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Category: Singapore Company Formation

A.1 Business Pte Ltd offers a vast range of services, including company formation in Singapore to both
local and foreign entrepreneurs interested in starting up their own business.

For concerns and queries about company formation, our team of highly trained and skilled professionals
are always willing to provide assistance

Best-Compliance-Tips-for-Companies-in-Singapore 30 Apr

Best Compliance Tips for Companies in Singapore

Best Compliance Tips for Companies in Singapore

This guide will provide you with the best compliance tips for  companies in Singapore.

If you are planning to set up a new Singapore company, you will need to know these 13 important compliance requirements.

  • A qualified resident (company secretary) must be appointed within six months
  • Local, physical Singapore addressed needed to be the registered address of the company. Must be open and accessible to public during office hours.
  • Minimum of one resident director needed for the company whom must be at least 18 years old, free from any malpractice and not bankrupt. Any amount of additional resident or non-resident directors can be added.
  • Auditor must be appointed within 3 months from the date of incorporation. If you meet at least two of the conditions below in the last 2 FYEs, your Singapore company will be able to qualify for audit exemption :
    • Total annual revenue of no more than S$10 million
    • Total assets worth no more than S$10 million
    • No more than 50 employees
  • Goods and Services Tax must be registered if the projected or actual annual revenue of your company exceeds S$1 million. In foreign countries, it is known as Value Added Tax (VAT) or Sales tax. Companies must charge this tax to their clients on the goods and services provided and the proceedings will go to the tax authorities. For more information on GST, refer to Singapore GST guide.
  • You might also have to obtain one or more business licenses before the commence of business operations in Singapore. These activities include restaurants, educational institutes, financial services, travel agencies and import/export-related industries.
  • It is compulsory to maintain hardcopy or digital register of controllers of your Singapore Company and it must be physically accessible. Learn more through this link.
  • Public register of members and shareholders has to be maintain if you are running a foreign company on top of the register of controllers. Refer to ACRA’s FAQ page here for more details..
  • Keep necessary and important accounting records for at least five years after the related transaction have been completed. They must be able to explain the transaction and the financial position of your company.
  • Directors of the company must any material personal interested that might be related to company affairs, as well as any information to avoid conflicts.
  • Changes in company particulars must be submitted to ACRA within the timeframes allocated for that item. Penalties will incur for failing to do so.
  • Unique Entity Number or company registration number must be shown on all official company correspondence.
  • Submit to ACRA your annual returns and IRAS your annual tax returns. For more information refer to ACRA or IRAS

Different-Business-Entities-and-Structures-in-Singapore 24 Apr

Different Business Entities and Structures in Singapore

Different Business Entities and Structures in Singapore

Of the many choices when deciding on incorporating an entity in Singapore, one of the major factors is the type of business structure (i.e. legal entity) you select for your business. The decision you make will affect the amount of taxes you pay, the image and perception of your business among your customers and suppliers, the amount of paperwork that your business will have to do, the personal liability you will face, the amount of money you can borrow and the expansion of the business. This guide will allow you to have an overview of the different business entities and structures in Singapore and any differences among them. All of them are subjected to many different regulatory and tax regimes that reflects their organisation and ownership.

The following are the main business entity types in Singapore:

Private Limited Company

A private limited company is a LLC whereby the shares are held by less than 50 persons and will not be available to public. Mostly private incorporated businesses in Singapore are registered as private limited companies. A private limited company’s name in Singapore will usually end with Private Limited or Pte Ltd. For example, our own company A.1 Business Pte Ltd is incorporated as a private limited company. The shareholders of a private limited company will have to be corporate entities, individuals or both.

A private limited company will be the most advanced, flexible, and scalable type of business form in Singapore. For serious entrepreneurs, it is the most preferred type of Singapore business entity (as opposed to sole proprietorship or limited liability partnership). If you are interested in incorporating a private limited companies, refer to Singapore company registration

Why entrepreneurs prefer Private Limited Company

  • Separate Legal Entity: A private limited company will have its own legal identity and it is separated from its shareholders and its directors. It allows the acquisition of assets, enter into debts, enter into contracts, sue or be sued in its own name.
  • Limited Liability: The amount of capital they each agreed to contribute as capital into the company will be the limited liability of the members to contribute to the debts of the company.
  • Perpetual Succession: The continued membership of any of its members will not determine the company’s existence. In the event of death, resignation, or insolvency of shareholders or directors, ease of transfer of shares or changes in shareholders will ensure the company to survive
  • Ease of raising capital: If the company plans for expansion or to bring in new shareholders or to issue more shares to existing shareholders, you will need to raise capital. If a company has separation between personal and business assets, investors will be more likely to purchase shares in that company. Also, limited companies are able to get a loan easier from most banks.
  • Credible Image: As compared to a sole proprietorship or a partnership firm, an incorporated business entity will exhibit a better image and investors will be more willing to become a part of the company as it demonstrates a vision to grow and expand. Being a private limited company means that potential clients, suppliers, bankers and other professionals will take your business more seriously.
  • Ease of transfer of Ownership: Without disrupting operations or the need for complicated legal documentation, ownership of a company may be transferred, either wholly or partially. By selling all or part of its total shares, or through issuing of new shares to additional investors, ownership transfer will be done.
  • Tax Benefits and Incentives: A private limited company is a very efficient tax entity in Singapore as the effective corporate tax rate for Singapore companies for profits above SGD 300,000 it is capped at 17% while profits up to SGD 300,000 is below 9%. Moreover, there is no capital gains tax. A single-tier tax policy is used in Singapore which means that once the income has been taxed at the corporate level, dividends can be distributed to shareholders tax free.

