Singapore Company Registration: The Definitive 2023 Guide
Singapore company registration process is simple and free of red tape. The government also encourages the incorporation of company by offering various tax exemptions and schemes to startups. It is why new entrepreneurs tend to favour an ACRA register company.
ACRA Register Company
The Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) is the Company Registrar. It supervises the process of Singapore company registration. ACRA sees that the process is as per the Companies Act, Chapter 50.
Many Singaporean and foreign owners opting for an ACRA register company need help. They can hire an agent for services for the company formation Singapore. These professionals advise and assist in setting up a company in Singapore.
I Am Not A Singaporean Resident; What Must I Know For My Singapore Company Formation?
Foreigners cannot self-register or set up company in Singapore by themselves. Hiring an agent for business registration Singapore eases their task significantly. Foreigners also need a Singapore work visa or pass to relocate and work in Singapore.
With their expert knowledge of company formation Singapore, your agent saves you valuable time & money. They provide you with precise solutions for setting up a company in Singapore.
How to Set Up Company Singapore?
To register company in Singapore, you need to:
- Select the business structure that fulfils your business needs
- Register your company with ACRA
- Open a corporate bank account
As per ACRA, anyone over 18 can register company in Singapore. Singapore residents, Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass), Employment Pass (EP) and Dependant Pass (DP) holders, and foreigners can set up company Singapore.
Guidelines for Foreigners Wanting to Register Company in Singapore
As a foreigner, you need to fulfil additional requirements to complete company registration Singapore.
- Employ a local or resident director (a Singaporean, Permanent Resident, EP or EntrePass holder)
- Provide a registered local office address
For the incorporation of company, choose an accounting, law, or corporate secretarial firm that provides Singapore company registration services.
As a foreigner, you can apply to the Ministry of Manpower (MoM) for an EntrePass and then opt for company incorporation Singapore. You must present your credentials as a serial entrepreneur and fulfil all the conditions for Entrepass. You can relocate and work as the company’s local/resident director.
On Employment Pass
As an Employment Pass, you can register company in Singapore and be its owner or shareholder. However, you cannot be its local/resident director, as you cannot work for a company other than your employer.
At the time of incorporation of company, you may need to hire nominee director services.
Alternatively, you can set up company Singapore. Then, ask your company secretary to apply to MoM for an Employment Pass for you. Once you relocate to Singapore, you can replace the nominee director and take complete charge of your company.
Do I Have To Immigrate To Singapore To Manage My New Company?
No, absolutely not! After the incorporation of company, you do not have to immigrate to Singapore. You can also run your company from your native or another place.
However, at the time of company registration Singapore, you must appoint at least one nominee director and continue to employ them.
How Much Time Does It Take To Register A Singapore Company?
Usually, ACRA takes 1-3 days to register a Singapore company. If your application gets referred to the Minister, approval may take up to 2 months.
It also depends on how quickly you and other shareholders and directors submit the required documentation to your company secretary for verification.
What is The Cost of Company Incorporation Singapore?
The process for company registration Singapore is straightforward. We at SBS Consulting Pte Ltd can register your Singapore company for only S$699.
This fee covers ACRA’s official costs for (a) registering the company name and (b) company registration Singapore.
ACRA’s official processing fees:
- Register a company name (S$15)
- Singapore company registration (S$300)
Apart from these essential costs, you may also have to pay extra for services like Nominee Director and Registered Office Address.
Our Singapore Company Registration Package S$699*
*All prices exclusive of 8% GST (Goods and Services Tax)
Discuss your Singapore company registration needs with us. After hiring us, submit your incorporation and KYC documents to us. We will then initiate the Singapore company registration process on ACRA’s website.
Choose a Corporate/Legal/Business Structure
Before initiating the process for company registration Singapore, be ready with the following data:
- The list of shareholders in your company
- The number of shares each of them will hold
- Directors who will be on the board of your company
- At least one local or resident director who is ordinarily a resident of Singapore
- Nominee director service, if you cannot provide a local director
Incorporation Documents to Register Company in Singapore
As per ACRA rules, your Agent or Singapore company registration services provider is responsible for the identification, collection, and verification of the details of the intended shareholders and directors in your company.
