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If you own a business in Singapore or are considering starting one, you will interact with Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). Its rules and regulations govern all corporations in Singapore, aiming to make the 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).

Therefore, ACRA serves as Singapore’s registry of companies and businesses, implying that all company incorporation in Singapore must be submitted to ACRA.

Who is Registrar Body?

For a company to operate, it must employ officers. ACRA requires a chairman and members, totaling either 10 or 15.

Among these members, there should be one public accountant and one non-practicing accountant, both selected by the Minister from at least 2 nominated members.

What is BizFile?

BizFile is a system created to enable companies to make applications and submissions via an online portal, which is extremely convenient as it can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.

However, the only downside is that logins are restricted to individuals holding a SingPass account, a special electronic identity 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. SingPass, the previously widely used main login method, has since been replaced by it. 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

You can register a new company with ACRA through BizFile. The process requires the following information:

  • Details of what type of company it is

  • Before proceeding with registration, the intended company name must receive approval.

  • Key activities of the company

  • Details of the company directors: both foreigners, Singapore citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents can be company directors. To meet regulatory requirements, 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

You can register a new company with ACRA through BizFile. The process requires the following information:

  • Updating the registered address

  • Modifying 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. Moreover, a company not only incurs a late fee ranging from SGD $50 to $350 but also risks facing a fine of up to SGD $5000 for failure to notify ACRA. Additionally, both the company and its officers may encounter an additional default penalty.

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