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  • Koh Management

What Are the Steps to Incorporate a Company in Singapore?

Incorporating a company in Singapore involves choosing a unique name, preparing incorporation documents, registering the company online via ACRA, opening a corporate bank account, obtaining necessary licenses, registering for GST if applicable, and staying compliant with annual filings and meetings. Professional services can facilitate this process for foreigners.

Incorporating a company in Singapore is a straightforward process, highly regarded for its efficiency and simplicity. The city-state is known for its business-friendly environment, making it a popular choice for entrepreneurs and businesses looking to establish an Asian presence. Here are the general steps to incorporate a company in Singapore, keeping in mind that specific requirements may evolve, so it's always a good idea to check the latest guidelines from the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), which is the national regulator of business entities and public accountants in Singapore.

1. Choose Your Company Name

  • Unique and Desirable: Your company name must be unique and not similar to any existing business names in Singapore. It should also not infringe on any trademarks.

  • Approval Required: Before incorporation, you must have your company name approved by ACRA. The approval process is usually quick, provided your chosen name does not contain sensitive words or phrases that might require additional review from relevant authorities.

2. Prepare Company Incorporation Documents

You will need to prepare the following documents:

  • Company Constitution: Previously known as the Articles of Association, this document outlines the company's rules and regulations.

  • Consent to Act as Director: Each director must provide consent to act in their role.

  • Consent to Act as Secretary: The company secretary must also provide their consent to act in their role.

  • Identification and Residential Address Details: For all company officers (directors, secretaries, and shareholders).

3. Register Your Company

  • Online Registration: The incorporation process is done through BizFile+, ACRA’s online filing and information retrieval system. You will need a Singpass account to log in. Foreigners wishing to incorporate a company in Singapore will usually do this through a professional services firm that can handle the process on their behalf.

  • Registration Fee: There is a fee for registering your company with ACRA.

4. Open a Corporate Bank Account

Once your company is incorporated, you will need to open a corporate bank account in Singapore. You can choose from a variety of local and international banks. Some banks may require the presence of company directors or principals.

5. Obtain Business Licenses and Permits

Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to obtain specific licenses and permits before you can commence operations. This is sector-specific, so it's important to research which licenses or permits are required for your particular business.

6. Register for Goods and Services Tax (GST)

If your company's annual turnover is expected to exceed SGD 1 million, you must register for Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is similar to Value-Added Tax (VAT) in other countries.

7. Stay Compliant

  • Annual General Meeting (AGM): Hold your first AGM within 18 months of incorporation and subsequently once every calendar year.

  • Annual Returns: File annual returns with ACRA within 7 months from the financial year-end.

  • Tax Filing: File annual tax returns with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).

Additional Considerations

  • Registered Office Address: You must have a registered office address in Singapore.

  • Company Secretary: You must appoint a company secretary within six months of incorporation.

  • Shareholders: A minimum of one shareholder is required, which can be an individual or a corporate entity.

Incorporating a company in Singapore can be a smooth process with proper planning and understanding of the requirements. Many businesses opt to engage professional services to navigate the incorporation process, ensuring compliance with local laws and regulations.

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