Five simple steps to incorporate a company in Singapore

  • Ace Global
  • December 29, 2021

Foreign entrepreneurs who have the ambition to enlarge the market or start a business in Asia, particularly in South East Asia, usually choose to register a company in Singapore. One of the most important reasons making Singapore is popular to foreign entrepreneurs is the ease of doing business, according to the World Bank.

In general, it is only five steps to incorporate a company in Singapore. The process may be completed within two working days, and the minimum paid-up capital is only S$1.

Step 1: Determine the business entities

As known, there are many different types of business entities in Singapore including sole proprietorship, limited liability partnership, private limited company, etc. Hence, it is important to choose a business entity form before setting up a company in Singapore.

Compared to other types of business entities, a private limited company is a popular choice for both local and foreign businesses to incorporate. This type of entity limits the liability of shareholders to their contributed share capital. Especially, the company is also entitled to income tax incentives for the first three years of registration, which is the biggest benefit of this business entity type. Also, it creates a professional image and enhances the potential to attract investors.

Step 2: Choose, check and register a name for the company

With any company, naming is always considered carefully to ensure its suitability for the business, the company’s long-term strategy and the image showing to clients and partners.

Please note that ACRA may decline registration of names because for variety reasons. The same name as the pre-registered business is a common reason or the name contains sensitive words or banned by the government, etc.

Thus, you should prepare a list of potential company names including three different names, then ACE Global Accountant will assist you to check whether they are available.

Step 3: Prepare necessary documents

The business must fulfil the following requirements to register a company in Singapore:

  • ACRA approved company name
  • A brief description of the business activity to register the nearest code with ACRA
  • For a corporate shareholder, it is required to provide a certificate of incorporation (COI) and Memorandum and Articles of Association.
  • For individuals who are foreigners, it is required to provide a valid passport and proof of address.

Step 4: Submit the application incorporation with ACRA

After completing the above three steps, all the application files for setting up the company will be submitted to ACRA, then the registration process will be conducted. In most cases, ACRA will approve the registration form on the same working day if there are no other necessary documents required.

Step 5: Issue a certificate of incorporation (Biz Profile)

Once the company registration form has been confirmed, ACRA will send a notification via email including a company registration number (UEN) and certificate of incorporation (COI) under an electronic version. Kindly note that ACRA will not provide a hardcopy of the certificate of incorporation because the electronic version is legally used in Singapore.

Find out more information about A Certificate of incorporation in Singapore

Things you need to do after incorporation 

Publish required information

You should ensure that the following items are fully implemented after your company is registered successfully:

  • Publish the certification of incorporation with all shareholders
  • Publish the register which shows the shares of each shareholder

Open a corporate bank account in Singapore

A bank account is a basic requirement for any business in dealing with local and foreign partners and clients. As one of the leading international financial centers in Asia, Singapore has a morden and stable banking system.

To open a bank account, it is complusory for a bank authorised and cheque signatory to phycially present in a bank in Singapore. With some strict international laws such as FATCA, AML and CFT guidelines, some banks will impose strict conditions so you need to have well-prepared to increase successfully ability.

Most banks require you to provide the following documents:

  • An application form for opening a bank account
  • Valid documents of your Singapore company such as Biz Profile and Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • A copy of valid passport of director(s)/ shareholder(s)/bank authorised
  • Proof of address of director(s)/ shareholder(s)/ bank authorised
  • Cheque deposit

Apply for a business license (If any)

You will be required to apply for a license to carry out your business if your company trades in certain types of business activities such as food, education, financial services, tourism, etc. Applying for a business license will be submited by the relevant government agencies.

Prepare and fill annual reports to ARCA and IRAS

Registered companies in Singapore are required to submit annual financial statements according to Singapore’s Financial Reporting Standards. Annual filling requirements are applied to incorporated companies in Singapore including financial statements, estimated chargeable income (ECI), annual general meeting (AGM), annual return (AR), annual tax return. Here is more about A Singapore company – Annual Fillings.

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