Here is a list of incorporation documents you must submit to ACRA.
- Company name registered with ACRA
- A brief description of business activities and SSIC codes
- Details of Singapore registered address of the company
- Particulars of shareholders
- Particulars of directors
- Particulars of company secretary
- In addition:
- Foreign Individual Entrepreneurs must submit a copy of their passport and residential address proof (overseas)
- Foreign Companies must submit Memorandum & Articles of Associations
- Singapore Residents must submit a copy of their Singapore identity card
If your documents are not in English, use a reliable translation agency to translate them into English.
Types of Business Structure for Maximizing Tax Benefits
You can use one of the following business structures to register your business.
- Private Limited Company (Pte. Ltd.)
- Sole Proprietorship
- Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
Rather than setting up a company in Singapore in a hurry and starting your business activity, identify the most suitable business structure. Here compare the advantages and disadvantages of a private limited company, sole proprietorship, and an LLP before initiating the Singapore company registration process.
Refer to the articles below if you need more info on how to open company in Singapore.
Factors That Can Affect Your Choice Of A Business Structure
Number of Owners/Members/Partners
- If you opt for a business registration Singapore and want to be its sole owner, start a sole proprietorship. It is cheap and easy to set up. It is the right tool to run a risk-free business. You will get to make all its business decisions.
- If you are two or more (up to 20) professionals/companies with a complementing set of skills, business registration Singapore in the form of an LLP may benefit you.
- If you are a group of 1-50 individuals who want to own a part of a business at limited risk, opt for a company incorporation Singapore (Pte Ltd).
If you want to start small, work hard, and grow your business. Then, you should start your business registration Singapore with a sole proprietorship. This is a great option, especially if you do not know how far your business will take you. Later on, you can convert it into a private limited company.
However, if you are clear about your vision and are in the market for the long run, put your trust in Pte. Ltd. and register company in Singapore.
The business structure defines your liability. The liability of a sole proprietor and members in an LLP is unlimited. It puts their personal assets at risk. The liability of shareholders in a private limited company is limited to their investment in its shares. Shareholders’ personal assets are safe.
Income Tax Rates
- The Pte Ltd company pays corporate tax (0%-17%) on its taxable income. Its owners or shareholders do not have to pay it.
- The owners of a sole proprietorship or a partnership have to pay personal income tax (0%-22%) on their income from their business.
Funding for Expansion
Banks, financial institutes, and investors find a private limited company more credible. It can quickly raise capital for its growth or expand its business activities. The credibility of a sole proprietorship depends on its proprietor, and that of an LLP depends on its members. It is not easy for these businesses to fund their growth.
Why Set Up a Private Limited Company (Pte Ltd)
Your choice should enable you to manage the risk, liability, scaling of business, & brand image optimally. Choosing the right business structure is crucial as it affects your income tax returns.
Entrepreneurs wanting to register company in Singapore prefer a private limited company for its credibility, scalability and robustness.
- It has a distinct legal identity.
- The liability of the shareholders is limited to the amount they invested in purchasing its shares.
- A private limited company could be a highly tax-efficient business entity if properly structured.
- Foreigners can own 100% of the company’s shares.
- Any person over 18 years, regardless of nationality, can go for company incorporation Singapore.
You can open company in Singapore as a private limited company to manage your risk and tax benefits and exemptions. However, if your risk is minimal, you should better consult an expert. They may suggest you go with a sole proprietorship or an LLP instead of Pte Ltd company registration Singapore.
If you register company in Singapore as a Pte Ltd, you must fulfil added compliance requirements like preparing accounts, director’s reports, filing annual returns and conducting audits. It may also involve appointing an auditor, a company secretary, and a local director for your company. It all adds up and may prove to be costly.
Once you have chosen the business structure, you must meet the following requirements.
What Key Requirements Do I Have to Fulfil to Set Up Company in Singapore?
If you need help with how to open company in Singapore, here is a checklist of crucial requirements.