Public Limited Company

A public limited company is a LLC that may offer its shares to public. A public limited company must have at least 50 shareholders and is subjected to significantly stricter rules and regulations since they have the power to raise funds from the public. Public limited company will be seen listed on a stock exchange. Public limited companies are outside the scope of this article as they are meant for large businesses.

Public Company Limited by Guarantee

If you are setting up a business entity meant for non-profit purposes, a public company limited by guarantee is the preferred choice. To learn more about it, refer to setting up a non-profit entity in Singapore.

Foreign Company Registration Options

Foreign companies that would wish to setup a presence in Singapore, have the choice of setting up a subsidiary company, branch office, or a representative office in Singapore.

  • Subsidiary Company.  A subsidiary company will have the parent company as its shareholder and it is a private limited company incorporated in Singapore. For small to medium-sized foreign businesses, setting up a subsidiary company would be the most preferred choice in Singapore.
  • Branch Office. A branch office does not act as a separated incorporated entity and it is an extension of its parent company and Liabilities of a branch office will extend to its parent company.
  • Representative Office. Setting up a representative office in Singapore is a temporary arrangement for conducting marketing research activities. It cannot be engaged in any profit yielding activities and does not have any legal status.

For further details about these choices, refer to foreign company registration options in Singapore.

Sole Proprietorship

The simplest but the riskiest type of business form in Singapore would be sole proprietorship. From the legal perspective, the owner and business are counted as one. The owner owns all the assets and liabilities of the business. There is no protection of the owner’s personal assets from the business. Creditors have the rights to go after the owner’s personal assets if the business cannot pay all its liabilities, it is known as unlimited liability. Many entrepreneurs are unfamiliar about this financial risk. The owner will take full responsibility for the business’s liabilities. Inspiring entrepreneurs should not consider a sole proprietorship.

Other details about sole proprietorship can be found at Singapore sole proprietorship registration guide.

Partnership

To address the constraint faced by a sole proprietorship, the partnership type of business structure allows two or more people to setup and co-own a business. The firm does not have any legal existence separate from its partners. It will come to an end with death, insolvency, incapacity or the retirement of any partner. Furthermore at any point in time that any of the partners are unsatisfied or discontent, they can also give notice for the dissolution of the partnership. In a limited number of situations a partnership type of business structure is favourable. It is not recommended for this type of business structure to business owners.

General Partnership

An unattractive way to structure a business in Singapore would be a general partnership. As partners are personally liable for the debts and liabilities of the business and each partner are still able to be held responsible for the actions of another partner.

Limited Partnership

In Singapore, limited partnership is an alternative to the general partnership type of business form. In addition to a general partner, it must also have a limited partner. The amount of investments by the partners will be the limited liabilities that they are accountable for. However, they are unable to participate in the management of the business. Limited partnership is an unattractive vehicle for setting up a business in general.

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

Among all the three types of partnership, LLP is the most advanced and newest business incorporation structure. It combines all the features of partnerships and companies.  LLP was introduced in 2005 through the enactment of Limited Liability Partnership Act. LLP provides owners the flexibility of operating like partnership while enjoying many benefits that comes with a corporate body like a private limited company.

A LLP is mainly meant for carrying a profession where two or more professionals would like to setup a joint practice in a common field. It is a must for the owners to enter into detailed agreements about how the profits and management responsibilities are divided. It can get very complex and would require the services of a lawyer to draw up the agreement. Partners in  a limited liability partnership have to be responsible and proactive for cultivating for their own clients based on  the partner’s specific area of focus.
The minimum amount of partners that a LLP must have is two partners at all times. An LLP is not suited for a business that carries a trade. For more information on LLP, refer to Singapore LLP registration guide

Which business entity type to choose?

Depending on your particular situation and plans, you need to decide the right business structure to incorporate in Singapore. As a general rule, you can use the following guidelines to make your decision:

  • If you are a local and would like to register a small business and you will be the only owner and the nature of your products/service will not carry liability issues, it might be easier for you to start up your business as a Sole Proprietorship. However, you must carefully consider the fact that in case of any business liabilities, the claimants will be able to go after your personal assets.
  • If your business involves providing services by way of the profession you hold and you have one or more additional partners in a similar profession and would like to build a joint practice, setting up a LLP will be a suitable business structure for you.
  • In conclusion, incorporating a private limited company in Singapore would be the best choice. Although it is more complicated, it is still the best structure in the long run.

How to Register a Company in Singapore in 2018

How to Register a Company in Singapore

Do you want to register a company in Singapore? This is one of the most helpful company registration guide online showing you how to register a company in Singapore.

What things do you need to take note before registering your company and business in Singapore?

