To start a business in Singapore, there are certain laws and obligations that need to be adhered to. Processes for company registration in Singapore are supervised by The Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). There is one unique rule in Singapore stating that a foreign individual may not register their own company by themselves. Rather, they require a professional firm to help the registration processes. It is important for business starters whether foreigners or locals to follow the guidelines and requirements that have already settled by ACRA as the Company Registrar of Singapore so that one can maintain a lawful business environment.
Registering a company in Singapore may have its benefits, such as the ease of business and tax exemptions provided by the Singapore government. According to Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), tax exemptions at 75% is given to Singapore Exempt Private Limited companies for the first $100,000 corporate profits within the first three years after the business operates. For the next $100,000, the tax exemption given is at 50%. However, for investment holding companies and businesses moving in property development activities that are incorporated from 26th February 2013 onwards, tax exemption policy for newly set up Singapore companies will not be given. Instead, these companies will be facilitated with partial tax exemption. The newest one established for 2019 is that the companies will be given a 20% Corporate Income Tax (CIT) Rebate capped at $20,000 for each Year of Assessment (YA).
One prominent benefit of limited liability is that once registered, a private limited company in Singapore is considered to be a separate legal entity. This means that shareholders are not held accountable for businesses or company’s debts that are beyond the amount of share capital contributed.
Before proceeding to the main steps of registering a company in Singapore, necessary documents must be prepared. These documents include a company name, a description of business activities, a registered Singapore address of the company, particulars of shareholders and directors as well as company secretary, a copy of passport and residential address proof for foreign entrepreneurs, and a copy of identity card for Singapore residents. It’s required by the government for businesses to have at least one director residing in Singapore.
The initial step to register a company in Singapore is to firstly get the company name approved. The proposed company name should be meaningful and not obscene, as well as free of copyright issues and does not infringe any trademark. Certain words like bank, finance, law, and media may extend the approval process as they require extensive examination. The next step is to register the company. This process should be strictly done after getting the company name approved. The Registrar of Companies such as ACRA will inform the applicant regarding the success of registration of the company through e-mail that includes company registration number. This soft copy is an official certificate of incorporation in Singapore.
A1 Business said that for specific types of business operations, business licenses and permits are required. Education institutes, import/export of goods, restaurants, and such must obtain their licenses to be able to operate. It is not mandatory to secure a license for other types of businesses.