- Company Name: Company name approved by and registered with ACRA
- At Least 1 Director: Need at least one director who is either Singapore Citizen, Singapore Permanent Resident or EntrePass holder
- At Least 1 – 50 Shareholders: Minimum of 1 and a maximum of 50 shareholders
- A Registered Local Office Address: You need a local registered address in Singapore for the company office
- Company Secretary: Appoint at least one company secretary within six months from the date of your company formation Singapore
- Initial Paid-Up Capital: Minimum of S$1 in initial paid-up capital
- At least 1 Auditor: Unless your company has been exempted from audit requirements, appoint at least one auditor within three months of the date of your business registration Singapore
Step 1: Getting ACRA’s Approval for Your Company Name
You start the process for company registration Singapore by getting its name approved by ACRA. The chances of quick approval will be higher if you keep the following things in mind.
- The name must be, unique, meaningful, easy to read and devoid of vulgar or obscene words.
- Free of copyright issues. It should not infringe on any trademark.
- Your company name may need approval from higher authority if it contains words like “Bank,” “Finance,” “Educational,” “Media,” etc.
***After opting for SBS Consulting’s company incorporation Singapore service, provide at least 3-5 names to check name availability with ACRA.
Once the company name is approved, ACRA will reserve it for your use for 60 days from the date of application. You can register company in Singapore within this period. If you cannot, we will ask ACRA for an extension of another 60 days by filing a request on your behalf.
Step 2: Submit the Application to ACRA
After the approval of the company name, we will apply to ACRA for your company registration Singapore. It takes little time to complete the Singapore company formation process, assuming the documents are in order.
For your Singapore company registration online, visit BizFile+.
Post Singapore Company Formation Formalities
After the successful incorporation of company, ACRA sends a confirmation email. It contains the Singapore company registration number. In Singapore, this soft copy works as the official certificate of incorporation. If you need, we can obtain a hard copy of this certificate by making an online request. A nominal fee will be applicable.
Company Business Profile
After opening a company in Singapore, obtain company business profile. It contains particulars of the company and can be obtained online by paying a small fee. It comes in PDF format and can be downloaded within an hour of the request.
The company business profile includes the following key details:
- Company name and registration number
- Previous names for the company, if any
- Registration date
- Principal Business Activities
- Paid-up capital
- Registered address
- Particulars of Shareholders/Directors/Company Secretary
Certificate of Incorporation
After opening a company in Singapore, you need soft copies of the Certificate of Incorporation and Company Business Profile for legal and contractual activities. You must submit them to open a corporate bank account, sign the office lease, and subscribe to office utilities like the internet and telephone.
Get Business Licenses and Permits
At the time of business registration Singapore, you must provide the SSIC code in the application. It tells ACRA about your business’ intended activities. Some of these codes restrict company names and business activities you can take up.
So if you need a permit or license for your business, apply to and acquire it from the proper authorities before commencing your business activities. If required, ask for advice from your provider of services for company incorporation Singapore or visit the business license portal.
Goods and Service Tax (GST) Registration
If the expected annual turnover of your new company is more than S$1 million, you must register it for GST. Then, you have to collect the 8% of GST from your clients and pay it to IRAS. In other countries, GST is also called VAT (Value Added Tax).
The company’s rubber stamp lends credibility to the company’s document. It has the name and registration number of the company engraved on it. The rubber stamp makes the company’s official documents look more authentic and professional.
The company secretary issues share certificates to each of the shareholders. It proves their ownership in the newly set up company Singapore. It also shows the distribution of shareholding.
First Board Resolution
Immediately after you register company in Singapore, all its shareholders must meet. They must discuss and pass resolutions to appoint at least one director to take charge of company activities, open a corporate bank account, employ other company officials like an auditor, the company secretary, etc.
Also Read: Singapore Payroll Services
Compliance for Singapore Companies
After completing the process of company registration Singapore, every company must fulfil a set of annual filing requirements to stay compliant with the law.
All Singapore companies must maintain their accounting books in order. They need to keep their general ledgers, accounts payable and account receivables, or fixed asset ledger and every other account on time. They must prepare and file their annual financial statements with authority in XBRL format.