It is important that you are aware of the following requirements before registering your Singapore company:

  • Get your company name approved by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) before company incorporation. ACRA is the Company Registrar organisation in Singapore.
  • Appoint a minimum of 1 local director who is an ordinarily resident in Singapore. An “ordinarily resident in Singapore” means that the director’s usual place of residence is in Singapore. Anyone who is a Singapore Citizen, Singapore Permanent Resident or possess an EntrePass can be accepted as an ordinarily resident here. You can appoint an unlimited number of non-resident or additional directors too. Both resident and non-resident directors must be at least 18 years old, have not been convicted of any offences (fraud or dishonesty) and not a bankrupt.
  • Your Private Limited Company may have 1 to 50 shareholders. The shareholders may or may not be the company directors. Companies in Singapore may be owned by a mix of both local and non-local shareholders, up to 100% non-local ownership. Individual natural persons or legal entities such as other companies can be shareholders. The same individual may serve the sole director and sole shareholder of a company.
  • Appoint a company secretary within 6 months of company registration. The company secretary must reside locally in Singapore. This person must not be the sole director and/or shareholder of the company.
  • You can set up a company with a minimum paid-up capital of only S$1. This share capital can be increased any time after the company incorporation.
  • Provide a local address in Singapore for the registered address of your company. The address must be a physical address in Singapore and cannot be a P.O. box address. You can use the virtual office address service of your corporate service provider company if you don’t intend to set up a local office address.
  • Singapore government provide attractive tax exemption scheme for new start-up companies to support entrepreneurship and help local companies grow. Announced in Budget 2018, qualifying companies will be given the following tax exemption for the first three consecutive YAs where the YA falls in:
    • YA 2019 and before
      • Full exemption on the first S$100,000 of normal chargeable income*; and
      • An additional 50% exemption on the next $200,000 of normal chargeable income*.
    • YA 2020 and onwards
      • 75% exemption on the first S$100,000 of normal chargeable income*; and
      • An additional 50% exemption on the next $100,000 of normal chargeable income*.

* normal chargeable income refers to the income to be taxed at the prevailing corporate tax rate.

  • Provide a local address in Singapore for the registered address of your company. The address must be a physical address in Singapore and cannot be a P.O. box address. You can use the virtual office address service of your corporate service provider if you don’t intend to set up a local office address.
  • To ease business costs and support the restructuring of companies, it was announced in Budget 2018 that the Corporate Income Tax (CIT) Rebate for YAs 2018 has been raised to 40% of the corporate tax payable subject to a cap of S$15,000. The CIT Rebate has been raised to YA 2019 at 20% of the corporate tax payable, subject to a cap of S$10,000.

 

What does a foreigner or non-resident need to consider when registering a Singapore company?

Other than the guidelines stated previously, here are some additional information that foreigners or non-Singapore residents need to take note of:

  • Engage a professional firm to incorporate your Singapore company. Non-resident individuals or entities cannot self-register a company under the Singapore law.
  • If you plan to move to Singapore to operate your Singapore company, you need to obtain either an Employment Pass or Entrepreneur Pass. The pass allows you to act as the local resident director of your company.

What are the documents needed to incorporate a Singapore company?

You need to provide the following documents to incorporate a company in Singapore:

  • Name of Company
  • Brief description of business activities
  • Particulars of Shareholders
  • Particulars of Directors
  • Registered address
  • Particulars of Company Secretary
  • Constitution

When you engage a professional firm to register a company for you, they will need your submission of the following documents to prepare the necessary paperwork:

  • Foreigners/ non-residents: Passport copy, proof of overseas residential address, other Know-Your-Client (KYC) information such as personal and business profiles, and bank reference letters, etc.
  • Singapore residents: Singapore identity card copy
  • Corporate entity shareholder(s): Registration documents copy, such as Certificate of Incorporation and Constitution

Please provide officially-endorsed translated documents for any non-English documents.

What is the process of registering a Singapore company? And how long is the process?

As the company registration process in Singapore has been fully computerized by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore, the process can usually be done within the same day under most cases.

You can go through these steps to register your Singapore company:

1. Reserve Company Name

New company names are usually approved or rejected within an hour. Please do note that the names approval may get delayed from a few days to a few weeks if the proposed name contains certain words such as “insurance”, “bank”, and “education” as such names may be subjected to more regulation by review and permission by other Government authorities.
For faster approval of your company name, you can ensure the following:

  • It is not similar or identical to any existing local company names
  • It is not vulgar or obscene
  • It is not infringing any trademarks
  • It has not been reserved

An approved name shall be reserved for 4 months from application date.

2. Company Registration

Upon approval of the company name and the finalization of the company incorporation paperwork, company registration can often be completed within a few hours from the time you file the company incorporation request. Only in rare cases does the government authorities request for additional information from directors or shareholders of certain nationalities.

How do check if my Singapore company has been registered or incorporated?

An official email notification will be send by ACRA upon successful incorporation of your Singapore company. The email notification is treated as the official certificate of incorporation in Singapore and includes company registration number.

The email notification of incorporation and the company business profile are sufficient for all contractual and legal matters in Singapore, such as opening of corporate banking accounts, subscription to internet or telephone network services and signing of office leases.
If you need a hard copy of the certification of incorporation, you may request to ACRA online for S$50 per copy. The hardcopy can be collected from the ACRA office on the next working day.

