What is the definition of the business’ commencement date?
It is only when the business has established its profit-making structure and started its
first commercial activity that it can be regarded as having commenced operation.
What is profit-making structure?
No specific definition. It depends on the nature of the business. IRAS has however provided several examples in the directive.
If you were runnning a supermarket, it commences business when it opens its door and offers its goods for sale to the public. It is definitely not the date of opening ceremony.
For a manufacturing entity, it is the date the entity is in a position to start its first commercial production.
The start date for a hotel is simpler. It is the day it receives the certificate of registration.
A property developer seems to be getting a rough deal. The business commences when it buys its first piece of land or building for sale.
For a set up to provide professional service, it is deemed to have started business when it is ready to commence marketing activities. So if you are still in the midst of hiring staff and putting your office together, you have not started your business yet.
In case of doubt, you can always write in to IRAS for assistance.