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Setting Up a Company in Singapore as an Expat

Incorporation in Singapore

What is so good about setting up a company in Singapore? With its open market views, Singapore is primarily the easiest locale for an expat to start business among other developed countries. Its corporate tax is reasonable. It consists of diverse cultures from around the world. It is a region of talented workforce that is skillful at every job available.

With all the necessary requirements ready, it is relatively easy to set up a company in Singapore. An expat who is planning on applying to set up his company, enterprise, business branch or offices in Singapore must especially have an Employment pass which refers to a special pass so he can stay in the region and apply to do business in Singapore. This is particularly needed before his company can be incorporated. The incorporation of his legal company is made possible through its registration with the ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority) through BizFile, its filing system on the web.

It is always a must for an international company to have a resident director as well as a secretary. The secretaries and directors may be residents of Singapore, have an employment pass (EP) or a permanent resident. The period of time for the EntrePass to be obtained may reach up to 14 days and an additional written documentation is needed; however, it still depends on the type of company the expat is setting up. The forms and process for the EntrePass may be lengthy yet straightforward. However, to find someone to act as a guarantor as an assurance to the Singapore government that the expat does not leave the country with unpaid taxes is the challenging part although a business associate or a friend can be of help and offer to guarantee the foreign company monetarily regarding this matter.

The expat must be well aware of the importance of his CV, business plan, qualifications and work history to be included in his application form. The content in every document should be spelled correctly, clear and concise to make it easy for the reviewer to review the documentation and the expat could probably earn good points for that. Qualifications should be photocopied and the expat’s “work certifications” from his previous employers should be attached as well. The other significant aspect of starting a business in Singapore is that the reasons and the way an expat does his business in the country should be explained as well. While waiting for the EntrePass, setting up a fixed-term savings account is a good idea. He will then be given the Banker’s Guarantee letter, the template of which will come from the MOM (Ministry of Manpower). After waiting for generally a week, the expat then submits his guarantee, letter and passport to the MOM and after paying a little fee the expat receives his green card. The expat is then given one month to submit details of his new company to the MOM.


Learn How to Write your Business Plan here

What is amazing for those starting a business entity in Singapore is that its government provides incentives as well as assistance to some industries. The EDB (Economic Development Board) of Singapore has a list of development schemes and incentive to aid businesses, including different tax and financial incentives. SPRING Singapore for young start-ups provides start-ups assistance related to financing, capabilities as well as management development, innovation and technology, and access of the start-ups to markets. The EDB’s incentive schemes are primarily for certain top companies which can be found listed in the EDB’s website. How a certain industry benefits from the incentive depends on how strong the business application is and the merits the project has.

Singapore’s Free Trade Agreements with major global economies benefit the international firms in the country greatly since due to this the import tariffs are reduced. Another interesting fact about taxation in Singapore is that there are no capital gains tax imposed on businesses in Singapore.  What’s more is that there is actually no limit as to how many EPs (Employment Passes) a company, regardless of its size, can employ and the assessment of every EP application is based on its merit.

If however at some point in time an expat wishes to wind up his business in Singapore, he would need to notify the important authorities such as the IRAS (Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore), CPF (Central Provident Fund),ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority) as well as the licensing bodies. The ACRA website has all the information about closing down a business in Singapore.

Need more professional help?

Contact Paul and Hype Page Co. today.

We provide the following services:

  1. Instant online company registration in Singapore
  2. International tax planning and advice
  3. Professional company secretary service at affordable price

*For more details on filing Company’s annual returns, click here

Paul Hype Page & Co. is an ACRA-certified business adviser. Our team of seasoned professional can help you set up a company in Singapore very quickly and easily following all legal entities, and offer you sound advice on how to make it successful too.

In addition to business registration, we’ll also guide you how to:

  1. Write a business plan – Learn how to write a compelling business plan by accessing our sample business plans, or other helpful market research information
  2. Perform market research – Understand your business market, learn how it can enhance your business growth, and how to properly conduct a market research for your business
  3. Corporate Secretary Services – If you are registering a company in Singapore, you will need a Corporate Secretary. Corporate compliance in Singapore is a complex legal requirement for all Singapore registered companies. Our company secretarial team helps our clients and their officers to fulfil their statutory obligations in an efficient manner.
  4. Manage your finances – We’ll offer you the best resources and information to help you fully understand all financial concepts and teach you how to perform basic accounting tasks like budgeting, bookkeeping, financial analysis, among others

To further aid you, we have provided here a resource area with industry specific information and other industry resources to help you successfully start and run your business.

  1. Singapore Business Opportunities 
  2. Singapore Business Licences
  3. Singapore Tax Planning
  4. Singapore Company Incorporation
  5. Singapore Company Yearly Statutory Requirements
  6. Singapore Working Visa Guide

By Eric Eio
Managing Partner of Paul Hype Page & Co.

Eric was awarded an ACCA graduate in 2000 and also graduated from University of Sydney with a Bachelor degree in Computer Science & Accounting. Since graduation, he had worked in Big 4 as an auditor , including a one year overseas stint with Ernst & Young, Shanghai in 2005. He left his last appointment as an Audit Managerial position with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Singapore in 2008 before setting up his own Certified Public Accountant Practice – Paul Hype Page & Co. His firm is being selected to be one of the advisory panel for Singapore top 500 SME.