A PDF version of your company business profile can also be downloaded online for a nominal fee within an hour of the request. The company business profile contains the following information:

  • Company Name
  • Registration Number
  • Previous company name (if any)
  • Incorporation Date
  • Principal activities
  • Paid-up capital
  • Registered office address
  • Details of Shareholders
  • Details of Directors
  • Details of Company Secretary

Here are some other items you will need upon company registration:

  • Share register indicating allocated shares to each shareholder
  • Share certificates for each shareholder
  • Company seal
  • A company rubber stamp

What do I need to take note after registering my Singapore company?

Once you have registered your Singapore company, you can open a corporate banking account in any major banks in Singapore, such as Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited (OCBC Bank), DBS Bank, United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB), HSBC Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.

Many Singapore banks require the company principals to be physically present at the bank during account opening.

Before commencing certain business operations, you may also need one or more business licenses. Business in food and beverage, financial services, education and training, travel agencies, import/export industries would usually require business licenses.

Companies which projected annual revenue exceed SGD 1 million must register for the Goods and Services Tax (GST). GST is similar to Sales Tax or Value Added Tax (VAT) in some countries. GST registered companies need to charge this tax to clients for the products or services sold. The current GST in Singapore is at 7%.

According to the Singapore Companies Act, incorporated companies in Singapore is mandated to do certain annual filing requirements.

replicate-mokume-gane-effect-rubber-stamps-polymer-clay 19 Sep

Replicate the Mokume Gane Effect With Rubber Stamps and Polymer Clay

Introduced in Japan at a time as early as the 17th century, the Mokume-Gane effect is mainly used for metalworking, where a curious mixture of metals are produced in a laminate, containing patterns that are layered. This technique had originally been created for aesthetic purposes like sword decoration but have since then evolved into being used for other mediums like jewellery and more! If you are a fan of the products containing this technique, you will be pleased to know that you can replicate the end results of such an effect using rubber stamps and polymer clay. Here’s how:

Begin by preparing and gathering these required items- polymer clay (2 to 4 colours recommended), rolling pin, water, rubber stamp (the deeper etched the better), crafting blade and paper (if required). Once you have gathered all the material, make sure to begin rolling and layering the polymer clay out so that you can begin conditioning your clay.

Knead the polymer clay until you feel that the texture and consistency is soft and malleable. Then use your rolling pin to roll and layer each different coloured polymer clay into thin sheets so that you can stack them on top of each other. Make sure to layer them properly because you will then be required to cut your layered stack of polymer clay. Half the clay stack and stack that section on top of the section you had. If done right, you will have 8 layers of alternating colours. Flatten the stack once again with your rolling pin so that the height is close to half of what it’s original height was. Now that you have properly prepared your polymer clay, you will have to make use of your rubber stamps.

Press your rubber stamps down firmly on different sections of the clay’s surface to create indentations and check sporadically if the rubber stamp is beginning to stick. In order to avoid ruining the polymer clay by having your rubber stamps stick to it, regularly sprinkle or spray water onto your rubber stamp. Stamp according to your requirements and let your polymer clay cool so that it settles back into firmness. Monitor the progress and trim away any excess bits, including the raised portions so that the colours beneath can shine through. Smooth out the rest of the surface by rolling it gently and you can begin cutting shapes with your rubber stamp and other uses. You can experiment with different colour combinations for varying effects.

Home Office Scheme in Singapore

The Home Office Scheme is a scheme which allows a company’s registered address to be their HDB address. Through this scheme, home-owners can conduct their business at home as long as they satisfy all the given criteria and guidelines which is subjected to URA’s approval. Implementation of this scheme should not bring about disturbance or inconvenience to the neighbourhood.

Please note that the approval is subject to the following:
a) general Terms & Conditions stipulated under the Home Office Scheme;
b) terms of the lease/tenancy agreement with HDB;
c) registration of your business/company with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA);
d) HDB’s right to revoke approval granted under the Scheme if you breach any of the terms of the Scheme and lease/tenancy agreement, and the provision of the Housing & Development Act (Cap 129) or for any reason whatsoever.
After five years, you will need to renew your application.

PERFORMANCE CRITERIA FOR HOS:

  • The conductor of the business must be the flat owner or any other authorised person approved by HDB and must continue to use the flat as his place of residence.
  • In addition to the business use, it must also be used for residential uses and the business activities should be confined within the premises.
  • The business has to be registered with ACRA, unless it has been exempted from registration under the Business Registration Act.
  • The HDB flat cannot be used as a home office or a registered office for a society.
  • The business must not
    • generate extraneous noise, smoke, odour, liquid waste or dust that could become a nuisance.
    • be illegal or unlawful.
    • have any bad and immoral influences.
    • introduce excessive human or vehicular traffic to the surrounding neighbourhood.
    • adversely affect the character, ambience and environment of the residential estate.
  • Any solicitation of business that may cause disturbance to the residents or public are disallowed, i.e. distribution of brochures, flyers or door-to-door visits.
  • No selling of physical goods.
  • No display of advertisements or posters.
  • All necessary safety precautions must be taken to ensure that the business activities do not pose any danger.
  • Electricity and structural load must not surpass the normal (residential) load.
  • Storage and use of hazardous substances are strictly prohibited.
  • The business must fulfil the fire safety requirements imposed by the Fire Safety and Shelter Department. Which are:
    • To install one 1 x 2kg ABC Dry Chemical Powder fire extinguisher.
    • To install one single-station smoke detector. (For enquiry on the fire safety requirements, please email SCDF_qp_consultant@scdf.gov.sg)
  • The regulations of other government authorities and licences/approvals must be obtained before business can commence. To search for the licences/approvals, please visit https://licence1.business.gov.sg.
  •  

    TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

    • The premises to be used primarily for residential purposes with part or parts of the premises being used by the occupants as an office.
    • The number of non-residents (such as employees, partners and directors) engaged in the business is limited to a maximum of 2.
    • Owners must ensure that the activities of their business do not cause any disturbance to the neighbours or the residential neighbourhood.
    • The businesses must satisfy the performance criteria.
    • The business must be listed in the permitted business section under the Home Office scheme.
    • Display of business signage outside the residential premises is not allowed.
    • The use may be terminated if the business results in complaints from neighbouring residents.
    • There will not be any increase in the floor area of the building even if there is a change in use of the relevant premises.
    • No part of the relevant premises comprises of works that are unauthorised under the Planning Act.
    • Any approval required from the relevant authority for the change in use of the relevant premises has to be obtained before making the changes in use of the relevant premises.
    • Where the person lodging the registration form is not the owner of the relevant premises, a written consent from the owner of the premises has been obtained before the lodgement of the registration form.
    • When the HO use ceases or if the HO permit is revoked due to a breach in conditions or guidelines, the use of the relevant premise as a Home Office shall be reverted back to residential use.

    PERMITTED BUSINESS

    • Accountancy services
    • Architectural services
    • Consultancy services (business, engineering, IT, management or education)
    • Design/Advertising services
    • Insurance/Financial planning services
    • Real estate agencies
    • Technology based and knowledge intensive businesses
    • Transportation services
    • Trading office

    NON-PERMITTED BUSINESS

    • Beauty, hair dressing or massage therapy services
    • Car trading business
    • Card reading/palm reading or fortune telling in any form
    • Catering/restaurants
    • Clinics and pharmacies (e.g. dental, medical, veterinary)
    • Commercial school (e.g. dance, music, language, tuition centre)
    • Courier business
    • Classes on dress-making and embroidery
    • Employment agency
    • Funeral chapels or homes
    • Maid agency
    • Mausoleums
    • Manufacturing, preparation or processing of any products and goods
    • Money lending businesses
    • Opticians
    • Repair activities (e.g. household appliances, electrical products, footwear, etc.)
    • Sales/marketing that involves conducting seminars and talks for large number of customers
    • Shops and any form of retail activity, including pet shops

How to Set Up a Tuition Agency in Singapore?

Prior to setting up a tuition agency in Singapore, business owners need to register a company in Singapore and set their business activities as “commercial schools” or “tuition centres” before the company can proceed online to apply for private school licenses.

In the Private Education Act, private education is defined as “Full-time education helping students for any examination that results in a qualification awarded by another person or organisation other than the Private Education Institution (PEI), or admission to an education institution”. Tuition agencies operate in accordance to this law.

Thus, with the effect from 21 December 2009 under the new Private Education Act, organisations – including sole-proprietors; partnerships; companies and registered societies, are legally required to enlist as a private school with the Council for Private Education (CPE), a statutory board under the Ministry of Education (MOE) of Singapore. However, organizations keen to register with the CPE have to comply with the various laws and regulations.

Enhanced Registration Framework in Singapore

Companies who are interested to start a tuition agency have to go through a process called the Enhanced Registration Framework (ERF), which is implemented by the Private Education Act and the Private Education Regulations. Through ERF, the Council for Private Education ensures that all PEIs functioning in Singapore meet the mandatory registration requirements and legislative obligations.

Documentation compulsory for Registration

Document 1: Status as a registered company

A tuition agency must be formed as a company registering with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). Also, in order to be registered, it must conform to certain necessities with respect to corporate governance. In order to prove this, entrepreneurs who start up the tuition agency can present his BizFile to CPE.

Regarding naming of the tuition agency, the name of it and the department must denote a place of learning. The name of the agency should be comprised of words like “school” or “academy”.

Also, to avoid any misinterpretation of the tuition agency to be same or associated with other existing agencies, the CPE will not agree to agencies using a name similar to each other. It should also not contain words such as “Singapore” and “National”, as it is highly possible to lead potential customers to think that the agency is related with the Singapore Government.

Document 2: Details of managers

The managers of the tuition agency are the directors of the company. A Manager’s Declaration Form accompanied with the personal particulars should submitted to allow the CPE to conduct checks if the manager is fit and proper to perform his/her roles.

Document 3: Floor plan of premises & Approvals on the suitability of premises

Firstly, at least one fully enclosed classroom and a dedicated area for office or administrative activities is required for the tuition agency to be approved by CPE.

Secondly, the premises of the tuition agency must be judged as appropriate for providing legitimate and hazard-free private education by government-controlled land planning and fire safety authorities. Its properties and equipment must obtain Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) or the Housing Development Board’s (HDB) approval to be used as a commercial school; and the fire safety clearance from the Fire safety and Shelter Department (FFSD) of Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

Document 4: Details of the members of tuition agencies’ Academic Boards

Every tuition agency has to set up an Academic Board. The agency must follow the academic policies and procedures developed by the Academic Board. The Academic Board is generally liable for the academic quality of the agency.

The Academic Board of the tuition agency must contain of at least 3 members. These members must not be bankrupts; sentenced in any court of law in Singapore for an offence under the Act; guilty of any offence involving fraudulence or corruption; or be managers of any unregistered or registration-rejected PEI.

