How to Register Your Business in Singapore: Company Registration, Formation, Incorporation & Setup From Start to Finish
We advise you on the requirements, procedures, documents and time frame that is needed for company incorporation and formation in Singapore. We ensure you that the process of incorporating your company will go on smoothly from start to finish. There are many types of companies in Singapore to choose for company registration. We would usually advise our clients to register private limited (the most common) companies in Singapore to take advantage of the benefits below:
- We would usually advise our clients to register private limited companies in Singapore to take advantage of the benefits below:
- Enjoy Singapore tax resident status to take advantage of Singapore Double Tax Agreements, tax exemption schemes and incentives such as the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) which incentive companies to improve their productivity by purchasing technology solutions and equipment for company formation.
- Limited liability for members
- Any foreigner or local entrepreneurs who are 18 years old or above are allowed to register a Singapore company. There is no age cap for directors of private limited companies.
Important Information Required for Singapore Company Incorporation / Formation:
- Provide at least 3 company names for your company registration: it should be approved by ACRA (a government body) before the process for company incorporation can begin.
- Appointed Directors*: They should be at least 18 years of age. One of the directors has to be a Singapore citizen or permanent resident. It is not necessary for the local directors to hold any shares in the company setup.
- Shareholders*: The shareholder and the director can be the same person or different.
- Company Secretary: It is compulsory for the company to elect a secretary within six months of the company incorporation as per section 171 of the Singapore Companies Act (Chapter 50). A company secretary cannot be the sole director of a company.
- Address: We can provide our virtual office address for you to use as your company’s registered address.
- Tax: There is a 75% tax exemption for the first S$100,000 of chargeable income and 50% tax exemption for the next S$100,000 of chargeable income for the first 3 consecutive years of assessment. No dividend taxes or capital yield are imposed on Singapore companies.
- Shares percentage breakdown.
- Paid up capital: Incorporate with S$1 to S$100. Thereafter, you may increase the paid up capital.
- Bank account opening is subjected to banks' approval.
Foreign Directors and Shareholders Need to Provide the Following Documents when Incorporating Companies in Singapore:
- Authenticated passport copy
- Proof of foreign address such as utility bills, telephone bills, insurance, or credit card bills issued within 2 months from the date you want to incorporate your company
- Singaporean / Singapore PR will need to bring along their NRIC and be present for the signing of the company incorporation documents
We will be able to assist you in online application for a business bank account such as DBS business account, or arrange for OCBC, UOB or Maybank Bankers to speak to you for your company registration to assist in the opening of corporate bank accounts upon request.
Notes to be Taken into Consideration for Foreigners When Applying for Company Registration:
- As foreigners do not have Singpass account to do transactions on Bizfile so it is mandatory to hire the services of a professional firm like us for company formation.
- If you do not have a local to act as your director, we can provide a local nominee director at $2500/year and $2500 security deposit. Companies with at least 1 Singaporean / Singapore PR director can ignore this requirement.
- Locals & foreigners needs to be in Singapore physically to register the private limited company and to open a business bank account (depending on which bank you choose).
- Foreign investors do not need to apply for a work visa if he/she does not intend to station himself/herself in Singapore to run the operations. They may want to hire experienced managers to manage the local operations on their behalf.
The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) will take time to approve the company formation details, therefore the process of incorporating a company can take 3 hours to 2 days.
Company Name Approval & Reservation for Company Formation
The ACRA application form must be filled up and ready for approval. Usually, it will take about one hour for this process to be completed. ACRA will inform you if your application is successful. Do take note that the proposed name should not have words containing law, Singapore, etc in order for a quicker name approval. These keywords will lead the proposed name to be referred to another government body for approval of the use of the specific keyword for the company setup. Therefore, there will be an increase in time needed when incorporating a company.
Points to Note for Getting the Name Approved Quickly:
- A unique name which should not have any resemblance to other company names when processing your company registration.
- It should not violate any trademarks.
- It should not be offensive.
- You should not use the name that you have previously used.
- It should not contain any words that will get referred to another government agency.
From the application date, your company name will be reserved for 60 days. If you wish to extend the reservation for 60 more days, you will need to fill up a form of extension before it is expires.
After the company name has been approved, the company incorporation documents shall be prepared. Thereafter, the director(s) and the shareholder(s) will sign the documents. A formation fee of S$315 is needed to pay Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) for the incorporation of the private limited company. This process will usually take about 1 hour.
What to expect for Post Singapore Company Formation
After tending to everything that is required for Singapore company incorporation, let us look at what you need to expect next for your entrepreneurship journey.
Upon approval of your Singapore company formation, you will receive the following:
1. E-Certificate of Incorporation
Do check your email for any emails from the Company Registrar. The email should state that your business has been successfully incorporated. A company incorporation number should also be included in this email as well. Should you require any official certificate of incorporation, you will need to pay $50 fee to the Company Registrar to purchase it using Director’s CorpPass. An Electronic copy will be sent to the requestor’s email address.
