Required Record Keeping Duration
Your company must retain its records for at least 5 years from the relevant YA.
Example 1: Companies with Dec financial year end
|YA||Financial Year||To Keep Records Till|
|2019||1 Jan 2018 to 31 Dec 2018||31 Dec 2023|
|2023||1 Jan 2022 to 31 Dec 2022||31 Dec 2027|
Example 2: Companies with non-Dec financial year end
|YA||Financial Year||To keep Records Till|
|2019||1 Oct 2017 to 30 Sep 2018||31 Dec 2023|
|2023||1 Oct 2021 to 30 Sep 2022||31 Dec 2027|
Watch our e-Learning video (from 09:50 to 10:55) for more examples on how long your company must keep its records.
Struck Off Companies
If your company has been struck off and dissolved, a person who was an officer of the company immediately before its dissolution must ensure that all books and papers of the company are retained for at least 5 years after the date on which the company was dissolved.
Wound Up Companies
If your company is being wound up, the liquidator of the company must ensure that all the books and papers of the company are retained for at least 5 years from the date of dissolution of the company.
Non-Compliance With Record Keeping Requirements
Failure to comply with record keeping requirements is an offence under the Income Tax Act 1947 and Goods and Services Tax Act 1993. IRAS may take the following actions:
- Exercise its best judgement to estimate revenue earned;
- Disallow expense claims, capital allowances or GST input tax claims (where applicable); and/ or
- Impose penalties of up to $5,000, and in default of payment, imprisonment for up to 6 months.
Test Your Understanding Here!
Q1. Can a company discard its records once it has completed its tax filing?
Q2. Can a company keep its records manually in a physical form?
Q3. Is record keeping only for the purposes of fulfilling statutory requirements?
Q4. Company X only keeps its bank statements as its records. Is this sufficient for record keeping purposes?
No, keeping only bank statements as records constitute poor record keeping and Company X may face penalties of up to $5,000.
Company X must ensure that it retains its source documents and is able to explain all transactions relating to its income, business expenses, and purchases. For example, source documents such as taxi receipts and travel documents must be retained to substantiate the company’s public transport or overseas travelling expense. Company X must also keep its accounting records and schedules which summarise its business transactions in a systematic order.
Q5. If a company purchases a new accounting software, does it need to migrate all the accounting transactions recorded in the existing accounting software to the new accounting software?
There is no specific requirement for companies to migrate the accounting transactions recorded in the existing accounting software to the new accounting software.
However, after purchasing the new accounting software, a company must continue to retain and be able to retrieve the accounting transactions that had been recorded in the existing software for at least 5 years from the YA or end of the GST accounting period accordingly. Other business documents associated with these transactional records, such as source documents, accounting records and schedules and bank statements, should be retained as well.