Document 5: Details of the Courses and Teacher to be employed

  • Photocopy of every teacher’s NRIC or passport
  • Certification of each teacher’s relevant academic qualifications and work experience
  • Class timetable
  • Attendance sheets
  • Teacher deployment chart
  • Receipts issued to students
  • Sample of Textbook or Assessment Books issued to students

Registration Methods

Method 1: Online Business Licensing Service

Registration for PEI can be presented electronically via the Online Business Licensing Service (OBLS) available at https://licences.business.gov.sg. Users have to Log-in to the OBLS system through Singpass or CPF PAL PIN.

Method 2: Smart Forms and Paper Forms

Smart Forms are available for download at the CPE’s website. It is submitted as ‘attachments’ using OBLS when completed. PEIs will be asked to fill in hardcopy forms in situations where signatures of the managers are mandatory.

For more information, please refer to https://www.cpe.gov.sg/for-peis/enhanced-registration-framework-erf/enhanced-registration-framework-erf

How to Set Up a Trading Company in Singapore?

Singapore is an effective and efficient ‘port of call’ for many traders around the world, especially those dealing in the western and eastern time zones. According to World Trade Organization’s latest statistics, Singapore is the 14th largest exporter in the world. If you plan to register a company in Singapore for the import/export business, an overview of the various aspects of trading is provided below.

With 3000 logistics and supply chain management companies available in Singapore, trade has become an integral part of the country’s booming economy. Singapore also provides shippers with a choice of 200 shipping lines that has connections to over 600 ports in more than 120 countries. With market dominance over this industry of import/export trade, Singapore has well-defined procedures in place. Please read on to find out more about setting up a trading company in Singapore.

How to start a trading company in Singapore?

Step 1: Incorporate a trading company

In order to start a trading business in Singapore, a Singapore company is required to be incorporated. The procedure of company incorporation is fully computerized through the Bizfile website. Therefore, the time needed to process each incorporation is short, about 1-2 days under normal circumstances.

Step 2: Register with Singapore Customs

Both exporters and importers have to activate their account with Singapore Customs before being granted permission to import/export goods into and out of Singapore. 1-2 working days will be needed after submission of the application before activation of account is processed. If successful, a Customs approval letter will be issued and it will be valid for as long as the company exists.

Step 3: Apply for licences and permits

For import /export of all goods

Including all non-controlled and controlled items, import of all goods into Singapore require an IN Permit through TradeNet®. On the other hand, export of all goods out of Singapore require you to obtain an OUT Permit through TradeNet®.

IN Permit and OUT Permit has to be obtained:

  • before exporting goods if they are transported via rail or road, or are controlled goods.
  • within 3 days of export if your goods are transported by sea or air, or non-controlled goods.
  • before exporting goods that are imported under the Temporary Import Scheme previously.
  • before exporting goods under the Temporary Export Scheme.

However, certain special scenarios may be imported/exported without a permit. One such example includes importing/exporting of uncontrolled items that does not exceed S$400/- in total value on the CIF (Costs, Insurance and Freight) value.

For import/export of controlled goods

Controlled goods are the import/export of some goods that are subject to the control of Controlling Agencies. To import/export controlled goods, a permit is required, in addition to the IN and OUT Permit. Permit applications can be submitted to relevant Controlling Agencies through TradeNet® system or via your freight forwarder, cargo agent for processing and approval. Some examples of controlled goods include tobacco products, petrochemicals, drugs, animals and food products.

For import of high-technology items

Some high-technology items are subject to export control and the importer from Singapore may have to provide an Import Certificate and Delivery Verification (ICDV). ICDV can be applied by importers at Singapore Customs. Items covered in an ICDV must not be diverted to other countries, only imported directly into Singapore.

For export, transshipment, or transit of Strategic Goods

A Strategic Goods Control (SGC) TradeNet Permit must be obtained if one intends to tranship, export or bring in Strategic Goods. They are regulated by the Strategic Goods (Control) Act which covers all goods and technology that are likely to be used or intended for weapons of mass destruction.

For export of local goods

Singapore exporters may be asked for a Certificate of Origin (CO) by buyers which is able to prove that goods are made in Singapore. Two types of Certificates of Origin exists:

  • Ordinary Certificates of Origin – to satisfy buyers that products exported are wholly obtained, produced or manufactured locally in Singapore.
  • Preferential Certificates of Origin – a document that help to improve the competitive edge of exports as it enables buyers to claim preferential tariff treatment when importing.

A Certificate of Origin can be applied through TradeNet® or via a freight forwarder or cargo agent.

How to Strike Off a Company in Singapore?

In the business world, there are always companies going for strike-off due to many unforeseen circumstances such as disputes between shareholders, directors of the company may choose to shut down their business. However, not all companies are eligible to apply for strike off. They have to meet the criteria stated by ACRA in order to apply for the strike off documents and accounts.

The criteria set by ACRA are as follows:

  • The business must have ceased trading or not began business from their incorporation date.
  • The business must not have any outstanding tax liabilities with IRAS and must not be indebted to any other government agency.
  • The business must not have any outstanding charges in the company’s charge register.
  • The business must not be involved in any court proceedings (within or outside Singapore).
  • The director(s) must obtain the written consent of the majority of the shareholders.
  • The company must not have any current/contingent assets and liabilities.
  • The accounts attached must be drawn up till the date of cessation indicated in the application (if applicable).

