8 Questions You Must Answer Before Registering Your Business

June 5, 2013

in Business and Entrepreneurship

Thinking of finally taking the plunge and setting up your own business? The good news is that it is super easy to register a business in Singapore, and you can do so online in as little as 15 minutes! But before you register your business with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), you need to answer the following 8 questions:

1. Do you meet the eligibility requirements?

Sole proprietorships, partnerships and limited partnerships need to appoint a local manager if none of the owners have a local address or are allowed to stay in Singapore for long periods.

Limited liability partnerships must appoint a local manager in all cases.

Companies must have at least one shareholder and one director. They can be the same person. However, it is advisable to have at least two directors as banks and other financial institutions usually require two signatories.

2. Is the business name you want available?

The availability of names can be checked at ACRA’s online directory of businesses on BizFile. (http://www.bizfile.gov.sg). This is ACRA’s electronic filing and information retrieval system.

To improve your chances of a quick name approval, make sure the name is not identical or too similar to any existing local company names, does not infringe any trademarks, is not obscene or vulgar and is not already reserved.

An approved name will be reserved for 60 days from the date of application. This can be extended for another 60 days by filing an extension request just before the expiry date.

3. Do you know the appropriate SSIC Code for your business?

The Singapore Standard Industry Classification (SSIC) code is used to classify businesses, and is required upon registration. It can be found using ACRA’s online search engine, and you can search for the appropriate code using keywords such as “furniture” and “manufacturing”.

4. Do you have a suitable business address?

A local address that is approved for business use by the Urban Redevelopment Authority needs to be provided upon registration.

5. Have you topped-up your Medisave accounts?

All self-employed persons are required to top up their Medisave accounts with the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board before they register a sole-proprietorship or partnership, become the new partner of an existing sole-proprietorship or partnership, or renew their business registration. This requirement is only applicable to Singaporean Citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents.

6. Have you applied for all required licenses?

Ensure that any licenses required for your business are obtained. You can use the Online Business Licensing Service to find the licences and permits relevant to your business, available at http://business.gov.sg/licences.

7. Have you prepared a Memorandum and Articles of Association (for incorporation of companies)?

Companies require a Memorandum and Articles of Association for incorporation. A sample can be found on ACRA’s website. Companies limited by guarantee may have certain restrictions on their memorandum or articles. These can be verified by referring to the Companies Act, which can be accessed at http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/.

8. Have you prepared the required documents (for incorporation of companies)?

For non-residents you will need to prepare the following: a copy of your passport, proof of an overseas residential address, and other information such as a bank reference letter.

For Singapore residents all you need is a copy of your Singapore identity card.

If the shareholder is a corporate entity, you will also need a copy of the registration documents such as Certificate of Incorporation and Memorandum & Articles of Association.

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be prepared to file your registration, free of any hitches!

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