Singapore Company Registration
The process of incorporating or registering a company in Singapore is pretty straightforward and free of red tape. Apart from that, the government also assists and supports startups in their early stages with a number of programs and tax exemptions.
Getting a registered filing agent to start a company in Singapore is beneficial to both local and foreign entrepreneurs. This is more so for overseas business owners who are unfamiliar with the regulatory system and wish to start a business in Singapore. Having said that, many foreigners may find it challenging to establish a new business in Singapore on their own, but the good news is all this could be resolved by engaging a reputable local registered filing agent who can make the entire process much easier. These qualified professionals can guide and provide effective incorporation options for foreign entrepreneurs, thus saving them a lot of time and money.
Who can Register a Company in Singapore?
Anyone who is 18 years old or above can register a company in Singapore with relative ease if they satisfy the required criteria. However, foreign entrepreneurs who are interested in incorporating a business in Singapore must engage a registered corporate service provider in order to stay in compliance with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
ACRA is a regulator of financial reporting and public accounting, and also governs the registration of Singapore companies to ensure they adhere to all of its compliance requirements.
Basic Requirements for Registering a Company in Singapore
Choosing a Singapore business name, submitting the required paperwork, registering your business with ACRA, and opening a bank account are all part of the company registration process in Singapore. Fortunately, registering a business in Singapore is a breeze as compared to others which is the reason why Singapore is so appealing for locals and foreigners to incorporate their companies here. Here’s what you need to meet the requirements to incorporate a company in Singapore.
Selecting a Company Name
The applicant must pick an appropriate company name and electronically submit it using ACRA’s BizFile+ system for approval. Once the approval is granted, incorporation can begin.
Define the Company Type
The applicant must specify his or her company’s organizational structure and has a variety of company structure options to decide from :
- Private Company (limited by shares) : There can be a maximum of 50 shareholders for this type of company.
- Exempt Private Company : This is a type of private company with fewer than 20 shareholders with no shares held directly or indirectly by the company. It is also entirely owned by the government and must be declared by the Minister through a notification in the Gazette.
- Public Company (limited by shares) : There can be more than 20 shareholders and this type of company typically raises capital through share or debenture offerings to the public.
- Public Company (limited by guarantees) : This type of company is formed generally for the purpose of carrying out non-profit-making activities and usually has members rather than stockholders.
- Every company incorporated must have at least 1 shareholder (and capped at 50) depending on the type of company as mentioned above.
- The Company should also disclose the total amount paid by the shareholders for their shares along with their personal information.
- The minimum issued capital is S$1, even though there is no minimum paid-up capital requirement.
Directors and other important personnel
The next step is to appoint some key personnel for some daily corporate tasks after the type of company has been decided. Thus some positions must be created and filled as follows :
- Director : A person in charge of managing and running the business on a daily basis. He or she must be at least 18 years old, and a resident of Singapore. (Either a Singapore citizen or foreigner with a valid Employment Pass)
- Corporate Secretary : The company must elect a Company Secretary within six months of its incorporation. The person must be a Singaporean citizen who cannot act as a Director at the same time.
- Chief Executive Officer: A person who oversees day-to-day operations, the Company may appoint either a Chief Executive Officer or a Managing Director.
- Auditor: Within three months of company incorporation, an auditor needs to be appointed, unless specifically exempted by the Companies Act.
Registered company address
The applicant must include a registered company address while submitting the application. Though this address is not necessarily the location where the business operations are carried out, it should be a legitimate address that the general public may access.
Applicants need to provide their own draft of their Company Constitution or by using the Model Constitution (template) provided by ACRA. The document which is legal binding should contain :
- Company’s rules and regulations
- Business objectives and attributes
- Information about the business operations
- Director and other key personnel responsibilities and rights
Decision on the Financial Year
The applicant must also decide on the company’s Financial Year to be either on March 31, June 30, September 30, or December 31 for their corporate filings.
The process time frame
It will take you at least a day to complete your business registration with a Singapore corporate service provider (assuming you have all of the necessary documents ready) and approval of company registration in Singapore typically takes 1 to 3 days. If the government agency needs to do more verification, approval could take a few weeks. Once your registered business name is approved, you have up to 120 days to reserve it and you must incorporate your company in Singapore within that time frame.
The good news is, the simplest and quickest way to complete the entire business registration process in Singapore is to find a top corporate service provider to assist you along with other compliance with ACRA.
