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Selecting the Right SSIC Code for Your Business in Singapore

Selecting the Right SSIC Code for Your Business in Singapore

Singapore commands attention as a global hub for innovation and commerce, attracting entrepreneurs from every corner of the globe. This vibrant city-state offers a highly developed industrial sector, world-class infrastructure, and proactive business regulations that foster growth.

Moreover, the government’s generous incentives actively draw international startups eager to capitalise on the abundant opportunities available in Singapore. However, various regulatory requirements exist before commencing business operations, including selecting the correct SSIC code in Singapore.

SSIC code singapore

What is an SSIC Code?

The Singapore Standard Industrial Classification code, abbreviated as the SSIC code, is a numeric code consisting of up to five digits. It categorises the business activity conducted by your company and is mandatory during the company registration process with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

Derived from the International Standard Industrial Classification, the SSIC is regularly monitored and updated by Singapore’s Department of Statistics. The main objective of this updation is to ensure that the codes:

  • Remain updated with changes in international standards
  • Reflect significant shifts in the economic landscape
  • Stay abreast of the latest developments

Moreover, government authorities may use these codes for various purposes. For example, ACRA authorities use the SSIC code in Singapore to ascertain if additional licenses are necessary for business activities. Similarly, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) employs the SSIC code to determine if specific tax benefits apply to the business.

Why Should You Have an SSIC Code in Singapore for Your Business?

An SSIC code for business activities in Singapore benefits companies in the following ways:

Seeking for Licenses

Certain businesses necessitate industry-specific licenses or permits from pertinent Singaporean government bodies. For instance, operating a real estate agency mandates obtaining a licence from the Council of Estate Agencies.
Your SSIC code serves to ascertain the required permits for your business activity. Upon submission of your SSIC codes, ACRA will inform you about the requirements of any other necessary licenses and may forward your application to the appropriate licensing authority.

Receiving Government Grants and Tax Incentives

Known for supporting start-ups, Singapore provides government assistance through grants and tax incentives. Your SSIC code, reflecting your business activity, determines your eligibility for specific grants or initiatives. Upon reviewing the code, the IRAS authorities assess your eligibility for government incentives, such as tax rebates, and communicate the outcome to you.

Also Read: From Idea to Incorporation: Forming a Singapore Private Limited Company

Obtaining Loans

When applying for business loans, the industry in which your company operates is crucial for banks and lenders when making approval decisions. The success of your loan application may depend on how well your SSIC code aligns with the lender’s evaluation of industry risk and viability. Therefore, accurately representing your business activity through the SSIC code is essential, as it greatly influences your ability to secure financing for your venture.

Identifying Competitors

Identifying competitors becomes more streamlined by searching for their SSIC codes in Singapore. This method offers a precise way to locate businesses operating within the same industry or niche, facilitating competitive analysis and strategic planning. By leveraging SSIC codes, businesses can gain valuable insights into their competitive landscape, helping them make informed decisions to stay ahead in the market.

What to Consider While Choosing an SSIC Code for Business Activities?

Choosing an SSIC code for your business

When reserving your company’s business name, it is imperative to submit the SSIC code corresponding to its business activity to ACRA. At least one SSIC code must represent your company’s activities, with the option to include an additional one. If your business activity does not align with any existing SSIC code, a customised description can be provided and will be visible in the company’s BizFile.

The SSIC code should mirror your company’s economic activities, which involve using resources like capital, goods, labour, and services in production processes. Economic activities can be categorised into three types within a company, which are listed below.

  • Principal Activity: It primarily contributes to the value-added goods and services produced by the company or holds the highest value-added activity among the company’s activities.
  • Secondary Activity: It is not the company’s principal focus but is still performed by the company.
  • Ancillary Activity: These are those undertaken to support the main productive activities, providing goods or services solely for internal use. They include human resources functions, bookkeeping, purchasing, storage, and sales promotion.

The fundamental principle of SSIC dictates that a company is allocated an SSIC code based on its principal business activity. This activity contributes the most to the value added to the goods and services produced. If a company has more than two principal business activities, the two activities generating the highest revenue should be registered with ACRA.

