Singapore is an international hub, globally recognised as a highly attractive market to operate in due to its business-friendly tax rates and range of tax incentives for new companies. Businesses growth and entrepreneurship are encouraged at many levels, making Singapore an excellent place to incorporate a company. Banking in Singapore is also well established, reliable, and relatively simple compared to some other Asian countries. If you are doing business in Singapore, incorporating a local company may be the next logical step.
Minimum requirements to set up a Singapore Company
The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ARCA) is the branch of the Ministry of Finance of the Singapore Government that regulates business entities. To register your company with ACRA, you will need to present various documents in addition to meeting other pre-registration requirements.
Types of Companies in Singapore
There are a variety of different company types available in Singapore, and which one you choose will depend on your specific business needs. Some of the most common types of company include:
- Limited Liability Companies;
- Private Limited Companies;
- Sole proprietorships;
INS Global can support you in your strategic decision making, ensuring that you incorporate the right company for your business needs.
While incorporation itself can be relatively quick, taking from between a few hours to a few days, you will need to consider the following factors in order to ensure your incorporation proceeds smoothly:
The Singapore company registration fee is S$300, with an additional S$15 for the purchase of your chosen company name.
First things first, your company needs a name. It is advisable to have at least three different variations selected in advance, in case your first choice of company name has already been taken. In addition to the name, you will need to select an SSIC code which describes your intended business activity. SSIC codes are used by the Singapore Government to understand what types of business are operating in Singapore, and there are certain permits or licences required for some codes. For more information about licencing and permits, the Singapore Government have a useful online portal.
You will need a Singapore address for your company; a P.O. Box will not be accepted.
You will need to decide who the directors of your company will be. Directors must be over the age of 18, and must not have been disqualified from being a director of a company previously. You only need one director when registering a company in Singapore, but the company must also always have at least one locally resident director. To qualify as a local resident for these purposes, the individual must be a Singapore citizen, Permanent Resident, or holder of an EntrePass visa.
A shareholder can be a natural individual or a legal entity, with 100% foreign ownership permitted.
The minimum paid-up/share capital for a company registered in Singapore is S$1. After incorporation you can increase the share capital at any time.
On incorporation, every new company must appoint an individual to act as company secretary who will help the directors to prepare and file any required documents to ensure the company remains compliant with local laws and regulations.
Most start-ups are exempt from audit, but otherwise a company must appoint an auditor within 3 months of incorporation.
Considerations for Foreigners Looking to Incorporate a Company in Singapore
As Singapore does not allow a foreign individual or entity to self-register a company, you will need to hire a professional to file on your behalf when registering your Singapore business. If you are looking to operate your company remotely, you may also need to hire a nominee director to fulfil the requirement of having a local director. Again, this can be accomplished by hiring a professional who can offer local resident directorship. INS Global can offer both secretarial and resident director services to ensure everything for your incorporation is filed correctly and in compliance with Singapore laws.
You do not need a special visa in order to incorporate your company, and if you are operating your company from overseas you can visit Singapore on a short term visitor visa should you need to deal with any matters in person. As an example, some banks require you to be physically present in order to set up a new company account.
You can expect to receive a certificate of incorporation and a business profile (Bizfile). At this stage, you can proceed to open your corporate bank account and, depending on your business, apply for any licences. If you anticipate that your company’s annual turnover will exceed S$1m, then you will need to register for Goods & Services Tax, which is sometimes referred to as value added tax in other countries.
How INS Global can help
INS Global offers a range of business solutions to those wishing to take their first steps into the Singapore market. We can help you with every stage of incorporating a company, as well as providing ongoing assistance post-incorporation. Get in touch with us today to see how we could support your business in Singapore.