The introduction section offers an overview of the general statutory compliance for incorporating companies in Singapore.
While it is relatively easy to incorporate a business in Singapore, there are still a few things you need to know and prepare for before you take the final plunge into starting a business. It is advisable that you have all the information ready before logging on to the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority's (ACRA) website to start the process.
The first thing is to decide on the type of business structure for your business, which are namely sole proprietorship,partnership (which includes general partnership, limited partnership and limited liability partnership) and private limited company.
There are pros and cons for the different business structures, and you should weigh them carefully before deciding on one that works best for your business.
Next, you need to name your company. This is probably the most important thing to consider because your company's reputation and brand identity depend largely on that name. Consider also the cultural context when choosing a suitable name, as the pronunciation of some words may have a different and at times, embarrassing meaning in a different language. It is best to check with a native-speaking person or someone who has been living there for a while.
You must also check if the name has already been taken by another company. To do so, simply visit ACRA's website (www.bizfile.gov.sg), which allows you to check for existing companies with identical or similar names. The name you eventually choose must be approved by ACRA.
Before you register the name with ACRA, you should find out if the domain name has been taken up. This is a critical step because in today's business landscape, one simply cannot operate a business without a website.
When registering your business with ACRA, you are required to choose the type of business activities your company will be engaged in from the Singapore Standard Industrial Classification Code (SSIC).
If your choice of business structure is a private limited company, there are several more steps to take note:
Shareholder(s) – You need at least one and up to 50 shareholders. The shareholder can either be an individual or another company.
Paid-up Capital – The minimum paid-up capital for a privately incorporated company in Singapore is SGD1. You can inject additional capital anytime after you have incorporated the company.
Company Secretary – You also need to appoint a Company Secretary within six months of incorporating your company. Please see Company Secretary for more information.
Local Registered Address – A company needs to have a registered office in Singapore that is open to the public for at least three hours per day during normal business hours on weekdays. The registered address must be a physical address, i.e., no PO Box is allowed.
Constitution – A company’s constitution sets out the company’s structure and aims and internal regulations by which the company is governed. ACRA provides a standard Constitution document that can be used in most cases in Singapore.
Information from ACRA – Once your company is successfully registered, it will receive a Unique Entity Number (UEN). Your company is required to include the UEN on all business letters, statements of account, invoices, official notices and other publications.
For more information about incorporating a private limited company, check out our Private Limited Company page.
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