1. How long does it take to register a company in Singapore?
It doesn’t take very long to register a company in Singapore.
It can be done online via Bizfile+, but you will need to login using your SingPass.
If all the documents are in order, and no referrals or additional documents are requested by ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority), or other agencies, then it can be done in about 1-3 hours.
This is a two-step process –
Step 1 – Application for a new Company name
As per the ACRA’s website it would take you about 15 mins to put in the application for Registering a new company name.
Step 2 – Incorporation of a local company
After successfully registering a new company name, you have 120 days to Incorporate your company. ACRA’s website suggests that you might need about 20 minutes to complete this.
This can also be outsourced to competent Registered Filing Agents that will register the company on your behalf. They will advise on the right documentation, the structure of the company, its constitution, shareholding, and highlight other technical matters, such as available tax exemptions for newly incorporated companies.
Most good Registered Filing Agents will also offer supplementary business services (such as accounting, tax filing, etc.) so that you can concentrate on your business and not worry about the nitty-gritty of compliance obligations.
2. Can a foreigner register a company in Singapore?
Foreigners can register a company in Singapore, with at least one director above the age of 18 who is an ordinary resident in Singapore.
The foreigners who are interested in registering a Singapore company must engage the services of a Registered Filing Agent. The Registered Filing Agent is required to carry out “pre-onboarding” due diligence checks on the prospective client, before making an application for registration on his/her behalf.
With a Competent Registered Filing Agent, your incorporation process can be a smooth one. The agent will support you with local know-how and offer support with cost-effective compliance utilities like company secretary services, bookkeeping, accounting, etc.
3. How much does it cost to set up a company in Singapore?
Setting up a company costs a total of S$315 in Singapore Government fee, for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents, who are registering their company themselves on the ACRA portal using their Singpass.
Firstly, you will need apply for approval of the new Company name (Govt. fee. S$15) under the Business Names Registration Act (BNRA) via Bizfie+. You will need to specify the primary and secondary activities of your Company by choosing the most relevant Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) code corresponding to your business activity.
Once approved, you need to Incorporate the company within the next 120 days, and the Registration fee payable to ACRA is S$300.
A Good Registered Filing Agent can advise you on the intricacies of setting up your company. They will do the necessary form filing on your behalf and advise on legal requirements. They also provide efficient backup services to assist with compliance, accounting, document legalisation etc.
4. Do I need to register a business in Singapore?
You do NOT need to register a business in Singapore, if
- you are running a business in your own full name as per your NRIC, and
- you are a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident.
If you are running a Sole Proprietorship business in any other name, then it’s a two-step process:
Step 1: Make an application for a new Business name under the Business Names Registration Act (BNRA) via Bizfie+. You will need to specify the primary and secondary activities of your business by choosing the most relevant Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) code corresponding to your business activity.
Step 2: Within the next 120 days, you will need to incorporate this business as a Sole Proprietorship.
A total fee of S$115 is payable to ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority) for sole proprietorship registration.
Capable Registered Filing Agents (RFA) can make the interaction with various government agencies simpler, especially when the name application is rejected by ACRA. The RFA is licenced to represent you and advise you on legal requirements. They may also provide additional services to let you focus on your work, while they take care of the smaller details like compliance, bookkeeping, and more.
5. Is it illegal to run a business without registering?
It is absolutely legal to run a business without registering if you are running this business under your own full name as per your Singapore NRIC. In this case you are said to be ‘Exempt’ from registering a Business.
6. Do freelancers need to register a company in Singapore?
Freelancers (Singapore Citizens and Permanent Resident) operating under their full names as per NRIC, do NOT need to register a company in Singapore. However, they need to keep a proper set of accounts and declare their earning as personal income with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).
7. Why is it advisable to set up a company in Singapore?
A private or a limited liability company will ring-fence your personal liability for the business to your subscribed paid-up capital.
It is advantageous to register a business or a company if you need to :
- Participate in government tenders
- Secure intellectual property or patents
- Subscribe or enroll for Government funding programmes
Licenced Registered Filing Agents can help file on your behalf, and make the process trouble-free. They will guide you on the required documents and also provide supplementary services to help with compliance, accounting, etc.