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Your Guide to Choosing the Right SSIC Code

26 March 2024
Grof Writer
6 Minutes Read
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Choosing the Right SSIC Code for My Company 

When it comes to running a business in Singapore, there are several administrative requirements that companies need to fulfil. One such requirement is the selection of a Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) code. The SSIC code is a business activity code assigned by the government to track economic activity and assist in various administrative processes, such as censuses of population, household and establishment surveys, and administrative databases. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the purpose of SSIC codes, where to find them, their significance for licensing and regulatory purposes, and how to select the right SSIC code for your company.  


What is an SSIC Code? 

A Singapore Standard Industrial Code is a business activity code assigned by the government to track economic activity. Companies in Singapore are required to choose at least one SSIC code to represent their business activities‍. 


Discover the importance of SSIC Codes for your business. Dive deeper into our blog to understand why they matter. 


What is the Purpose of it in Singapore? 

It helps the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) determine whether the company is required to apply for any licenses to carry out its business. Some SSIC codes also help to determine if a company is entitled to certain tax benefits by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). In the broader picture, the purpose of it is so that the government can track ACRA's business activity during annual return filing with ACRA. 


It is also a classification system that is used in Singapore to categorise companies and businesses based on their economic activities. It is based on the international standards set by the International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC). These are regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that they stay aligned with changes in international standards and reflect significant changes in the Singapore economy and the emergence of new activities. This helps with the regulation and governance of companies and ensures that they operate within standard guidelines.‍ 


Looking to find the right SSIC code for your business in Singapore? Grof's SSIC Code Checker is your go-to solution. This free tool makes the process of identifying the appropriate SSIC code for your business activities: https://grof.co/sg/ssic-check  


Singapore Standard Industrial Classification SSIC 2020 

It is a classification system that is used in Singapore to categorise companies and businesses based on their economic activities. It is based on the international standards set by the International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC). These are regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that they stay aligned with changes in international standards and reflect significant changes in the Singapore economy and the emergence of new activities. This helps with the regulation and governance of companies and ensures that they operate within standard guidelines.‍ 


The SSIC classification system is updated every few years to keep up with the changing business landscape. The latest version of the classification system is the SSIC 2020, which includes new classification codes for emerging industries. Understanding your company's classification under the SSIC can help you better understand your industry and make informed decisions about business strategy and operations. 


Manual Search Option: If the SSIC search tool doesn’t yield a suitable code, refer to the latest SSIC 2020 report for a manual search. This report categorises codes based on common SSIC categories. 


Where Can I Find It? 

Finding it is easy since the government makes the entire list available online. You can locate your code by taking the following steps: 


Step 1. Visit Singapore’s online portal through ACRA

Step 2. Enter your company’s business activities in the search box. 

Step 3. Find the result that matches your business best. 

Step 4. If the description is too generic, you may elaborate more on your business activity type during the incorporation process. 


Or 


You can also uncover your code with our dedicated search tool: https://grof.co/sg/ssic-check by downloading our SSIC list. 


Tip: 


  • The term ‘n.e.c.’ that appears in codes ending with the digit ‘9’ stands for “not elsewhere classified”. This is the code you should select if no other codes are suitable for describing your business activity. 

‍ 

Licensing and Further Review 

As you can see, it’s relatively easy to find and locate it. However, there are two things to note regarding it: 


1. Codes That Will Be Sent to the Referral Authority 

During the name reservation stage, if the company were to choose a name or selected ones that require further review and approval from referral authorities, the application will be sent to the respective authorities, and the processing time may take between 14 days to 60 days. 


Some common SSIC codes that will be sent to the referral authority are: 


ARCHITECTURAL SERVICES 


71111 (Architectural services) 


FINANCE & BANKS 


64120 (Full banks) 


64130 (Wholesale Banks) 


64120 (Offshore Banks) 


64150 (Merchant banks) 


64992 (Representative offices of foreign banks) 


REAL ESTATE 


68201 (Real estate agencies and valuation services) 


68209 (Real estate activities on a fee or contract basis nec.) 

LAW & LEGAL 


69100 (Legal Activities) 



EDUCATION 


85211 (Secondary schools) 


85212 (Junior colleges and centralised pre-university institutes) 


85213 (International and foreign system schools - secondary) 


85214 (Schools for the handicapped and educationally sub-normal - secondary) 


85220 (Technical and vocational secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education) 


85301 (Polytechnics) 


85302 (Universities) 


85303 (Teachers' training institutes) 


85304 (Commercial schools offering higher education programmes) 


85494 (Academic tutoring services. e.g. tuition centres, private tutoring services) 

‍ 


COMMODITY TRADING 


66124 (Commodity (excluding gold) and futures brokers and dealers) 


‍ 

2. Licensing Post-Incorporation 

After incorporating your company, if your SSIC code suggests that you will be engaging in certain business activities, you will have to apply for the relevant licenses before you can operate your company. 


Examples of activities that may require licensing include retail or wholesale of liquor, Food & Beverage, Hotels, Employment Agency, Travel Agents, Education Establishments and others. If you are unclear about whether your company requires licensing, you may search here. 


Interested in discovering your SSIC code? Explore our blog: "How to Find Your Company's SSIC Code: A Comprehensive Guide" for easy steps and insights. 


The Significance of Codes for ACRA 


The Singapore government, through ACRA and the Department of Statistics, relies on them to track and analyse economic activities and develop effective policies. These codes provide a uniform and comparable framework for classifying businesses based on their economic activities. By using them, government agencies can conduct insightful analyses, share data, and make informed decisions regarding regulatory requirements, tax benefits, and industry-specific regulations. 


Limitations for Singaporean Companies 

While these are essential for business categorisation and regulatory purposes, it's crucial to understand their limitations. Each company is required to have at least one code, but they can also designate a secondary code if necessary. However, the maximum number of uses a business can have is two. 


It's worth noting that while the Department of Statistics provides a comprehensive list, the ACRA website may not have an extensive or detailed list. However, ACRA does offer a searchable database of registered Singaporean companies. 


Selecting the Proper SSIC Code 

Choosing the right one is crucial for accurate categorisation and compliance with regulatory requirements. Here are some tips to help you select the appropriate one for your company: 


  1. Identify the primary activities that generate the majority of your company's income or profit. Select the one that best describes these activities. 
  2. If your company engages in more than two significant activities, choose the right one that represents the two activities that generate the highest revenue. 
  3. If none of the available SSIC codes accurately describes your company's activities, provide a thorough description during the incorporation process or seek professional advice. 
  4. Conduct research to determine if your industry qualifies for any tax deductions or if there are any specific regulations that apply to your business. 


Changing Your SSIC Code 

Changing it is a relatively straightforward process. The company secretary can apply for a change in the SSIC code through ACRA. We can also assist you with changing your current SSIC code. There are no limitations on the number of times you can change your SSIC code, allowing you to update it as needed. 


Conclusion 

Selecting the right one is an essential step in incorporating your company in Singapore. SSIC codes serve as a standardised system for categorising economic activities and assist government agencies in regulatory processes. By understanding the purpose of SSIC codes, utilising the available resources to find the appropriate code, and considering the licensing and regulatory implications, businesses can ensure compliance and facilitate smooth operations. 


Remember, if you have any uncertainties or need guidance in selecting the right SSIC code for your company, we can assist you throughout the process. With our expertise and knowledge, you can confidently navigate the complexities of SSIC codes and establish your business successfully. 

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Explore crucial dos and don'ts, along with essential tips for a successful company registration when establishing your foothold in Singapore!
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