Businesses have reached higher domains in the past couple of years. Several entrepreneurs have also come into the picture. They are expanding their businesses in their own country as well as in foreign countries too. You might be craving for some numbers. So, here goes the statistics. Singapore has been the leading the world in the world bank’s top list of the countries that have the first choice for business setup.
There may be several reasons for Singapore being on the top, but the most significant concern that governs the businesses in any foreign land is the set of compliance rules. Singapore has got a very straight forward set of rules that makes setting up any business in Singapore a brisk. The rules out there are entirely away from any unnecessary bureaucracy for that reason that small and mid-sized companies don’t suffer much. However, if you are planning to set up a new company in Singapore, then you must make sure that you follow all the essential guidelines. Following guideline is the very first step. If at all any directive is not followed then the authorities are liable to take strict actions. So, one must spend a considerable amount of time in comprehending all the rules and regulations related to taxation, licensing and data protection.
Let’s talk about all the necessary steps that one must follow to set up a business successfully in Singapore.
The first and the foremost thing that needs to be followed when you are setting up an office in Singapore, you ought to have a permanent registered address. The address would come in use as a continuous communication address. The company would receive all the emails and notices at the same address. As per the guidelines of the Singaporean authorities, the address should remain open for a period of at least three hours a day and it should stay free on every business day.
If you have shifted your business to Singapore and you don’t have any physical property, then you can choose to operate from a virtual office. Several vendors provide virtual office spaces. You need to pay for a monthly retainership, and they will help you to receive all your business letters and notices. They operate as a mail forwarding intermediator. In recent times, it is a fact that several organizations are opting for virtual office services than establishing their own office permanently.
If you are planning to set up an office in Singapore, then you need to have a director on board who belongs to Singapore. The Director should be a resident of Singapore. The guidelines don’t end here. The Director also needs to have the following requisites.
The company needs to appoint a secretary for the job. The company secretary has a significant role to be played according to the compliance rules and regulation of Singapore. Moreover, the office of the company secretary must not remain vacant for more than a period of 6 months. If the Director is not the sole Director of the company, then he or she can play the role of the company secretary. However, he/she should be a resident of Singapore.
The company should also follow every guideline related to the taxation rules as specified by the authorities. According to the companies act, all business must fulfil the annual filing requirements.
You have to pay for annual filings no matter whether your company is working actively or is in a dormant state. To maintain a good track record, you need to maintain compliance with the Singaporean authorities. It is essential for maintaining brand equity as well as reputed corporate governance. If all these things are taken care of, then your company won’t face any issue related to the brand name as well as you would not face any problem that would account for penalties and legal repercussions.
According to the guidelines specified, it is required for every company to determine its financial year-end. The year for financial institutions can be either on December 31 or March 31. The quarterly period would be on March 31, June 30, September 30 and December 31. It depends upon the company whether they follow yearly approach or quarterly approach.
The company also needs to appoint auditors to audit the company financial accounts. As per the rules, the company must appoint someone within a period of 3 months from the date the company has been incorporated. There are some instances in which a company is exempted from this maneuver. The cases are like:
If your company is involved in an import and export business, then your company needs to have a CR number.
Goods and Services Tax is a duty on the supply of goods and services in Singapore. It is also applicable to the import of goods into the country. However, products that are transported from Singapore and any international assistance that is provided from Singapore are exempt from paying goods and services taxes. The current rate of goods and services tax is 7%. Moreover, if the revenue of the company is more than S$1 Million, then the company needs to have a GST registration. The company ought to register for GST in thirty days from the moment it is deemed to be liable to pay the duties. The companies can apply for GST enrolment voluntarily, and if the controller in IRAS approves the application, then the businesses can apply for a GST registration.
The Companies Act necessitates every single business to have the Company registration number, acknowledged as Unique Entity Number (UEN), on all corporate letters, declarations of account, proof of purchase, certified official notices, publications, and many other materials.
It is the business’s accountability to up-to-date the Registrar (ACRA) about any variations in the company relating to the business’s stockholders, share capital and officers in the specified time. If things are not complete in the specified period, it will account to penalties.
The company must organize annual general meetings with a particular time frame at the end of each commercial segment. If your company is listed as a ‘Public Limited Company,’ then you need to have an annual general meeting within four months from the end of the financial year. If at all you are not a public limited company then you should complete the same within six months from the end of the fiscal year.
The company must follow specific guidelines as specified by the Singaporean authorities related to the employee hiring, maintain and terminating. If the company has a certain number of resident employees, then the company needs to contribute to the central provident fund.
Approximately some of the corporate goings-on in Singapore are subject to be regulated by administrative authorities. Even if your business firm has been listed, you cannot start the process if you haven’t received the necessary consent or certificate from the individual government establishments.
The company must first and foremost appoint a data protection officer. It is to be done to comply with the personal data protection act (PDPA) of the Singaporean government. Apart from this, the company must have Register of Directors, Chief Executive Officers and Secretaries, Register of Substantial Shareholders, Register of Controllers, and Register of Nominee Directors.
If the Director of your company has any other direct or indirect transaction with the company then, he must disclose it under the companies act. If at all the Director holds any other office of profit later it should also be published. The possessions in terms of land or property must also be known. The Director must also never use his discretionary powers to abuse any of the employees within the organization.
If the Director fails to comply with any of the compliances as mentioned earlier, then he is liable for a penalty of S$5,000 or a 12-month imprisonment term.