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If you own a business in Singapore, or considering starting a business in Singapore, you will be interacting with Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). Any corporation in Singapore is subjected to its rules and regulations, designed in hopes of making this country the best place for business to thrive and flourish.

What is ACRA?

Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), is the statutory board that oversees the regulation of companies and public accountants in Singapore. It is also responsible for facilitating the development of companies, and can impose composition fines and issue court summons to companies that default on compliance requirements under the Companies’ Act. Another term for ACRA that foreign countries often use would be the Registrar of Companies (ROC).

Hence, ACRA can be seen as Singapore’s registry of companies and businesses – this means all company incorporation in Singapore must be submitted to ACRA.

Who is Registrar Body?

In order for a company to operate, officers must be employed. For ACRA, there needs to be a chairman and members that amount to 10 or 15.

Of the above members, it should include one public accountant and one non-practicing accountant. Both of these are chosen by the Minister from at least 2 nominated members.

What is BizFile?

BizFile is a system that was created for the purpose of allowing companies to make applications and submissions via an online portal. This is extremely convenient as BizFile can be accessed from anywhere as long as one has access to an internet connection.

The only downside is that logins are only allowed for individuals holding a SingPass account. This is a special electronic identity that is only given to Singapore citizens and permanent residents.

Foreigners can still apply for an ACRA BizFile, but only if they hold either of the following passes:

  • S-Pass

  • EntrePass

  • Dependent Pass

  • Long-Term Visit Pass-Plus

  • Singaporean Work Permit

In recent years, the Singapore Government has launched digital ID for business entities known as CorpPass. It has since replaced SingPass, which was previously widely used as the main login method. Having said that, foreigners need to engage a corporate service provider to access BizFile+ to complete any transactions.

According to ACRA’s regulations, all companies must complete all company registration statutory obligations and ongoing compliance requirements in the Companies Act. The following list are common tasks:

  • Register a company in Singapore

  • Register a foreign company’s branch office in Singapore

  • File annual return annually for every company

  • Notify the accounting and corporate regulatory of any changes to the business address, company structure, and particulars of office and members.

BizFile details needed for company incorporation

Registration of a new company with ACRA can be done via BizFile. The below information is required:

  • Details of what type of company it is

  • Intended company name: The name of the company must be approved before proceeding to registration

  • Key activities of the company

  • Details of the company directors: both foreigners, Singapore citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents can be company directors. A company needs at least one director who is a Singapore citizen, Employment pass holder or permanent resident. If there are no resident directors, you can engage a nominee director.

  • Details of contributors or shareholders (individual or corporate)

  • Share capital

  • Registered address (a locally registered Singapore address)

Notify ACRA on company changes

Registration of a new company with ACRA can be done via BizFile. The below information is required:

  • Change in registered address

  • Change in business activities

  • Appointment or removal of a company officer

  • Change of personal information of an officer and/or member

  • Certain ordinary resolutions and special resolutions passed by the company.

A failure to notify ACRA within the stipulated time frame of 14 days results in a breach of the Companies Act and a company can face penalties for this. Not only will a company accrue a late fee of SGD $50 – $350, it might face a fine of up to SGD $5000 for failure to notify ACRA. Furthermore, the company and its officers can also face an additional default penalty on top of these.


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