Singapore is known for its business-friendly policies and has one of the world’s simplest and most rational tax system. A modern regulatory framework here provides strong protections for intellectual property, while your Singapore company benefits from the city-state’s pro-growth and innovation-friendly policies. Before doing business here, read on for the 8 most commonly asked questions regarding company incorporation in Singapore.
- I am a foreigner and wish to set up a company in Singapore. What are the legal requirements for incorporating a company?
To incorporate a company in Singapore, you must adhere to the following requirements:
- Your company must appoint a qualified local company secretary,
- Your company must have a local registered address,
- Your company must appoint a local resident director, and
- Your company must have a minimum share capital of SGD 1.
The above requirements apply whether you are a Singaporean or a foreigner. You cannot register a company without providing the above information.
- We are a foreign company. How do we register a subsidiary company in Singapore?
A subsidiary company is treated as a locally registered company. Therefore, the same requirements as listed in question 1 apply.
- Can I set up a one-person company in Singapore?
Yes, a company can be owned and operated by you alone, which means that you can be both the sole shareholder and director. However, there must be at least one Singapore-resident director (see question 1).
This means that if you are not a Singapore resident, you will be required to appoint a Singapore-resident person as an additional director.
This Singapore-resident director you appoint can be a citizen, permanent resident, or someone with an employment or dependent pass.
- I am a foreigner and I don’t know anyone in Singapore. How can I appoint a local director?
At Corporate Services Singapore, we provide Nominee Local Director services. Most foreigners who set up a company in Singapore and are not relocating here use this option.
- I am a foreigner. Can I incorporate a company in Singapore, and own 100% of its equity?
Yes, foreigners can start and own businesses in Singapore. Shareholders of Singapore companies may include local or foreign individuals or corporate entities. Any of these shareholders can own 100% of the equity of a Singapore company.
However, you will need at least one Singapore-resident director (see question 1).
- Will I need to be physically present in Singapore to incorporate my company?
No, you need not be in Singapore to register a company. As Corporate Services Singapore can communicate and perform all necessary tasks for you remotely, you can incorporate your company without being in Singapore.
If you wish to open a corporate bank account, banks in Singapore will require your physical presence. Most of our customers usually plan a visit to Singapore only after their company has been incorporated.
If you wish to relocate to Singapore to operate your business for the medium to long term, you must obtain a valid work pass.
- I do not wish to be listed in public records. Can I nominate someone else as the director or shareholder of my Singapore company?
Yes, you can. However, as part of Singapore’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism regulations, companies are required to disclose all beneficial owners and controllers in a private register. This private register is accessible only to law enforcement agencies and not to the general public.
- What are the compliance requirements for Singapore companies? What do I need to declare each year?
Companies in Singapore are subject to plenty of compliance requirements, paperwork and checks. Upon incorporation, you must comply with the Companies Act and other statutory requirements to avoid hefty penalties or legal repercussions.
- Appointing an auditor, unless otherwise exempted
- Obtain a business license if you are in a specific industry such as real estate, hospitality or finance
- File an Estimated Chargeable Income (ECI) with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)
- File Form C-S or C with IRAS
- Hold Annual General Meetings (AGMs) unless otherwise exempted
- Submit annual returns to the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), which may include company details, shares and financial statements
- Register for GST if your company’s annual taxable turnover exceeds or is likely to exceed SGD 1 million from the sale of taxable goods and services
Financial reporting and tax compliance requirements for companies in Singapore include:
Consider engaging a professional corporate service provider that can help you stay on top of the various statutory compliance deadlines, as well as the preparation of AGM documents. Besides leaving you with more time and resources to focus on your core business, this ensures that your start-up never misses a submission or statutory filing.
Ready to Register a Singapore Company?
To ensure that you start your Singapore business on the right foot, consider engaging a one-stop professional corporate services provider that will help you stay effective at governance. From company incorporation to keeping and maintaining statutory books and registers, Corporate Services Singapore ensures that your start-up never misses a statutory filing or requirement.
Here is a quick guide to setting up a business in Singapore:
- Appoint a local company secretary such as Corporate Services Singapore
- Undergo “Know Your Customer” (KYC) checks by your corporate services provider as required by Singapore law
- Obtain a local registered address for your company
- Appoint a local resident director (or engage a Nominee Director via Corporate Services Singapore)
- Preparation and signing of incorporation documents
In addition, your company’s structure will have long term effects on your business, so it is important to get it right. Consult a corporate service provider such as Corporate Services Singapore to ensure you stay on the right track.
At Corporate Services Singapore, we can assist you in incorporating your company in full compliance of the law. To keep up with the latest regulatory updates in Singapore, give us a call at 6602 8286 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today.