Convening of AGM
It is a mandatory requirement for every company to hold its AGM every calendar year. Hold your first AGM within 18 months from the date of incorporation of company. In AGM, you must table the financial statements of the company for the shareholder’s approval.
Annual Returns Filing
Filing of Annual Returns after one month from the date of the AGM of the company.
Corporate Tax Filing
The last tax filing dates for companies are 30 November (paper-filing) and 15 December (e-filing).
Determine Financial Year
It is up to the companies to determine their financial year. The financial year (accounting cycle) can start in any month of the year. It may run from January to December or April to March.
SBS Consulting Pte Ltd is a reputed provider of services for Singapore company registration. We help budding business owners set up company in Singapore. If you have any doubts about how to register a company in Singapore, call us on +65 6536 0036 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to know more.
Yes! Reliable registered filing agents advise their clients to be physically present in Singapore to set up their company. The banks also demand your presence at the time of opening of corporate bank account for your new company.
You need to access BizFile+ portal to apply for company registration online. You log-in into it by using SingPass ID. Foreigners do not have it and it is not possible to complete the process of Singapore company registration without SingPass ID. You must hire an agent or company incorporation services provider for the task.
As per ACRA's rule, anyone over the age of 18 can register a company in Singapore. Singaporeans, immigrants in Singapore like EP holders or Dependant Pass holders, and foreigners living abroad qualify to do so.
As a foreigner, you need work visas to immigrate and work in Singapore. You need an EntrePass if they want to start your business and work for it as its local director.
On the other hand, if you may not want to immigrate to Singapore. In this case, you need to appoint a nominee director at the time of registering their Singapore company.
Yes. You, as an EP holder, can register a company in Singapore like everyone else at any time. However, you need to know more if you also want to be its Singaporean local director. This vital info can save you some trouble and headache while starting your business.
Starting a company in Singapore is a simple and straightforward affair if done properly. Following are the components of cost to start a business in Singapore:
- Application to register a company name (S$15)
- Fees for Singapore company registration (S$300)
Apart from this basic cost, you may have to pay for hiring services like Nominee Director, Company Secretary, Registered & Office Address.
We can register a Singapore business for you at S$699. The fee covers your company name registration and Singapore company registration.
With our package, you get FREE Company Secretary (S$299*) and FREE Registered Address (S$239*) for 1st year. We also assist you in opening a corporate bank account for your business.
Before you invest in a company or form any business relationship with it, it is wise to know more about it. ACRA wants to protect your interests and has wisely provided an online tool for your use.
The name of this free online directory is BizFile+. Use URL https://www.bizfile.gov.sg to access it.
- Enter the company name you are interested in.
- The company name search is case-sensitive.
- Choose search criteria in the drop-down menu.
- Enter CAPTCHA, before clicking on the Search button.
If your company is registered in Singapore, you will get the data associated with it.
You can buy the Business Profile of the company by paying S$5.50 online. You can also buy its Business Profile with Certificate of Production by paying S$16.50 online.
The right time to open a corporate bank account is after successful company registration and before starting your business activities. Such an account is necessary for your business' financial transactions.
There are more than 127 banks in Singapore. Depending on your business needs, you can choose any of them for your purpose. You will need the following documents to open a bank account.
- Accurately filled & duly signed forms for opening a corporate bank account
- Residential address proof of stakeholders in the company like directors, other signatories, & the ultimate beneficiary owner
- Certified copy of Certificate of Incorporation of your company
- Company’s business profile from ACRA
- Signed resolution to open account by the Board of Directors & Signatories to the account
- Certified copy of company’s M&AACertified copy of company’s M&AA
- Certified copies of Passport or of SingPass
- Certificate of Incumbency & Certificate of Good Standing(For Offshore Accounts Only)
Singapore company registration is an easy process. With all the required incorporation documents in hand, a commonly purposed business can be incorporated within 1 day. However, in practice, we can register your Singapore business in 1-3 days.
Singapore keeps an eye on certain business domains like Education, Finance, etc. If your business falls in such categories, your application to register it gets referred to the concerned authorities or ministries. The process takes time. You may have to wait as long as 14 days - 2 months for approval.
