If you are thinking of establishing a business in Singapore due to the ease of doing business and tax benefits that are provided by the Singapore Government, you have come to the right place. This article will explain the details of Singapore business registration, along with all the necessary details that are required to be known for Business Registration in Singapore.
However, there are some requirements that you must comply with to register a business in Singapore.
According to the section number 5 of the Business Names Registration Act (BNRA), all the business except a few specific ones is bound to be registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore.
Before we move further, it is essential to define the term business. An activity that is carried out on a perpetual and continual basis for the purpose of gain is called a Business. This includes all types of businesses, including online and web-based businesses such as online stores and home-based businesses like selling home-baked goods or handicrafts. Therefore any person doing any activity that falls in the definition of a business under Singapore law is required to register a business in Singapore. This is required for maintaining a lawful business environment.
The Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore, which also acts as the Company Registrar, supervises the whole process for the Singapore business registration, which may include other business entities like Sole Proprietorship or partnerships. If you are a person who has decided to set up a new company or is willing to shift your business from another location, requirements given by ACRA must be fulfilled.
The Singapore Business Registration can be quite easy if the services of a reputed filing agent are hired. A foreigner is required to get help from the local business Registration provider as they are not allowed to register by themselves.
A Singapore Business Registration brings trust because a registered business can be searched and verified on ACRA website. Therefore, the business will find it relatively easy to obtain financing and credit.
The biggest benefit of getting registered is protection from liability. If your business is sued or gets in debt, you cannot be personally held responsible for it provided you chose to incorporate a company or register an LLP (Limited Liability Partnership). Obviously, for normal partnerships and sole proprietorships, this benefit will not be available as the liability there is unlimited.
It is important to know that Business Registration Singapore is exempted in certain cases which are mentioned below:
You must consider the following points before a business Registration Singapore:
The benefits you will receive post registration are:
If you are the only person who is running your business, you may register as a sole proprietor. This will have lesser administrative, tax, and management requirements.
If you want to establish a business in partnership with one or more partners, you may register your business in Singapore as a Partnership. The benefit of this is that you will not have to file your accounts or have them audited.
If you and your partners want to play safe and do not want to be held responsible for partner’s debts, LLP would be an ideal choice for you.
For the entrepreneurs who want to register a business in Singapore, the most preferred business structure as per the scalability and robustness would be a private limited company. It has the following advantages:
The second step is to decide a business name. In order to register a new company, its name has to be approved by ACRA. The chances of approval of the name may be higher if following things are kept in mind for selection of the name:
The following are the step for registering a business in Singapore.
Following are the requirements for online Registration of business in Singapore:
A logical question can be; what are the repercussions of not registering a business in Singapore. Here are the penalties that can be imposed in case of not doing Singapore Business Registration.
ACRA, the Registrar of the companies, will notify the business owner through an email about the successful Registration of the business or the incorporation of the company. This includes the company Registration number. This soft copy is a valid official certificate of incorporation in Singapore. However, we can obtain a hardcopy of the certificate as well by making an online request to the authorities. A nominal fee is applicable on this.
After the incorporation of the company, you can obtain the company / business profile from the authorities. The business profile of the company contains details of the company and can be availed by making an online request along with submission of a nominal fee. The document is made available in pdf format that can be downloaded an hour after placing the request. The company’s business profile covers the following information:
Note: All legal and contractual activities, including corporate bank account opening, signing of office lease, subscribing to office utilities (the internet, telephone), etc. require the soft copies of two documents; certificate of incorporation and company business profile for fulfilling their official requirement.
after Business Registration Singapore, a business is required to open a corporate account in any of the banks in Singapore. The major banks that can be considered for a corporate account are Citi Bank, Standard Chartered, HSBC, DBS, OCBC, and UOB. Nowadays, many banks demand the physical presence of the company stakeholders for opening a corporate bank account to fulfill the norms of KYC.
For your newly incorporated company, whether you need to obtain one or more business licenses and permits depends on the company’s business activities. It is imperative that before commencing the business operations, licenses must be obtained. It must be noted that all companies do not require permits and licenses. Fortunately, only a few businesses like educational institutes, travel agencies, financial services, restaurants, import/export of goods, cleaning business etc. are required to get the business license.
Registration of GST is a must if the expected annual turnover of your new company is more than S$1 million. This is an indirect tax that is applied to the consumption of goods and services in Singapore. GST is also known as VAT (Value Added Tax) in many other countries,
The applicable GST rate (7%) is required to be charged to the consumers of your goods and services for your GST-registered company. This amount has to be paid to the tax authorities. all GST-registered businesses must comply with the requirement of GST filing.
An element that lends credibility to the company’s document is the company’s rubber stamp. The registration number and name of the company is engraved on the stamp. It is the rubber stamp that gives authenticity, professional look, and validity to the official document of the company.
To have a company seal for every Singapore-based company is a legal requirement. It typically is used in documents such as loan documents, share certificates, and other lawful documents
Each of the shareholders must be issued with share certificates by the company secretary. It shows how share has been distributed among the shareholder sand also serves as proof of their ownership in the company
It is important to issue the first resolution that appoints the directors and other company officials like a company secretary or an auditor etc.
Maintaining a proper record of accounts through accounting books is a must for all Singapore companies. May it be a general ledger, fixed asset ledger, account receivables or accounts payable; timely and accurate maintenance of the accounts is a must. The yearly financial statement has to be prepared and filed with the authority in XBRL format.
To hold its AGM in every calendar year is a mandatory requirement for every company. The financial statements of the company are listed for the approval of shareholders.
Filing of Annual Returns has to be done after one month from the date of AGM of the company.
The last dates of tax filing for companies are 30 November (paper-filing) and 15 December (e-filing).
Determination of financial year is the company’s own choice in Singapore. It is not compulsory that it should be an accounting cycle from January to December or April to March. The financial year (accounting cycle) can start in any month of the year.
Singapore has a very friendly ecosystem for start-ups. One of the main incentives of Singapore company registration is the availability of a series of funding assistance from the government.
The government has invested a lot of capital into these arrangements. To support start-ups in their initial days is a part of the Singapore government’s initiative.
Some of the schemes that are presently being offered by the Singapore government are mentioned below. These schemes can help leverage your innovative ideas or technology to form a business venture.
There are many supplementary government grants, incubators, and equity programs apart from these, which are available in the city-state.
If a business goes bad and has to close down, then there are certain requirements that are applicable to closure of the business.
Need to inform the ACRA that the business has ceased and being winded by filling in a form for Cessation of Business online through BizFile+.
You are required to apply to ACRA for voluntarily winding up of the company or to strike its business name off of the register.