Saturday, October 20, 2012

Simplify the filing process, ACRA

16 October 2012

Editor, Voices
Today Paper

I thank your paper for publishing my letters concerning providing feedback to 
ACRA and participating in their stakeholder's dialogue.

Five months earlier, I accepted their invitation. During this time, I was available
to attend their meetings, but they did not call for a meeting. It was wrong for 
ACRA to suggest that I was not interested or too busy to attend.

The annual report of ACRA for 2010/11 have a statement that "filing fines and prosecution 
penalties grew marginally by 6% to S$17.4 million (FY2009/10: S$16.4 million)."

I had to pay a fine of $120 for filing my annual returns late, although I acted promptly on
receiving their late reminder.  The revenue of $17.4 million suggested that over
100,000 people had failed in meeting their statutory responsibility. 

I had the personal experience of making online filings of the annual return and
change on share capital. The online process is extremely complicated. What should be
a simple matter in the traditional way of filing a paper-based return took hours to 
complete online.

To submit an online filing, the filer has to learn how to navigate the
complicated website and to understand the workings of the back-end system that they
are interacting with.  The potential of making mistakes is quite high. Quite often, the
    website hung and the filer had to repeat the process from the start.  I had to make several 
attempts to complete a simple filing.

I am sure that ACRA must have spent a lot of money on providing helpline support to people
who face difficulty in making online filing.  How wasteful for them and for the public!

I wanted to give my feedback to ACRA that they need to make a fundamental change
to their current approach. Something is clearly wrong, when so many people had
to pay fines and penalties.

Tan Kin Lian


cd-rom said...

Hi Mr Tan. I used to work in statutory board. Everyday, I received a lot of application forms from the public. Even though most of these forms were filled up correctly, it still took me a lot of time to process these application forms. Once in a while, I would get feedback saying the we should provide personal guidance or even fill up the forms for people who do not know how to fill up the application forms.

I do understand the applicants' predicament. But our department was short-handed.

Moreover, because the application for the use of facilities is free, the number of applications I get is really overwhelming at times. This is on top of my core job scope.

How can we resolve the issue?

sgcynic said...

What about the times before computerization, when people were also less educated? How did the government cope? Did they ask for unnecessary information? As an 'insider', you should be in a position to answer. Can the process and forms be simplified? Can your aministrative work process by simplified?

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