Establishing a local company in Singapore - Waystone

      Establishing a local company in Singapore

      Singapore has a vibrant and diverse local business economy, with companies across a range of sectors contributing to the country's economic growth and prosperity.

      These companies bring innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity to the market; creating products and services that cater to the needs of both local and international customers.

      One key factor that has contributed to the success of these local companies is Singapore’s business-friendly environment. The government has implemented policies and initiatives to support entrepreneurship and innovation such as tax incentives and grants for start-ups. In addition, Singapore has a well-educated and highly-skilled workforce, with a strong focus on science, technology and engineering. Singapore’s strategic location, excellent infrastructure, and access to international markets make it an attractive destination for companies looking to expand their operations in the region and for entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. It is therefore no surprise that Singapore is one of the top destinations for business incorporation in the world.

      As a result, Singapore’s local business scene is thriving and dynamic, with a range of companies driving innovation and growth in key sectors such as technology, finance, and logistics. These companies are not only contributing to the country’s economic development but are also making a significant impact on the global stage.

      How to Set up a Local Company in Singapore 

      We have set out below the steps to be followed, in order to set up a local company in Singapore:

      1. Choose the business structure:Atoms / Icons / plusExpand

      The first step is to decide on the legal structure of your business. You can choose to register the company as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, private limited company or Variable Capital Company (VCC) which has been gaining in popularity in recent times.

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      2. Register the company name:Atoms / Icons / plusExpand

      Choose a unique name for a company and make sure it complies with the guidelines set by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). You can do this through ACRA’s online portal.

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      3. Registering the business:Atoms / Icons / plusExpand

      Once a company name is chosen, you must register your business with ACRA. You will need to provide details such as your company name, business activities, registered address and directors’ and shareholders’ information. It is mandatory for the Company to have at least one locally-resident director. The Company can be incorporated with a share capital of as low as $1.

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      4. Apply for necessary licenses and permits:Atoms / Icons / plusExpand

      Depending on the business activities, you may need to apply for additional licenses and permits from various government agencies such as the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Singapore Food Agency, or Enterprise Singapore. You must ensure you carry out research to understand which licenses and permits your business needs to operate legally.

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      5. Apply for CorpPass Access:Atoms / Icons / plusExpand

      It is necessary for all Singapore registered Companies to register for CorpPass, a corporate, digital identity for the Company to perform online transactions with government agencies.

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      6. Open a corporate bank account:Atoms / Icons / plusExpand

      Once the company is registered, it will need to open a corporate bank account in Singapore. This will allow you to carry out financial transactions necessary for the operations of the Company.

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      7. Appointment of Auditor:Atoms / Icons / plusExpand

      Every company needs to appoint an auditor if it does not meet at least two of the following three criteria:

      • total annual revenue <=S$10 million
      • total assets <=S$10 million
      • number of employees <=50

      Companies with corporate shareholders will be assessed at group level for audit requirements.

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      8. Hire employees:Atoms / Icons / plusExpand

      If you plan to hire employees, you will need to comply with Singapore’s employment laws and regulations. This includes registering with the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board, providing employees with mandatory healthcare benefits, and complying with labor laws related to employment contracts, working hours and rest days. You can refer to Ministry of Manpower for specific guidance on employment-related matters.

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      9. Goods and Services Tax (GST) Registration ComplianceAtoms / Icons / plusExpand

      All companies with an annual turnover exceeding S$1 million are required to register for GST. Companies under this threshold may choose to voluntarily register themselves for GST. All GST-registered entities are required to file GST returns on a monthly or quarterly basis.

      The current GST rate in Singapore is 8%. You may wish to consider engaging a company to provide accounting services in Singapore to assist you with the registration and management of this process.

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      10. Ensure compliances are filed in time:Atoms / Icons / plusExpand

      Every Company has the following standard annual compliance timelines to meet:

      • Filing of Estimated Chargeable Income (ECI) with IRAS – within 3 months from the financial year end (FYE)
      • Holding an Annual General Meeting (AGM) – within 6 months from the FYE
      • Filing Annual Returns with ACRA – within 7 months from FYE
      • Filing of Final tax with IRAS (Form C-S / Form C) – end of November of the following year.

      In addition to the above, the Company may have other compliances such as GST filing, IR8A, CPF submissions, etc. based on their registrations and manpower structure.

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      Establishing a local company in Singapore can be a straightforward and hassle-free process, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of operating in a business-friendly environment with a stable economy and highly-skilled workforce.

      By following the necessary steps outlined above, such as choosing a legal structure, registering your business, obtaining necessary licenses and permits, opening a corporate bank account and complying with employment and tax laws, you can set up a successful business in Singapore.

      How can Waystone Compliance Solutions help?

      Our team of experienced APAC compliance professionals have a deep understanding of the rules, guidelines and processes in relation to setting up a local company in Singapore.  We assist clients from initial business set up to maintaining all ongoing regulated activities.

      Please reach out to your usual Waystone Compliance Solutions representative to find out more about how we can assist you to set up your business and ensure compliance with Singapore’s regulatory obligations.

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