Friday, February 03, 2012

Online process of ACRA

I did an online filing of the annual return to ACRA. It was extremely complicated. The website had so many options for different types of company and different types of filing. I need to know the structure before I can access the right webpage. I had to get the helpdesk just to navigate through this maze.

I was able to login with my SingPass. To those who are not familiar with SingPass, it will be another harrowing journey, but I am now an expert in using SingPass!

Filing the annual return is another major challenge. There are several webpages and a few dozen buttons to read and select. To submit this type of return, the director has to be an expert in the filing structure of ACRA - and not just to know his own business.

Many buttons require me to read the instructions to understand which option to select. Fortunately, I had a printout from a previous submission (which was not completed), so I could refer to it to complete it again. 

After completing the details, I was asked to print out the page of my submission. I thought that this was the end of the process, but it was not so. Fortunately, the helpdesk girl was able to tell me to continue with the "Submit" button.

I still have to complete a few more pages of "Next", "Save" and "Submit". Each page has a lot of details that require me to read. The helpdesk girl said, "Mr. Tan, you can just ignore them and go to 'Next' ". But this is most unfair to me, as I am taking responsibility for any mistake!

Finally, I came to the payment page by eNETS. I have to select from the payment options. The helpdesk girl said, "select eNETS credit card". I found, to my horror, that I could not make any payment. I was using a Chrome browser and eNETS insist on an Internet Explorer. The helpdesk girl said, "Mr. Tan, please log on, and re-enter again after 1/2 hour (security measure) to complete the transaction with Internet Explorer.

I login later and found that the lockout was actually 1 hour (and not 1/2 hour). I do not blame the helpdesk girl for giving me the wrong information. She must also have a difficult time with the complexity.

I am now waiting for the 1 hour to expire. I dare not do other things, as I may forget to complete the transaction and the ACRA enforcement manager warn me that they will not be so lenient the next time. Actually, they are lenient in imposing a fine of only $170 for the last submission.

Just imagine. If I had been allowed to file my full annual return to ACRA in PDF, they have all the information that they need to do the data entry, without imposing a huge burden on the director/secretary of the company. I must have wasted several hours of my time with this filing process.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Tan, I had the same experience with you, trying to file my company's annual return online but there is one checkbox that remained grey-off and I was unable to check the box. After more than 6 months of trying, I was fined for about SGD1250. I filed an appeal and finally had to settled for about SGD400 of fine. It is really a frustrating and user unfriendly system.

Tan Kin Lian said...

The ACRA letter said that they are lenient in reducing my fine from $250 to $170, as I had made the effort to file earlier (although it passed the deadline).

After spending two hours filing a simple return, I found that the fine was $250. It is too much trouble for me to get the fine reduced to $170. So, I paid $250. ACRA can take the trouble to refund $80 to me, e.g. by crediting my credit card (which was used for payment). If not, I will forgo the $80.
I hope that ACRA knows how much trouble they are giving the public even in making a payment through eNETS. Let us see if they can make a refund.

Tan Kin Lian said...

I filed my return late because the work was done by a professional secretary previously. After taking over the work, I did not get any reminder from ACRA until after the deadline was passed. The reminder might have been sent to the previous professional secretary who did not pass it to me. This resulted in my oversight.

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