Should the selected SSIC code necessitate it, the name reservation application will undergo a review by pertinent Singapore authorities, which can take 14 to 60 days.

How Do You Check the SSIC Code for Your Company?

You must visit the official website ACRA to search for relevant SSIC codes for your business. For your convenience, we are providing here the tips on conducting an SSIC code search:

  • Keyword Selection: Input keywords accurately to define your company’s business operations and capture its essence.
  • Variation Exploration: Experiment with different keyword variations related to your company’s business activity to broaden the search scope and improve result accuracy.
  • Keyword Relevance: Confirm that selected keywords are correctly spelt and commonly used in the context of your business operations.
  • SSIC Code Selection: The search tool will display a list of SSIC codes corresponding to the entered keywords. Choose the code that best matches your company’s activities.
  • Manual Search Option: If the SSIC search tool fails to provide a suitable code, refer to the latest report for a manual search, categorised by common SSIC code.
  • Validation Process: Verify the selected SSIC code against your business’s activities to ensure accuracy and relevance.

The Most Commonly Used SSIC Codes Considering Business Categories

As per the most recent version of the SSIC released in March 2020, the SSIC 2020 serves as an update to the SSIC 2018 edition. This classification system features a hierarchical structure comprising 21 broad categories. It uses a numerical five-digit coding system to delineate the various classification levels. You can directly download the SSIC Code PDF to locate your business activity.

Standard Industrial Classification SSIC

The latest Standard Industrial Classification system encompasses 21 economic activity categories known as ‘sections’, each denoted by a single alphabet. These sections are further divided into ‘divisions’, which may consist of one or more groups. Each group is then categorised into ‘classes’, and each class is subdivided into ‘sub-classes’.

The SSIC code is structured hierarchically, with the first two digits representing the major business division and subsequent digits refining the Singapore Standard Industrial classification of the business activity. If the code ends with the digit 0, it typically indicates an additional classification is unnecessary. For instance, the code for ‘manufacture of basic iron and steel’ is 2410 because it’s the only class within the ‘manufacture of basic iron and steel’ group with the classification code 241.

Similarly, ‘construction of buildings’ is assigned the SSIC code 410, representing the sole group within the division ‘manufacture of basic iron and steel’ with the Singapore Standard Industrial Classification SSIC code 24.

Also Read: Company Registration in Singapore: Ultimate Guide for Foreigners

Points to be Kept in Mind

  1. Some SSIC codes end with ‘n.e.c.,’ which stands for ‘not elsewhere classified.’ Choose this SSIC code if your corporate operation lacks a specific description in any other SSIC code.
  2. Certain SSIC codes are marked with a single ‘*’, indicating the need for approval from a relevant body.
  3. SSIC Codes marked with ‘**’ denote corporate activities requiring a license before commencing business operations.

Understanding the Importance of Choosing the Right SSIC Code

In conclusion, selecting the right SSIC code in Singapore for your business is crucial for compliance and access to various benefits. The SSIC system streamlines collaboration between businesses and government agencies, aiding in regulatory compliance and eligibility for licenses, tax incentives, and grants.

Whether through keyword searches or manual exploration, thorough validation of the chosen SSIC code against the company’s actual activities is essential. By understanding the significance of SSIC codes and adhering to proper selection procedures, businesses can navigate regulatory requirements and maximise their growth potential in Singapore’s dynamic business landscape.

FAQs about SSIC Code Singapore

  • Certainly, companies undergo continual evolution, and the business activity you initiated may differ from what you are currently engaged in five years later. If your business activity has changed, you must update your SSIC code to ensure compliance with licensing and regulatory obligations and access to entitled grants and tax incentives. Additionally, your SSIC code may be subject to change with periodic updates to the SSIC code list.
  • A company in Singapore can have a maximum of two SSIC codes. However, most of the companies focus on one SSIC code.
  • Registering your business under the wrong SSIC code can delay the company registration process and necessitate submitting extra documentation for approval.

About the Author

InCorp Content Team

InCorp's content team includes talented copywriters from our regional group and globally. We contribute informative, thought leadership, and market-trending articles to guide aspiring business entrepreneurs to a higher level across the Asia-Pacific region.

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