Guide to setting up a company in Singapore


Selecting the appropriate business structure for your company registration in Singapore is critical as it directly impacts various aspects such as liability, taxation, and regulatory obligations. This choice not only influences how your business is governed but also determines its legal status and the extent of personal liability involved. Therefore, making an informed decision regarding the business structure is essential to ensure compliance, minimise risks, and optimise operational efficiency, ultimately contributing to the long-term success of your company.

Registration Process Overview

To initiate and operate a business in Singapore, the first step is to choose the preferred business structure. Subsequently, you need to proceed with registering your company with the Singapore Company Regulator, which is known as The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). ACRA, operating as a statutory board under Singapore’s Ministry of Finance, serves as the national regulator for various business entities, public accountants, and corporate service providers in Singapore. Finally, setting up a corporate bank account is necessary to complete the process.

Company Requirements Checklist

Here’s a comprehensive checklist outlining all the essential requirements for registering a company in Singapore:

  • Company Name Approval: Before registering your business in Singapore, ensure that your proposed company name is approved by ACRA. Utilise helpful tips for selecting an appropriate company name.
  • Directors: Your company must have one or more directors who are individuals aged 18 and above and have not been disqualified from holding a directorship in Singapore or elsewhere.
  • Resident Directors: At all times, your company should have at least one locally resident director who is either a Singapore citizen, Permanent Resident, or holds an EntrePass visa at the time of company registration.
  • Shareholders: Your company must have between 1 to 50 shareholders, who can be individuals or legal entities such as trusts or other companies. Singapore allows 100% foreign ownership of companies.
  • Paid-up Capital: The minimum paid-up/share capital required for company registration in Singapore is S$1, with the option to increase share capital post-registration.
  • Registered Address: Your company’s registered address must be located in Singapore and should be a physical address (P.O. Boxes are not accepted).
  • Company Secretary: Every company must appoint a company secretary to assist directors in preparing and filing necessary documentation to ensure compliance.
  • Auditor: Most companies in Singapore qualify for an audit exemption unless they meet specific criteria regarding annual revenue, total assets, or number of employees. However, companies not exempted must appoint an auditor within three months of registration.

Companies Act Requirements

  • Registered Office: Your company must have a registered office address in Singapore, which must be a physical location accessible to the public during ordinary business hours.
  • Company Secretary: At least one company secretary, who must be an individual ordinarily resident in Singapore, is mandatory to ensure compliance with reporting and regulatory requirements.
  • Resident Director: Your company must have at least one director who is ordinarily resident in Singapore, meeting specific eligibility criteria.
  • Data Protection and Data Protection Officer (DPO): Compliance with the Singapore Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) requires appointing a DPO and establishing a data protection policy.
  • Display of Company Name and Unique Entity Number (UEN): Your company must display its name and UEN on all official documents.
  • Keeping of Company Registers and Records: Various registers and records must be maintained, including those with ACRA and at the registered office.
  • Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Filing of Annual Returns: Private and public companies must hold AGMs within specific timelines and file annual returns with ACRA.

Advantages of Incorporating in Singapore

Incorporating a company in Singapore offers several advantages, including tax benefits, access to capital, and a favorable business environment. Singapore’s business-friendly tax rates, wealth of tax incentives, and extensive network of Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAs) make it an attractive location for businesses. Additionally, Singapore’s reputation as a stable jurisdiction with robust financial infrastructure further supports business growth and investment opportunities.

Access to Capital and Business Support

In comparison to other countries, opening a corporate bank account in Singapore is a straightforward process facilitated by corporate service providers. Singapore banks also offer excellent support for international trading activities, such as Letters of Credit (LC). With the support of various grants, funding schemes, accelerators, and incubators, Singapore provides ample resources for entrepreneurs and startups to thrive and succeed in their ventures.

Final Remarks

Incorporating a company in Singapore offers a multitude of benefits, including favorable tax policies, access to capital, and a supportive business environment. By carefully considering the business structure and fulfilling the necessary requirements outlined by ACRA and the Companies Act, you can set your company on a path to success in Singapore’s dynamic marketplace.

Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or an established business looking to expand, Singapore provides the resources and opportunities you need to thrive. Take advantage of the robust infrastructure, tax incentives, and access to funding to propel your company forward in one of Asia’s premier business destinations.

Ready to embark on your journey to establish a company in Singapore? Get started today and unlock the countless opportunities awaiting your business in this thriving economic hub.

Start your Singapore business journey today and unlock endless opportunities!

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