Businesses in Singapore frequently transact with government authorities for matters concerning the entity. With various ministries and organisations that oversee and serve distinct functions, it may be confusing for those unfamiliar with Singapore’s business landscape.
Hence, we have compiled a list of the government agencies that most businesses communicate with.
Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)
The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) regulates business registration, financial reporting, public accountants, and corporate service providers. Business owners should be familiar with the statutory board when they register their entity with ACRA via Bizfile+.
Bizfile+ is essentially a secure database containing the business information of all Singapore-registered entities. The online portal simplifies the process for business owners to update and maintain their business records and facilitates annual return filing.
To ensure corporate compliance, ACRA has in place enforcement strategies for non-compliant businesses and individuals. Examples include fines, penalties, and an online platform to report alleged offences. In addition, by allowing the public to purchase selected company data from Bizfile+, increased business information transparency acts as a form of deterrence to compliance breaches.
Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)
As the tax administrator to the Government, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) oversees all tax-related matters in Singapore.
IRAS’s comprehensive website offers useful information on income tax and corporate tax for individuals and entities. It includes detailed explanations on taxable income, guides to filing tax returns, and the tax reliefs, deductions and rebates available. Information on tax residency, treaties, and arrangements are also specified.
Using IRAS’s myTax Portal, individuals and businesses can access digital notices, e-file transactions, or submit applications. Other digital services such as Goods and Services Tax (GST) registration, payment of Stamp Duty or e-stamping, can also be completed through the portal.
Ministry of Manpower (MOM)
Labour policies and matters related to the workforce come under the purview of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Businesses that wish to employ staff must adhere to MOM’s regulations.
Fundamentally, employers must ensure that their employment practices align with Singapore’s labour laws. Under the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Act, employers also have legal obligations to guarantee safety at the workplace by fulfilling stringent requirements. MOM’s website is updated regularly to reflect the latest guidelines.
Employers who wish to hire foreign individuals must submit the relevant work permit and work pass applications to MOM for approval. Eligibility and application procedures are listed on the website.
Aside from the above, MOM also conducts frequent surveys to compile up-to-date statistics and reports on the labour market. Such data will serve handy to job seekers and employers.
Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB)
The Central Provident Fund (CPF) is part of Singapore’s social security system for Singapore Citizens (SCs) or Singapore Permanent Residents (SPRs) to build sufficient savings for a secure retirement. The scheme is mandatory and controlled by the CPF Board (CPFB).
Both employers and employees must make monthly CPF contributions, where rates vary with the employee’s citizenship, age group, and wages for the calendar month. Employers must apply with the CPFB for a CPF Submission Number (CSN) and register their employees accordingly to submit CPF contributions. More details on CPF schemes, contribution rates and tools can be viewed on the CPF’s website and my cpf portal.
Enterprise Singapore (ESG)
To support the growth of enterprises and strengthen Singapore’s position as a global business hub, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) was formed in 2018.
The government agency provides financial and non-financial assistance for enterprises to build on their capabilities, innovate, and expand overseas. Through the provision of funding, partnership networks, digital tools, and professional guidance, both Singapore and foreign companies can tap on the schemes and programmes designed for every stage of their business journey.
To enhance the quality and competitiveness of Singapore-produced products and services, the ESG also serves as the national standards and accreditation body. It works with other agencies to determine and review Singapore standards under the Singapore Standardisation Programme.
Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB)
The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) is a government agency responsible for enhancing Singapore’s position as a global centre for business, innovation, and talent. It spearheads the planning and execution of economic and industrial development strategies for Singapore, with a focus on the manufacturing and tradeable services sectors.
Under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the EDB provides a list of incentives, schemes, and programmes for companies to leverage. This is done through the facilitation of investment, establishing partnerships, and supporting the growth of new ventures.
Valuable resources available on EDB’s website also include business insights and articles, market and industry reports, as well as key industry figures.
While there are numerous ministries and statutory boards in Singapore, the organisations listed above are the government agencies that most businesses transact with. More industry-specific authorities and ministries can be found on the Singapore Government Directory.