Companies Limited by Guarantee must submit the last set of audited accounts.  After meeting all of the criteria, the companies can start preparing the documents or accounts needed for strike-off.

The strike off documents required by Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority Singapore (ACRA) are as follows:
1. Declaration of Strike Off
2. Application for Strike Off
3. Tax Clearance
4. Waiver of Form C-S/C, if any

However, the submission of the strike-off documents varies according to the company’s transaction.

If the company has not carried out any transaction since its incorporation date and has not filed for any audited accounts, they are not required to submit any audited accounts with its application. However, the company has to close the bank account before its strike-off, if any, and also provide a bank statement as an evidence for the closure. Besides that, they will only need to prepare the strike off documents as mentioned above. For companies that have filed audited accounts previously, they have to submit a copy of the latest audited report together with the strike-off documents.

If company has carried out transactions, they will have to ensure that they have no liabilities and assets in the last audited accounts. If there are no assets or liabilities, they have to submit a copy of its certificate of exempt private company in the last Annual Return without the last audited report. Otherwise, the company must enclose the last set of audited accounts in its application and the directors must provide explanation and evidence in their applications on how these assets or liabilities are disposed of.

With all the documents ready, the application is required to be submitted online through Bizfile. The application will take around 7 to 14 days for ACRA approval. Once it is approved, a striking off notice will be given to the company and IRAS for anyone to raise objection. If there is no objection raised, the final notification will be given with the struck off date.

For applications that are not approved, companies will receive an email notifying them. It may be due to the outstanding assets or liabilities, and companies can re-submit its documents for ACRA to re-consider. The entire striking off process will take around six months to be completed.

How to Set Up an Employment Agency in Singapore?

An employment agency is a company which act as the middleman to help assist other companies with the process of recruiting and staffing potential employees. Employment agencies are in charge placing both local and foreign candidates to positions in companies ranging from entry-level to top-level executives.


Procedure for setting up employment agencies in Singapore:

Step 1: Register a company in Singapore
To set up an employment agency, applicants must first incorporate their company in Singapore under a business code depending on the type of recruitment activities which the agency carries out. There are 2 main types of business codes:

78115 – Business activity (For agencies responsible for executive searches and headhunting)
78114 – Business activity (Applicable for other employment agencies except maid agencies)

Step 2: Setup a business office

The next step is to establish an operating business office. Applicants have the option of choosing from various office spaces depending on their budget and business requirements.

Step 3: Certifications for Key Appointment Holders and Employees

Employees and key employment holders working in employment agencies need to obtain certification through under the CEI (Certificate for Employment Intermediaries) course. The length of the course varies depending on the positions held. Key employment holders such as CEOs need to attend a 40-hour course while the course duration for regular employees is 32 hours.

Step 4: Apply for Employment Agency License

Once the CEI is obtained, the Employment Agency Licence needs to be obtained before applicants can finally start up their employment agency.

Who needs to apply?

It is necessary for every company which engages in employment agency activities in Singapore to apply for the Employment Agency License, irrespective of whether the company is located in Singapore or in other countries.

Employment agency activities include communicating with prospective candidates regarding their job application status and collating resumes of job applicants looking for employment. Moreover, it also includes submitting Singapore Work Visa Applications to the Ministry of Manpower on the behalf of employers or job applicants, as well as facilitating the placement of candidates with employers.

Types of licenses available:

Companies can either choose to apply for a Comprehensive or a Select Licence, depending on the type of employment activities the agency deals with.

The Select License is meant for agencies involved in the recruiting and staffing of candidates whose monthly base salary is S$7,000 and above. Agencies which do not meet the requirements are required to apply for the Comprehensive license instead.

Fees and Duration of application

A license registration fee of $400 will be charged for the application of the licenses. The application of Employment Agency License will take 1-3 weeks to be processed. Subsequently, upon approval of the application, applicants will be notified via an email which will also contain the IPA (in-principal-approval) letter attached.

Other Documents

Once the IPA letter is received, license applicants must then submit the following documents to be issued the license.

  • Security Bond – to be obtained from a bank in Singapore, in the form of Banker’s Guarantee. To be issued a Banker’s Guarantee, applicants need to open a fixed deposit (FD) account for the said amount with bank. The Banker’s Guarantee should cover 15 months from the start date.
  • Clear copies of applicants’ Singapore ID (for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents) or Employment Pass.
  • The latest copy of company business profile (obtained from ACRA)
  • Applicant’s recent passport-sized photograph
  • A copy of applicant’s In-Principle-Approval letter
  • A copy of the approval letter obtained from relevant authorities (For applicants operating under HomeOffice Scheme)
  • A copy of the applicant’s Certificate for Employment Intermediaries (CEI)
  • Completed checklist form

Once all the relevant documents are submitted, applicants will be notified via email within 7 days of document submission, that their application has been approved. After that, applicants will need to pay a $100 fee before the license is issued and mailed to the applicant’s address.

The employment license is valid for 3 years from the date of issue and applicants can renew choose to renew the license after that.

What are the benefits of setting up a business in Singapore?

Singapore is ranked the number one city with the best investment potential in the world. Singapore has attracted many investors and entrepreneurs to invest and register businesses in the country as there are many benefits of setting up a business in Singapore.

