Please enter your username and password here:Forgot Password?
Please enter your details here:or Login
Singapore came first in the World Bank’s 2015 Ease of Doing Business survey, and near or at the top of most other rankings. This is because the government has made every effort to make starting and running a business in Singapore as easy as possible. There is a wealth of information available, including the government’s own Enterprise One site, which is an excellent place to start. Nevertheless, for best results, make sure to do thorough research and start planning well in advance!
Setting up a representative office, which establishes a company’s presence, is also quite a painless procedure in Singapore. For more details, see the Enter Singapore Business website.
If you want to start your own business in Singapore, the first step is to ensure you have the legal right to live and work in the country. There is no need to be a Singaporean resident to register a business in the country. However, If you want to be involved in the day-to-day running of a company, you will need to obtain an employment pass or an EntrePass. In addition, you will soon find that you need a SingPass to be able to function properly in the country.
A top-quality business plan will give you the best possible launch into the highly competitive Singaporean market. Moreover, potential investors and business partners will often insist on seeing a business plan. To start writing one, you must first ensure you have a clear view of what it is you want to do, and how feasible this business idea is. You will need to research the businesses that already operate in your field in the local area, and determine your potential customers and partners. Additionally, you should think through your best financing options.
Based on your research, you should be able to fill out your business plan to around 3-5 pages. The full plan should set out your business objectives, target market and commercial strategy, and include financial projections and potential obstacles. For further guidelines and sample business plans see the government’s Enterprise One site.
Another important step is to decide which legal structure your business will adopt. This will determine the benefits you enjoy and the nature of your legal, financial and tax obligations. The most common business types in Singapore are sole proprietor and the various types of partnership.
There are three types of ‘partnership’ business structure in Singapore: partnership, limited partnership and limited liability partnership. Firstly, partnerships can be owned by two to twenty individuals or companies. As with sole proprietors, profits are taxed at the personal income tax rate. The partnership is not a legal entity; all partners are personally liable for any debts and can be made liable for other partners’ debts too.
Limited partnerships are similar to partnerships, except that there is no limit to the number of partners, and there are two types of partner: general and limited. A general partner usually manages the business, is personally liable for debts and can be sued. Limited partners are not personally liable and can take part in the business or not as they choose. Note the general partners do not need to be registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA – see below), though limited partners do.
The limited liability partnership is somewhat more corporate; it is regarded as a legal entity and liability is limited for all partners. The partnership’s income is taxed at the corporate tax rate, which individual income is charged at the personal income tax rate.
The other legal structure in Singapore is the company. This comes in two forms: private with up to 50 owners or public with an unlimited number of owners. The company must have at least one shareholder and director. Setting up a company requires longer than the other types as more procedures are required.For more information on all these different legal structures, see this Enterprise One page. This website also gives advice about business structures and many other business-related matters, as does Bizfile.
Once the above stages are complete, you should be ready to start setting up your company. At this point, you may want to consider hiring a lawyer or an accountant to help you, though as setup and registration is relatively simple in Singapore, it is feasible to do it yourself.
You will need to register your business at the ACRA. For details of the individual steps of registration, see this Enterprise One page. The registration fee is from S$300 to S$1,200. After this, you will have to register for corporate income tax or personal income tax, depending on your business structure. To read more about tax for expats in Singapore, see Taxation.
Sections in EMPLOYMENT AND BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE:
» Finding a Job, CVs, Interviews and Etiquette for Expats in Singapore
» Work Culture and Labour Market for Expats in Singapore
» Expats Owning and Operating a Business in Singapore
» Business Groups, Associations and Networking for Expats in Singapore
» Business Taxation for Expats in Singapore
We value input from our readers. If you spot an error on this page or have any suggestions, please let us know.
If you are considering moving to Singapore or are soon to depart, you can find helpful information and advice in the Expat Briefing dedicated Singapore section including; details of immigration and visas, Singaporean forums, Singaporean event listings and service providers in Singapore.
From your safety to shopping, living in Singapore can yield great benefits as well as occasional drawbacks. Find your feet and stay abreast of the latest developments affecting expats in Singapore with relevant news and up-to-date information.
Working in Singapore can be rewarding as well as stressful, if you don't plan ahead and fulfill any legal requirements. Find out about visas and passports, owning and operating a company in Singapore, and general Singaporean culture of the labour market.
About | Useful Links | Global Media Partners | Media | Advertising And Sales | Banners And Widgets | Glossary | RSS | Privacy & Cookies | Terms And Conditions | Editorial Policy | Refer To A Friend | Newsletters | Contact | Site Map
Important Notice: Wolters Kluwer TAA Limited has taken reasonable care in sourcing and presenting the information contained on this site, but accepts no responsibility for any financial or other loss or damage that may result from its use. In particular, users of the site are advised to take appropriate professional advice before committing themselves to involvement in offshore jurisdictions, offshore trusts or offshore investments. © Wolters Kluwer TAA Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.
The Expat Briefing brand is owned and operated by Wolters Kluwer TAA Limited.