2. A Corporate or Company Business Profile
A company business profile will also be created once your formation process is completed and approved. It will be available in your BizFile account. If you do not have an account yet, the service provider that you have engaged with will take it upon themselves to retrieve your business profile for you. It is usually in PDF format and you will need to download the file and check it through.
- Key information about the Company name with its incorporation number
- Previous name versions of your established company (if applicable)
- Date of the successful incorporation
- Descriptive account on the company’s principal activities
- Details of the company secretary
- Details of the shareholders and directors
- Full working registered business address of your company
- Total amount of paid-up capital for your company registration
Get both the email notification and your company business profile ready before you are able to properly proceed with all the legal or contractual tasks planned. Additionally, you might want to acquire an official company rubber stamp and common seal. You can also start to prepare the share certificates for each your shareholders so that you can update your share register with the shares that are allotted to each of these entities or individuals. After that, you might also want to consider opening up a business bank account or leasing an office space for your company.
Opening a Corporate Bank Account in Singapore
There are many reputable corporate banks that are located in Singapore, some bank branches would also help to facilitate the process of opening a business or corporate account without you having to be physically there for the process too. We are the preferred valued partner with several corporate banks in Singapore.
Generally, to open a corporate account for your company setup in Singapore, the banks would need the following documents listed below. Do note that additional documents may be required on a case-by-case basis:
- Corporate account opening forms that are signed by authroized signatoria resolution by company’s board of directors
- A copy of the company business profile
- A copy of the company certificate of incorporation
- A copy of company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association (MAA)
- The passports or the National Registration identity Cards(NRIC) and proof of residential addresses of the company directors, signatories and ultimate beneficial owners of the company
All the above documentation must be “Certified True Copy” by either the company secretary or one of the company directors. Please note that the bank may request for original documents or/and additional documents for added verification.
The account signatories and directors may need to be physically present to sign the official documents at the time of corporate account opening, as required by some banks in Singapore. Other banks in Singapore may accept documents that are signed in front of a notary or in person at one of their overseas branches.
Whatever the case may be, all banks in Singapore comply with stringent laws and regulations in Singapore. Therefore, comprehensive series of checks and investigations may be carried out on their potential clients before opening a new company account.
Applying for Business Licensing
For certain business types, additional registration for business licenses might be needed in order to carry out the needed activities. Thankfully, these licenses can be easily applied in Singapore; and if you are uncertain as to whether or not you require special licensing, you may want to check to see if your business falls under these certain categories.
If your company provides activities that are related to:
1. Traveling Agencies
3. Employment Agencies
4. Educational Institutes
5. Importation or exportation of goods
Leasing or Acquiring an Office Space
Having an office space will greatly improve a potential customer’s likelihood to trust more in the services offered by your corporation. Business owners can choose to lease an office space themselves in business districts and start operations. However, for entrepreneurs who want an office space but are unable to be present in Singapore or if they find that the rent is too expensive for them, there are also alternative options like virtual offices.
Having virtual offices is a solution for both small businesses and foreign entrepreneurs alike.
The buying or renting of offices spaces can rack up quite a large amount of costs, as you would not only have to pay for space but also need to invest in the equipment needed to carry out running your business.
As a start-up company, the total expenditure can take up quite a lot of budgeting during company registration process. Instead of doing so, you can better manage your budget by signing up for virtual office services. Service providers usually charge by a monthly basis, which you are able to choose to continue or discontinue whenever necessary. A lot of essential business administration tasks are also handled by the virtual office teams so you gain both experience and also the reduction of costs all at once.
Business owners or foreign entrepreneurs that have to travel frequently and can’t be physically present in Singapore are also recommended to consider virtual offices as an option since they can entrust important tasks like call forwarding, package/mail forwarding, email management and more to professionals without having to waste time and money in training new staff themselves. They can also make use of the address provided by the virtual offices so that all
How to Improve Your Business Presence in Singapore
Now that full approval is received for carrying out your business activities, it is time to improve your business presence in Singapore. One of the most effective methods is to set up your own company website.
Firstly, you will need to get your own domain name and it can be done through the services of hosting providers, where you can check the availability of the website domain you want or receive suggestions on the website domains you can buy.
Secondly, with their help, you are able to register for website domain names like .com, .sg and more. Thirdly, after successfully registering for a website domain, you can also consider purchasing hosting providers to house your website or emails and then you can design your business website and secure it with confidence.
With the help of this guide for the company setup, you are able to better prepare yourself before Singapore company incorporation or company formation and after formation. We wish you all the best of luck in creating and sustaining a thriving and prosperous business.