Acra to phase in changes to Companies Act due to delays in website revamp

SINGAPORE - The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) announced on Wednesday that it will be phasing in changes to the Companies Act in two stages.

About 40 per cent of the over 200 legislative amendments will take effect in the first phase on July 1, 2015. The second phase encompassing the rest of the legislative amendments is expected to come into effect in the first quarter of 2016.

Acra said this approach is being adopted as some changes are directly linked to the registration and filing processes in Acra's online business filing and information portal (BizFile).

BizFile is currently undergoing a major revamp, and is now expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016.

Technical issues related to the revamp are taking a longer time to resolve than originally anticipated due to the complexity of the BizFile system, which handles close to 400 e-services accounting for more than a million transactions a year.

Companies Act amendments that have no or limited links to BizFile will be effected under the first phase. These include the new provisions which broaden the criteria for exemption from statutory audit for small companies, which will benefit SMEs.

Acra will announce the effective date for and provide more details on phase two about two months before the changes are due to take effect. It said that as far as possible, two months' notice will be given in advance of the effective date of implementation of phase two.

The simplified regulatory fee structure that ACRA had previously announced and the new Business Names Registration Act which will replace the current Business Registration Act, will take effect in tandem with the completion of the revamped BizFile, expected to be in the first quarter of 2016.

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