The city-state ranks among the world’s top destinations for doing Business, influenced by its robust economy, established capital markets, startups, financial systems, and geographical location. With a few natural resources to depend on, the economic success of Singapore is attributed to its extensive network and government initiatives that have made it extremely attractive for companies in Singapore. If you’re considering starting a business in Singapore, the first walk is to register your company with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). Registering a company in Singapore is relatively straightforward, but knowing the requirements and procedures is essential to ensure a smooth and successful registration. In this complete guide on company registration Singapore, you will walk through everything you need to know.
Company Registration Singapore
Singapore was ranked second in the World Bank’s annual survey of 189 economies on the Ease of Doing Business in 2021. The annual survey made by the World Bank considered the administrative burden of the tax system, ease in obtaining utilities, and the number of procedures to be completed before incorporating a company. Let’s outline the basic requirements for company registration in Singapore.
1. Choose a business type
The first step in company registration in Singapore is to choose a business type. There are many business organizations in Singapore with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. The most common types of business organizations include:
- Sole proprietorship: This is owned by one individual who is personally liable for all the debts and losses of the Business.
- Partnership: This is owned by two or more individuals who share profits and losses.
- Limited Liability Partnership (LLP): In this partnership, each partner is not personally liable for the debts and losses of other partners.
- Private Limited Company ( Pte Ltd): This is a separate legal entity from its shareholders and directors, with limited liability for its debts and losses.
2. Company’s desired name
Once you’ve chosen a business type, the next step is to select a company name. Your company name should be unique and not already used by another Singapore company. You can check the availability of your chosen name through the ACRA website. Your company name should also be easy to remember and reflect the nature of your business.
There are specific guidelines that business owners should observe when selecting a name for the company, like:
- Ensuring that there are no words that can be considered vulgar or inappropriate.
- Usage of national symbols like ” Merlion.”
3. Appointment of a Company Director and Shareholders
For company registration in Singapore, you must appoint a director and shareholders to commence a business.
- If you have a Private Limited Company (Pte Ltd), you must have at least one director who is a Singaporean resident, permanent resident, or employment pass holder. The director must be at least 18 years old and not bankrupt or convicted of criminal offenses. The director is responsible for managing the company’s affairs and complying with all the legal requirements.
- You must appoint at least one shareholder, an individual, or a corporate entity. The shareholder owns shares in the company and is authorized to have a share of the profits. No minimum share capital is required to register a company in Singapore.
4. Register Your Company
For company registration Singapore your company must submit the following documents to ACRA:
- Company name
- Description of business activities
- Registered address
- Particulars of company director(s) and shareholder(s)
- Memorandum and Articles of Association (MAA)
- Company registration fee
The Memorandum and Articles of Association (MAA) is a legal document that outlines the company’s structure, rules, and objectives. All shareholders and directors must sign it before the company can be registered.
Once all the documents are submitted, it usually takes one to two days for ACRA to process the registration. You will receive an email notification once your company is registered.
5. Apply for Business Permits and Licenses
According to the nature of your business activities, you must apply for additional licenses and permits from the relevant government agencies. For example, to start a food and beverage business, you must apply for a food license from the Singapore Food Agency (SFA).
6. Registered Office
For the registration of the office, the following criteria should be fulfilled:
- It should be open for at least five hours during ordinary working days
- It should have a physical office address located in Singapore
- It cannot be a P. O box
Besides, there are other options to choose from at the time of company registration Singapore:
- Renting an office space
- Opting for a virtual office
- Applying for a license to have a home office.
7. Set up your Accounting and Taxation System
As a registered company in Singapore, you must comply with all the accounting and taxation requirements. This includes maintaining proper accounting records, submitting annual tax returns, and paying corporate taxes.
You can hire an accounting or tax firm in Singapore to handle all your accounting and taxation matters to ensure compliance. Alternatively, you can hire a full-time accountant or set up an accounting department.
8. Open a corporate bank account
After company registration in Singapore, you must open a corporate bank account to conduct business transactions. You must provide the bank with the company’s registration documents, the company’s MAA, and the particulars of the company’s directors and shareholders.
9. Obtain Business Insurance
One crucial aspect of company registration in Singapore is to obtain business insurance to protect your company from unexpected events such as property damage, liability claims, or business interruptions. Some common business insurance types in Singapore include fire, public liability, and professional indemnity insurance.
A Singpass is an electronic identity provided to all Singaporeans. However, foreigners with qualifying FINs can apply for Singpass. With Singpass, an individual can lodge the registration application to ACRA through its electronic portal known as Bizfile.
Company registration in Singapore can be a simple process if you follow the steps outlined in this guide. Choosing the right business entity type is essential, as registering your company with ACRA, obtaining the necessary licenses and permits, and complying with all the accounting and taxation requirements. By doing so, you can set up a successful business in Singapore and take advantage of the city-state’s vibrant economy and business-friendly environment.