Singapore is a great city
The government has also made incorporating a business there quite simple. They cut the red tape and costs other countries require for registering a business. This makes relocating to Singapore a very attractive option.
Even with the reduced amount of paperwork, there is still a process you must go through to make sure your business is legal and able to operate within Singapore’s boundaries. What follows is a complete guide to register your business in Singapore.
The process for company formation in Singapore
No matter where you go there are always legalities that need to be met before you can start your business. Singapore is no exception. Here is the process that you need to go through to be successful in forming your company n the city-state:
- Have a company name- there are rules that govern this as well. The name can’t be the same as another business’s name; it can already be reserved; is not considered to be dirty, rude or obscene; and cannot infringe on other business’ trademark
- You need directors- at least one has to be a resident of Singapore and all of your directors need to be over the age of 18, no criminal record and have not gone through a bankruptcy. If your directors meet those rules then you can have as many as you wish, both foreign and local
- Have shareholders- the minimum is 1 and the maximum is 50. Your shareholders can be other businesses, individuals, and either local or foreign
- Company Secretary- the new company has 6 months to appoint one and they must be a real person living in Singapore. You cannot use the only person who is a director or shareholder. It must be a different person
- Paid up capital- the minimum is S$1 and the amount can be increased after incorporation
- A real address- you cannot use a post office box, but you can use your home or a commercial property address
- Taxation- check the rules on this first.
The cost and time it takes to register
The good news is that it does not cost you a lot or take a lot of time to go through the Singapore company registration process. There are 2 fees involved, the first is the name approval fee which costs S$15. You should get an instant replay if the name is acceptable.
What slows the response is are a few keywords like law, bank, media, and finance. The use of those words means that another Government entity will get involved and slow every done for up to weeks at a time.
The other fee you need to be concerned about up front is the Singapore company registration Cost. This costs you S$300. The process usually takes only a few hours to approve if all the correct forms have been signed by everyone involved in the company.
The documents needed for company formation in Singapore
Like any country who wants to make sure all businesses are operating according to the law, Singapore requires certain documents to complete the process. It also needs some pertinent information. The list is as follows:
- The name of the company
- Concise description of the purpose of the business
- Shareholder details
- Director details
- Your business address
- Company secretary details
- Memorandum and Articles of Association (Provided by Singapore Company Registrar)
- Copy of registration documents (i.e. Certificate of Incorporation & MAA)
- Copies of passports, bank letters of reference, proof of non-Singapore address, and more for foreigners.
- Singapore Identity card for Singapore residents
Advantages and disadvantages of Singapore company registration
Like everything else in life, there are pros and cons to registering your company in Singapore. We will give you the good news first, but don’t the cons discourage you from incorporating your company in Singapore.
- Limited shareholder liability- usually just their shares are lost
- The company gets its own legal identity-it can own property and sue
- Transfer of ownership is easier than a partnership- just a transfer of shares and process goes according to the company’s constitution
- Clear government regulations governing organization and procedures of the company
- You only need 1 shareholder and director to incorporate
- Easier borrowing opportunities can be based on assets
- Creates status and credibility in the Singaporean society
- S$5 million audit threshold
- More rules and regulations to follow than partnerships
- More disclosure and administration requirements
- Directors cannot make secret profits and must work for the benefit of the company
- Directors must make their interest in the financial aspect of the company known
- Restrictions on creating contracts with directors
- Shareholders have an easy time of removing directors
- Directors must be approved by the shareholders
- It may be expensive to stop trading
- More expensive to start up than partnerships
The process for foreigners to register a company in Singapore
The good news is that Singapore has made it easy for foreigners to register a company in their jurisdiction. The process is very similar to what has been described above. But there are a few minor differences.
First, they need to get either a work visa or pass. These are called the Employment Pass or the Entre Pass. Once a foreigner gets this visa, then they can fulfill the resident director requirement.
Second, they must be over 18, have no criminal convictions or bankruptcies on their record. Third, they must submit their application electronically. It would be wise of them to use an official incorporation service to handle this duty.
Fourth, he or she does not have to be a resident of Singapore to register a company in the city-state.
Some final words
As you can see, forming a company in Singapore is not that difficult. A little patience, a little help from the pros, and you will be registered in no time. The lack of red tape makes it simple and easier than other countries. Just make sure you have all your documents, the correct fees and avoid using those keywords that slow the approval process down. Get the advice of the professionals to make sure you do not have any delays in registering your company