Self-employed persons including sole-proprietors and partners are required to keep proper records and accounts of business transactions.

Introduction to Record Keeping

Record Keeping InfographicQualifying conditions for SRKnon-GST Registered BusinessesGST-Registered BusinessesRK Videos

Requirement to Keep Proper Records and Accounts

You should keep proper records and accounts so that the income earned and business expenses claimed can be readily determined. You must be able to support your records and accounts with invoices, receipts, vouchers and other supporting documents.

Estimates and improper records are not acceptable.

Records to Verify Income and Claims for Deduction

Sales/Income

Records include cash register tape, daily sales record book and invoices.

Expenses/Claims

Receipts and daily purchases record book.

You need not submit these records to IRAS unless requested by IRAS. However, upon request by IRAS, you may be required to substantiate your reported income and expense claims with records and accounts. 

Producing data listings of your business accounts in Microsoft Excel spreadsheet format will help expedite any audit review by IRAS. As such, if you are using accounting software or have engaged a book-keeper for your business, please extract or request for a copy of your business accounts and general ledgers in Microsoft Excel spreadsheet format.

The term 'accounts' refer to the trading and profit and loss accounts as well as the balance sheets.

Requirement to Issue Receipts

You must issue serially printed receipts and keep a duplicate of the receipts if your gross income in any year is:

  1. More than $18,000 from the sale of goods; or
  2. More than $12,000 from providing services.

You do not need to issue receipts if you adopt practices that can ensure the completeness and accuracy of the recording of all your sales receipts.

Duration for Records and Accounts Keeping

You are required to retain the accounting records and supporting documents for five years.

Failure to do so may result in:

  1. Expenses claimed being disallowed; or/and
  2. Penalties

Examples:

Businesses with December financial year end

YA

Records for period

To keep up to

2018

1 Jan 2017 to 31 Dec 2017

31 Dec 2022

20211 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 202031 Dec 2025

Businesses with non-December financial year end, e.g. Jun, Sep

YA

Records for period

To keep up to

2018

1 Oct 2016 to 30 Sep 2017

31 Dec 2022

20211 Oct 2019 to 30 Sep 202031 Dec 2025

Where a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) has been struck off and dissolved, the partners of the LLP immediately before the LLP was dissolved must ensure that all books and papers of the LLP are retained for at least five years after the dissolution of the LLP.

Where an LLP is being wound up, the liquidator of the LLP must ensure that all the books and papers of the LLP are retained for at least five years (instead of two years previously) from the date of dissolution of the LLP.

Financial Accounts in Other Currencies

If you maintain your financial accounts in a currency other than the Singapore dollar, you should also file your tax computations and financial statements to the Comptroller in that currency.

However, in the Income Tax Return, you must declare the equivalent Singapore dollar amount. Please refer to the IRAS Circular on  Filing of Income Tax Computations and Financial Statements in Functional Currencies other than Singapore Dollars (PDF, 334KB)

Guides on Record Keeping

Please refer to our e-learning video to have an overview of record-keeping requirements for Income Tax and GST purposes.

GST-registered Businesses

For GST-registered businesses, please refer to the Guide "Record Keeping Guide for GST-registered Businesses (PDF, 297KB)" for the record keeping requirements for both Income Tax and GST purposes. The guide also covers requirements for keeping business records in electronic media and imaging systems.

Non-GST Registered Businesses

For Non-GST registered businesses, please refer to the Guide "Record Keeping Guide for Non GST-registered Businesses (PDF, 334KB)" for the record keeping requirements for Income Tax purposes. The guide also covers requirements for keeping business records in electronic media and imaging systems.

Non-GST Registered Small Businesses

IRAS recognises that small businesses have simpler business and tax matters. Small businesses that meet the qualifying conditions can adopt the "Simplified Record Keeping Requirements (PDF, 500KB)" from 1 Jan 2014. Please refer to the Guide "Simplified Record Keeping Requirements for Small Businesses"

Please refer to the Record Keeping Checklist (PDF, 64KB), which provides a summary of the different types of records required.

Record Keeping Self-Assessment Toolkit

IRAS has created a self-assessment toolkit to help businesses perform a self-review of their existing record keeping standards and to better understand the possible areas for improvement.

For Non-GST registered businesses, please download the toolkit (XLSX, 30KB). 

For GST-registered businesses, please download the toolkit (XLSX, 172KB).

FAQs

If my business purchases a new accounting software, do we need to migrate all the accounting transactions recorded in the existing accounting software to the new accounting software?

There is no specific requirement for businesses to migrate the accounting transactions recorded in the existing accounting software to the new accounting software. However, after purchasing the new accounting software, businesses must continue to retain and be able to retrieve the accounting transactions that had been recorded in the existing software for at least five years from the Year of Assessment or end of the GST accounting period to which it relates. Other business documents associated with these transactional records, such as source documents, accounting records and schedules and bank statements, should be retained accordingly as well.