The benefits of setting up a business in Singapore are as follows:

Political Stability

Singapore is a politically stable country without any foreign debt and relatively high government revenue. This has attracted potential entrepreneurs and international business to set up their business here in Singapore. As it is foreseen that Singapore will be stable for a long term basis, this implies that businesses will facing lower business risks and costs.

Also, businesses are able to draft out future business plans easily as they will not face difficulty in forecasting the industry and business trends in Singapore.

Pro-Enterprise Government

To be pro enterprise, the Singapore government has provided different types of business incentives to encourage locals and foreign investors to set up their businesses in the country.

For example, Singapore provides Productivity and Innovation Credit Claims for businesses to enjoy tax deduction or cash payout. This can help to reduce the heavy taxes and high expenses borne by a local company.

Low taxes

Also, Singapore has a low effective personal and corporate tax. Compared to Japan’s corporate tax rate of 38.01%, Singapore charges much lower tax rates of 17%. With a lower corporate tax contribution, business will benefit as they are able to earn a higher net profit in Singapore compared to other countries.

Skilled Workforce

Besides political stability, businesses can benefit by setting up companies in Singapore in terms of the high quality workforce available. As Singapore is a knowledge-based country, its labour force is well-educated and professionally qualified.

Companies will not have difficulty in employing highly skilled labour needed in the different sectors; especially so in the financial and economic sectors. They will also not face problems in searching for a qualified business partners when they are starting up a new company in Singapore.

Advanced technology and infrastructure

The technology and infrastructure of Singapore also makes it favorable for businesses. According to the 2012 Mercer Quality of Living Study, Singapore is ranked first in the world based on our infrastructure. Singapore now has a well-established infrastructure, as they have air, sea, land and telecommunication means available around the country to support any mode of transport for companies to overcome delivery and production difficulties.

The Singapore government not only seeks to develop the physical infrastructure, but to adopt up-to-date technology as well. Companies can benefit from the advanced technology as more businesses use information technology to retrieve information from customers, staff and also shareholders.

Protection of Intellectual Property

Protection of corporate intellectual property is a priority. The Singapore government has strict laws to prevent piracy in the country. This encourages business to produce and sell goods that entail valuable assets as they do not have to worry about company’s trademarks and patents. Therefore, by setting up a business in Singapore, businesses can be better protected with the intellectual property laws implemented.

Singapore has been progressing well in terms of economic growth and political stability. By providing the best investment environment, the country has become an attractive market for various businesses, due to the various benefits of setting up a business in Singapore.

What are the benefits of setting up a business in Singapore?

Singapore is ranked the number one city with the best investment potential in the world. Singapore has attracted many investors and entrepreneurs to invest and register businesses in the country as there are many benefits of setting up a business in Singapore.

The benefits of setting up a business in Singapore are as follows:

Political Stability

Singapore is a politically stable country without any foreign debt and relatively high government revenue. This has attracted potential entrepreneurs and international business to set up their business here in Singapore. As it is foreseen that Singapore will be stable for a long term basis, this implies that businesses will facing lower business risks and costs.

Also, businesses are able to draft out future business plans easily as they will not face difficulty in forecasting the industry and business trends in Singapore.

Pro-Enterprise Government

To be pro enterprise, the Singapore government has provided different types of business incentives to encourage locals and foreign investors to set up their businesses in the country.

For example, Singapore provides Productivity and Innovation Credit Claims for businesses to enjoy tax deduction or cash payout. This can help to reduce the heavy taxes and high expenses borne by a local company.

Low taxes

Also, Singapore has a low effective personal and corporate tax. Compared to Japan’s corporate tax rate of 38.01%, Singapore charges much lower tax rates of 17%. With a lower corporate tax contribution, business will benefit as they are able to earn a higher net profit in Singapore compared to other countries.

Skilled Workforce

Besides political stability, businesses can benefit by setting up companies in Singapore in terms of the high quality workforce available. As Singapore is a knowledge-based country, its labour force is well-educated and professionally qualified.

Companies will not have difficulty in employing highly skilled labour needed in the different sectors; especially so in the financial and economic sectors. They will also not face problems in searching for a qualified business partners when they are starting up a new company in Singapore.

Advanced technology and infrastructure

The technology and infrastructure of Singapore also makes it favorable for businesses. According to the 2012 Mercer Quality of Living Study, Singapore is ranked first in the world based on our infrastructure. Singapore now has a well-established infrastructure, as they have air, sea, land and telecommunication means available around the country to support any mode of transport for companies to overcome delivery and production difficulties.

The Singapore government not only seeks to develop the physical infrastructure, but to adopt up-to-date technology as well. Companies can benefit from the advanced technology as more businesses use information technology to retrieve information from customers, staff and also shareholders.

Protection of Intellectual Property

Protection of corporate intellectual property is a priority. The Singapore government has strict laws to prevent piracy in the country. This encourages business to produce and sell goods that entail valuable assets as they do not have to worry about company’s trademarks and patents. Therefore, by setting up a business in Singapore, businesses can be better protected with the intellectual property laws implemented.

Singapore has been progressing well in terms of economic growth and political stability. By providing the best investment environment, the country has become an attractive market for various businesses, due to the various benefits of setting up a business in Singapore.

 

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