You can transfer or sell your shares at any time. However, it is governed by the company's constitution and procedures laid down by the Singapore authorities. The share transfer process involves:
- Directors’ resolution
- Transferor (seller)
- Transferee (buyer)
- Execution of the ACRA transfer of shares form.
- Paying required stamp duty
- Notice of transfer of shares
- Filing of the list of shareholders with ACRA
You may also have to update the electronic register of members for the private companies. Transfer of shares in a private limited Singapore company can be challenging. Our experienced company secretarial services can handle the task efficiently.
Singapore Company registration can be done easily online. You can do so by logging-in on BizFinx website.
You should be ready with:
- Your SingPass Login ID
- Approved company name (Transaction number)
- Number of Years of Registration
- Business Commencement Date
- Business Activity
- Registered Business Address
- Details of Company Owners
- Approval from Authorities (if needed)
All the stakeholders in your company like directors, shareholders, and company secretary have 120 days from the data of name approval to login in BizFile+ and give their consent online.
The fee for company name application is S$15 and for registering a company is S$300. You can pay using debit or credit card or Google Pay, Apple Pay, or PayPal.
If you do not have SingPass Login ID, it means, you cannot access the BizFile+ website to register your business online. In such a case, hire one of the reputable registered filing agents in Singapore to incorporate your company.
Foreigners and locals over the age of 18 can register their Singapore companies easily. Foreigners can own 100% equity of shares in their company. It gives them ownership of the company.
By law, companies are legal persons and have rights similar to natural born persons. It means, as individuals, local and foreign companies, too, can register a Singapore company. The parent companies can own 100% equity or shareholding in the new company.
Foreigners can register a company without immigrating to Singapore. They need to appoint a local director at the time. Afterwards, they can go back and direct their company from their native country.
If they want to form their Singapore company and work as its local (resident) director, they need to immigrate. They can do so only after acquiring an appropriate work pass. Without the proper work pass or visa, they cannot work in Singapore.
Yes. Appointing a corporate secretary for your Singapore company is necessary. You need to do so within 6 months of the date of company incorporation.
If you are hiring a company secretary for a public company, you need to appoint a certified secretary from a reputable institute.
If you are hiring for a private limited company, make sure that the appointee is qualified and well versed with the tenets of the company Act. They also need experience in handling the duties of the job.
ACRA, the Company Registrar, considers secretaries as one of the officers of the company. They liaison with the authorities and world outside of the company and enables its managers to work without distraction.
The age-limit requirement for registering a Singapore company is the same for both local and foreign entrepreneurs. You have to be over 18 years of age to do so.
In addition, you need to fulfill the following requirements to successfully set up your company:
- A minimum initial paid capital of S$1
- At least one shareholder (maximum 50)
- At least one local (residential) director
- At least one qualified company secretary
- Registered local address for the company
Make sure to appoint a company secretary within the 6 months of the incorporation date of your company. It is one of the basic criteria.
As a shareholder, you are the owner of your company. You can also work for it as its local director. If you choose to do so, you can expect a salary from the company. So, there is a distinction between being an owner and the local director of a company.
You can also appoint one of your friend or a family member (over 18 years old) as the local director. They will have to work within the framework and act in the best interest of the company.
They will need to take care of the following tasks:
- Company's statutory requirements
- Calling Annual General Meeting of the company
- Filing of its annual returns with authorities
- Acquiring a local registered address for the company
- Maintain of statutory registers like register of members, directors, managers, secretaries, auditors, directors’ shareholdings & charges
- Passing resolution for the opening of a bank account
- Appoint company officers including directors, auditors and company secretary
- Make certain of corporate governance
- Discharge corporate social responsibility
- implement ethical & socially responsible practices
- Interact with society
Hiring your friend or a family member as the local director may work for you perfectly than cause you any harm. When you have to take a break from company affairs, you can consult with a competent lawyer and can choose to give them a limited power of attorney. It will allow them to discharge their additional duties. Surely, you trust them not to steal your company.