Building a business in Singapore is favored by many entrepreneurs due to several reasons. From the country’s stable political environment, competitive tax rates, and attractive tax incentives for certain industries. With its business-friendly environment, it is no wonder why Singapore’s reputation as a thriving business hub has attracted entrepreneurs from around the world.
But though Singapore is a great country to set up your company, it is also important to understand that there are compliance requirements that all entrepreneurs should know and understand before registering your company.
Want to know what are the important things that you need to take notes of? Check out below for our thorough guide.
1. Decide Your Company Structure
The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), is the main regulatory body that oversees businesses, accountants, and corporate service providers in Singapore. They are also responsible for the company registration process.
ACRA allows the registration of various company structures, including Private Limited Companies, Sole Proprietorships, and Limited Liability Partnerships. Making sure you select the right structure is crucial before registering your company because it will dictate the registration requirement and tax obligation. For example, Sole Proprietors may face up to a 22% personal income tax rate, while Private Limited Companies are subject to a corporate tax of up to 17% on their taxable income.
To decide which structure will best fit your company, it will be influenced by factors such as initial investment, the number of partners, liability consideration, and expansion plans. When registering your company, you should opt for the structure that aligns with your business preference and can offer optimal tax benefits.
2. Getting Approval from ACRA for Your Company Name
Another crucial aspect of registering your business in Singapore is obtaining approval for the company name from ACRA. After you decide on a particular name, you must propose it first to ACRA to undergo scrutiny before getting the stamp of approval. If you don’t get ACRA’s approval, your business registration won’t proceed.
A great tip that you have to keep in mind to gain approval for your business name, is that you have to choose a distinctive company name that is relevant to your business nature. You should also stay away from using offensive language or acronyms in your company name. Because if you do so, guarantees ACRA will immediately reject your application. You should also address any copyright concerns related to your business name before registration.
3. Having a Physical Office in Singapore
Having a physical office address is also a requirement for incorporating your company in Singapore. ACRA mandates that all companies must provide a local registered office address during the registration process because all official documents and notices related to your business registration will be sent and served at your physical office. Thus, it’s essential to have a physical location to establish a presence and ensure accessibility for regulatory purposes.
4. Employing Local Resident
To successfully register a company in Singapore, you will also need a minimum of two residents for the managerial roles, with the option to employ more than two in another position. Additionally, at least one director of the company must be a resident or a nominee director based in Singapore. The company secretary should also be a resident of Singapore and must be appointed within six months of the company registration.
5. Prepare Necessary documents & Registration Submission
Once you have obtained approval for the company name, fulfilled the high requirements, have a physical office, and have decided on the company structure – you can then proceed to the next step which is obtaining registration forms from the ACRA’s website.
These forms should be completed and submitted along with necessary documents, including the approved name, a concise company description, and the registered address. Additionally, it is also a must to provide identification details for owners, partners, directors, and management staff.
You can submit all these necessary documents through ACRA’s user-friendly online platform called BizFile+. The application typically takes 3 working days to process. However, it can take longer if the applications need further review by the agency. To avoid this, do keep in mind that ensuring the completeness and accuracy of these documents is crucial if you want to have a smooth registration process.
Following the registration process, you can now buy a company profile that contains details about your business and its unique entity number (UEN). If your company needs additional licenses and permits, you can start this process and obtain it from the respective authorities. Having your business officially registered will also enable you to open a bank account for your company. You can now start commencing all your business activities without worry!