Dividends are distributed to the shareholders as a reward for their investment. It has to be paid out of the company’s net profit and can be in the form of cash, stocks, or any other mode. As per Section 403 (2) of the Companies Act, if a dividend is paid when there are no profits, the director(s) or the chief executive officer(s) who wilfully paid or permitted to pay the dividends is guilty of a criminal offense.

Types of Dividends

There are two types of dividends:
  • Final Dividend – It is declared during the AGM and needs to be approved by the shareholders. The dividends are decided based on the actual annual profit after the financial statements are reported. Once declared, final dividends cannot be canceled or reduced.
  • Interim Dividend – It is declared by the board of directors based on the interim profit of the company, which is before the AGM and the annual financial statements are released. While the company doesn’t need to honor this payment, it is wise for them to do so to maintain their reputation in the market and keep their investors happy.
A company is not bound to pay dividends to its shareholders and can use the profits for reinvestments or to mitigate any cash shortage. It is mandatory for a dividend declaration before the dividends are paid. Dividends are non-taxable in Singapore as it follows a one-tier taxation system. As the company has already paid corporate taxes on the profit earned, the shareholders do not need to pay income tax on the same.

Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)

Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) is the national regulator of business entities, public accountants, and corporate service providers in Singapore.

It is a statutory board under the Ministry of Finance (MOF) of the Singapore Government.

The mission of ACRA is to provide a trusted and vibrant business environment in Singapore. ACRA’s role is to achieve synergies between the monitoring of corporate compliance with disclosure requirements and regulation of public accountants performing a statutory audit.

ACRA website: https://www.acra.gov.sg/

History of ACRA

ACRA was formed as a statutory board on 1 April 2004, following the merger of the then Registry of Companies and Businesses (RCB), and the Public Accountants’ Board (PAB).

Roles of ACRA

As the national business registry of Singapore, one of ACRA’s functions is to establish and administer a repository of documents and information relating to business entities and public accountants, and to provide access to the public to such documents and information.

The information available for public access includes registration date, nature of the business activity, registered office address, and financial statements of business entities, as well as personal data about owners, shareholders, directors, and officers of the business.

The ACRA Act

ACRA is exempted from the PDPA. The ACRA Act provides for ACRA to disclose personal data in discharging its functions.

Nevertheless, ACRA adheres to the Public Sector (Governance) Act and Government Instruction Manuals with respect to the way data is managed. This includes putting in place processes and procedures to prevent disclosure of data under circumstances other than those allowed under the ACRA Act.