The Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) Code: What Is It and Do I Need One?

Starting a business in Singapore is relatively straightforward but there are regulatory requirements that entrepreneurs must adhere to, such as applying for a UEN number, signing up for the Skills Development Levy (SDL), as well as registering your new company with ACRA, the local government body.

While this may come across as time consuming, the fact is that Singapore is one of the best places in the world to do business. Hence, there is a minimum of red tape and bureaucracy and most of the filing requirements can be done online. 

The Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) is used by the government to analyse economic activity as well as for further application in Singaporean population, household, and industrial censuses. It is mandatory for corporations to register for the SSIC code, which is based on the basic framework and principles of the International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC). 

The SSIC code, therefore, is purely for administrative purposes and does not entail any additional tax or reporting liability for the registering company. Singaporean government bodies collect data reported under the SSIC code for taxonomy purposes, such as to compile, present, and analyse prevailing economic structures. 

Companies registering for an SSIC code have benefits, too. They can use their SSIC classification to determine whether they need additional business licenses or government approvals. For example, a business registering under SSIC code 68101, for real estate developers, can check their specific operating requirements which are likely to be different from 78105 — executive search services. 

How do I search for my SSIC code?

Here’s a step-by-step-guide to determining the correct SSIC code for your new company.

  1. Navigate over to the government of Singapore’s Bizfile site.
  2. Type the primary keywords that best describe your business activities and click search.
  3. The site should list a number of SSIC categories. Select the one that most closely matches your business.
  4. Ensure that your keywords are not misspelled and that they’re the ones that are most commonly used when it comes to your business.
  5. If the system is unable to generate an SSIC code, try variations of your keyword for better results.
  6. As a final step, you can also search for your SSIC code manually. This classification document includes all the common SSIC categories that relate to specific business activities.

Frequently Asked Questions about SSIC Codes

What does the SSIC code stand for?

The Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) code is a list of all the types of business activities in Singapore. It helps the government understand the particular type of economic activities taking place in the country and is used for reports, censuses, and other forecasting and planning documents.

What is ACRA?

ACRA stands for the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority and is the main government body that is tasked with overseeing company registration, including signing up for the SSIC code. ACRA will review your filing documents to ensure that you have registered for the correct SSIC code.

How many SSIC codes can a company have?

Usually a company has one SSIC code, but they can apply for an additional code if there are multiple lines of business.

What happens if I register for the wrong SSIC code?

Whenever you incorporate a new company, your registration documents are reviewed by ACRA. Some documents are sent to other government bodies to ensure accuracy and completeness of information. If you sign up for the wrong SSIC code, it’s possible that the registration of your business will be delayed and you might have to submit additional documentation for approval.