Things to do after Your Singapore Company Is Registered
If you’ve followed all of the steps correctly, you’ll be able to start your business in Singapore right away. However, there are a few things you should do in the coming days and weeks:
- Open a corporate bank account.
- Register for Goods and Services Tax (GST)
- Apply for licenses you might need to run your business in Singapore, such as employment agencies, F&B, spas, etc.
- Do registration with Singapore Customs if you’re an importer or exporter.
- Apply for any Singapore work passes and permits for yourself and your foreign employees if applicable.
- Ensure all letterheads, invoices, marketing collaterals and other official documents should carry your ACRA registration number.
- Make sure you’re following ACRA’s rules and regulations and stay compliant at all times.
- Most importantly, your corporate service provider can help you with all of the above seamlessly.
How to Register a Singapore Company in 3 Simple Steps
1st Step : Obtain name approval for your company registration in Singapore
Unlike most countries, Singapore makes it simple for both local and international entrepreneurs to register their new companies easily. Business owners who want to incorporate or register their companies in Singapore require to get their company names approved by the ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority) first.
- This process can be completed online, and if you follow these steps, you may receive approval quickly.
- The names must not be the same as any existing company or business in Singapore.
- It must not infringe on any trademarks that are already in use.
- It must not include any vulgar or filthy words in it.
- The name of your choice cannot be reserved by another company.
- If your company name contains words like “bank”, “school”, “legal,” and other regulated keywords, you may need to go through additional verification by the appropriate government agencies.
- Approval could take a few weeks if the government agency needs to go through extra scrutiny or vetting.
- Once your business name is approved, you have up to 120 days to reserve it, after which you must incorporate your company in Singapore within that time frame. Otherwise, the name of the business is made public and others will be able to reserve it.
2nd Step : Prepare documents for the Registration of a Singapore Company
ACRA requires the following documents for the company registration process once your company name has been approved:
- Company Constitution: Previously, this was known as the Articles of Association. You can either adopt the standard Singapore constitution template provided or have a consulting firm prepare one and advise you accordingly.
- Identification and residence address information of shareholders.
- A Consent to Act as a Director must be signed by each newly appointed director.
- A Consent Act as Company Secretary must be signed by a newly appointed company secretary.
If you register your Singapore company through a reliable CSP (Corporate Service Provider), you will be required to submit the following additional supporting papers or documents as part of the KYC (Know Your Customer) in due diligence.
3rd Step : Register your company in Singapore with ACRA
A new company in Singapore can register with ACRA after the name has been approved and the documents are prepared. This process can be completed in an hour or less if done online.
In exceptional cases, some company registrations in Singapore may need to be submitted to other government agencies for additional scrutiny and vetting. It could take a few weeks if ACRA needs additional verification.
How can a Foreigner register a company in Singapore?
Yes, the good news is that foreigners can now register a business in Singapore. Thousands of entrepreneurs around the world have already set up various types of businesses and benefitted from many of the city-state’s incentives and advantages.
On the other hand, most foreigners may find the procedure of starting a company in Singapore to be too complex to follow. Understanding each and every process can be time consume-timing, therefore you should contact a corporate service provider like APacTrust to assist you with a complete business registration process as well as other services like nominated director, registered address, etc,
Suggested Reading : Can A Foreigner Register A Company in Singapore?
Registering a Singapore Company as a Foreign Individual
You can register your business as a foreign business owner all by yourself, but it is recommended that you get a reliable corporate service provider in Singapore to assist you to save time. Firstly, you must appoint a local Singapore resident as a director to comply with ACRA. As a foreign director, you can hold 100% of corporate shares after you’ve officially registered your business in Singapore.
You’ll need to give the following items to your preferred corporate service provider in Singapore :
- A photocopy of your passport
- Proof of overseas residence address
- Profile of company or business
Registering as an existing Foreign Company in Singapore
You can register your business entity in Singapore as a subsidiary, representative office, or bank office to establish a presence of your overseas company here. In addition to the required items mentioned above, you’ll need to give the following to your corporate service provider in Singapore :
- A copy of the parent company’s certificate of incorporation
- An excerpt from Registrar of Company or Register of Members and Directors
- Memorandum and Articles of Association/Constitution/By-Laws
Related Content : Why Do Foreigners Choose To Register A Company In Singapore?
If you want to start a business or incorporate a new company in Singapore, APacTrust will be pleased to guide you throughout the process. If you have any questions about incorporating a Singapore company, hiring company secretaries, getting your accountings in place as well as other compliance matters, feel free to contact us if you need more assistance.