As a charity, your organisation is required to make an annual submission to the Commissioner of Charities (COC), which includes:
- Annual Report (including Financial Statements); and
- Governance Evaluation Checklist.
These documents should be submitted online via the Charity Portal within 6 months from the end of each financial year. To promote transparency and accountability in the charity sector, these documents are published on the Charity Portal for viewing by members of the public and facilitate informed giving.
The COC has prepared a
Guide on Preparing Annual Submissions to help charities better understand their annual regulatory reporting obligations. It also serves as a one-stop guide on the relevant reference material available to charities pertaining to annual submission.
- Annual Report
- Financial Statements
- Online Financial Summary
- Governance Evaluation Checklist
- Returns on Tax Deductible Donations
As part of the Annual Report, your charity is required to prepare the financial statements in accordance to the Charities Act and Regulations. If your charity is a company limited by guarantee, its financial statements will be audited based on the requirements under the Companies Act.
To provide greater flexibility, the audit thresholds for charities have been revised upwards, as shown below:
Gross Income/ Total Expenditure
(A) $250,000 or less
Accounts can be examined by an independent person (also known as the Independent Examiner*) who is reasonably believed by the governing board members to have the requisite ability and practical experience to carry out a competent examination of the accounts.
(B) Between $250,000 and $500,000
Accounts can be examined by an independent person who is a member of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) (formerly known as the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore) or who possesses the necessary qualifications to be a member of the ISCA.
(C) Above $500,000; and
(D) All IPCs
Accounts shall be audited by a public accountant.
*Independent Examiners can refer to the documents below for the respective purposes:
If your charity’s financial statements are required to be audited under the
Charities (Accounts and Annual Report) Regulations , the financial statements should be prepared in accordance with either the Financial Reporting Standards (FRS) or the Charities Accounting Standard (CAS). Your charity should comply with the FRS if it holds significant investments in any subsidiary, associate or joint venture that is not a charity.
The CAS is a simpler financial reporting framework that is tailored to the needs of the charity sector. It aims to better meet the needs of the charity sector and its stakeholders by providing information that is more relevant and fit-for-purpose. You are strongly encouraged to refer to the
Statement of Applicability for CAS.
The Online Financial Summary (OFS) was first introduced in 2007 for Institutions of a Public Character (IPCs) to post a summary of their financial information on the Charity Portal for public viewing. With effect from 2013, this requirement was subsequently extended to all charities which are required to be audited, with the exception of self-funded grantmakers.
As part of the COC’s efforts to streamline and simplify reporting requirements, all non-IPC charities with gross income or total expenditure (whichever the higher) in the financial year that does not exceed $500,000, are no longer required to submit the OFS for that financial year. This change is applicable to charities’ annual submissions for financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2020. A summary of the OFS submission requirements is appended below.
Type of Charity
Required to submit OFS?
Non-IPC charities with gross income
or total expenditure exceeding $500,000
Non-IPC charities with gross income
and total expenditure not exceeding $500,000
(regardless of legal status, i.e. company limited by guarantee, society or others)
Non-IPC charities which are self-funded grantmaker
ABC Ltd. does not have IPC status and its gross income and expenditure in the financial year ended 31 December 2020 were $600,000 and $400,000 respectively. ABC Ltd. has to submit the OFS for the abovementioned financial year.
XYZ Ltd. does not have IPC status and its gross income and expenditure in the financial year ended 31 December 2020 were $450,000 and $300,000 respectively. XYZ Ltd. need not submit the OFS for the abovementioned financial year.
The OFS is submitted as part of the charities' submission of Annual Reports (including financial statements and the appropriate Governance Evaluation Checklist) within 6 months from the end of each financial year of a charity. The OFS should be approved by the governing board members of a charity prior to submission to the Commissioner of Charities via the Charity Portal.
You can download a copy of the
OFS template to better prepare your charity for its annual submissions.
Overseas Expenditures, Capital Outlay and Remittance of Funds as Agent
To improve the accountability of the charity sector and strengthen the COC's oversight of the funds that charities remit or apply for overseas purposes, your charity is required to provide information about overseas expenditure, capital outlay, as well as remittance of funds as agents that were spent in, remitted to or benefitting locations outside Singapore. Such reporting will include the total quantum of financial resources applied overseas as well as the list of countries in which the overseas expenditure/capital outlay/remittance of funds are applied/remitted to, or where the overseas beneficiaries and partners are located. The names of overseas recipients will need to be disclosed in relation to overseas remittance of funds made by charities as agents.
The reporting requirement applies to all charities which are required to submit the OFS.
You can refer to the following documents for further information:
The Governance Evaluation Checklist (GEC) is designed to help your charity self-evaluate the extent to which is has complied with the essential guidelines in the
Code of Governance for Charities and IPCs .
The GEC covers only the key principles and guidelines of the Code. Your charity should refer to the Code and consider all applicable principles and guidelines.
If your charity is unable to comply with certain guidelines, the governing board should explain the circumstances, and indicate the steps it plans to take to address the non-compliance, or to explain why if it decides not to comply.
Your charity’s governing board should take the opportunity to review or consider amending the charity’s governing instruments and policies as necessary to comply with the Code guidelines in the charity’s best interest.
Submission and Disclosure Requirements
Your charity is required to submit the extent of compliance with the Code to the COC as part of its annual submissions. The full responsibility for providing accurate and updated checklist information rests with your governing board. You may wish to refer to the
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Governance Evaluation Checklist for more details.
As an Institution of a Public Character (IPC), you have additional reporting requirements.
Apart from the standard annual submissions required of all charities and IPCs (i.e. annual reports, financial statements and the Governance Evaluation Checklists), your charity is also required to file the following with the relevant authorities
no later than the last day of January of each year:
a) Details of every
tax deductible donation received, except for those mentioned in (b), must be submitted to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) either via
ipcLink or Offline Validation Program; and
b) An annual return of tax deductible donations* must be submitted to the Commissioner of Charities or your Sector Administrator
only if your IPC receives some tax deductible donations which are not reported by the IPC to IRAS (e.g. payroll deduction donations).
*The tax deduction scheme for donation of computers has been withdrawn with effect from 21 February 2017. For submissions to the COC, please use the following
IRAS has issued a list of good practices on internal controls for the reporting of tax deductible donations which IPCs are encouraged to adopt. A copy of the good practices is available