Upon registration of a business entity, there are several matters that business owners must ensure before commencing operations.
While most will shift their focus to business operations, it is crucial to address post-incorporation matters in the initial phase of business. Neglecting these matters may result in catching up with subsequent compliance or statutory concerns, potentially setting back business plans due to disruptions or delays.
In this article, we cover some of the general requirements that newly registered entities must fulfil.
Licenses and Approvals
Businesses may have to obtain licenses and permits from government agencies before they can register the business or conduct business operations. The type of licenses or permits, and the fees involved, will depend on each industry and the nature of business activities. It is the responsibility of business owners to verify if they require such approvals.
To find out more about the licenses and permit needed and how to apply for them, visit the GoBusiness Licensing website.
For online transactions with Government agencies, businesses must register for a CorpPass account. CorpPass serves as a corporate digital identity for the business and must be used to authorise or authenticate business to government transactions.
Entities issued with a Unique Entity Number (UEN), including foreign companies operating in Singapore, may register or activate their CorpPass account on the CorpPass website.
Corporate Bank Account Opening
It is recommended for companies to set up a corporate bank account before business transactions take place. A corporate bank account helps to mitigate liability risks and allows a company to better manage its finances.
Most banks in Singapore offer multiple corporate accounts, distinguished by features such as multi-currency, internet banking, credit cards and financing options. The expected volume and type of company transactions will determine the most suitable account for a business.
To assists our clients with Corporate Bank Account opening, Advenz provides our clients with advice on the best corporate account options and connects them with our partners from various banks. Do note that bank account opening is subject to the bank’s approval.
Company Registers and Share Certificates
Under the Companies Act in Singapore, all companies must maintain a list of registers as part of the company’s administrative records. Limited liability partnerships (LLPs) and foreign companies in Singapore must also adhere to these statutory requirements.
The standard registers to be kept include:
• Register of Members
• Register of Directors, Secretaries, Auditors, and CEOs
• Register of Registrable Controllers (RORC)
• Register of Nominee Directors
Each register must record the requested information stated in the Companies Act. Companies must also maintain the same information in their electronic register with ACRA by lodging any changes with ACRA via Bizfile+ within 14 days.
Aside statutory books, it is mandatory for companies to issue share certificates to all its shareholders. A share certificate is a legally-binding document that certifies the number of shares each shareholder owns within the Company.
Foreign business owners who wish to manage their business operations while residing in Singapore will only be allowed to do so with valid approval from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
Work passes for professionals include Employment Pass (EP), EntrePass, and Personalised Employment Pass (PEP). Eligibility will differ based on the applicable pass. Foreigners can engage the help of the employer, a third party, or an employment agency to assist and submit their work pass application to MOM.
Advenz has assisted numerous foreign clients in preparing and submitting their work pass applications. Kindly note that all work pass application approvals are subject to MOM’s discretion.
Government Service Tax (GST) Registration
Business owners may choose to register their entity for GST. GST registration is compulsory if the entity’s taxable turnover is more than $1 million at the end of the calendar year or is estimated to be more than $1 million in the next 12 months.
For voluntary GST registration, a business must meet the requirements and conditions set out by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) and remain GST-registered for at least 2 years. They must also fulfil prerequisites before registration and ensure that the benefits outweigh the costs of registering for GST.
As an Accredited Tax Practitioner (Income Tax & GST), Advenz assists businesses with GST registration and other GST filing services.
Central Provident Fund (CPF) Account
Businesses who wish to employ Singapore Citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents must contribute a fraction of the employees’ monthly salaries to their Central Provident Fund (CPF) accounts. CPF contribution rates will vary with the employee’s citizenship, age group, and total wages for the calendar month.
To submit CPF contributions, an employer must apply for a CPF Submission Number (CSN) with the CPF Board.
We have shared the basic statutory and regulatory requirements that new businesses must comply upon establishment. As the business progresses, business owners need to stay updated with the various requirements across different business functions (accounting, corporate secretarial, tax, business support).
Engaging a professional can help to alleviate the administrative and time costs to navigate and ensure business compliance. Reach out to our team to find out how we can assist you!