5 things to know to setting up a company in Singapore as an expat

Singapore is a lucrative country to invest, especially since it has been declared as one of the most rapidly growing economies of the world. This is especially lucrative to an expat, who can invest with new innovations in this market, without fearing too many regulations.  Tags such as ‘one of the least corrupt countries in the world’ and ‘one of the most pro-business countries in the world’ make Singapore an ideal investment destination. Is Singapore on your mind as a future destination for your capital? Look no further. We have compiled a short list of things to do before setting up a business as an expat in Singapore.

  1. Applying for the EntrePass

This is a must for any expat to set up his/her business venture, enterprise or business branch. This is a type of visa, special pass that will allow him/her to stay in the region so that (s)he can apply for conducting business in Singapore. This allows you to be actively present in the region as you set up your business. There are some requirements to be fulfilled before you can make the cut.

  1. The choice of your business must be a Private Limited Company. You must also have it registered as such.
  2. Not more than 30% of all shares can be in your name.
  3. A SGD 50,000 paid-up-capital must be available for your company.
  4. There should be at least a difference of 6 months prior to the application of Entrepass and the registration of the company.
  1. An Employment Pass is to be obtained for the resident director and the secretary

Since it is a necessity for an international company to have them residing in the country of business the EP is needed for both the resident director and the secretary.  The importance of the expats CV, business plan, qualifications and work history cannot be overemphasised. Include them in the application form as well.

  1. Procedures before the ACRA

The registration process is simple and short so long as you take care of the following points beforehand:

  1. Adhere to the eligibility requirements
  2. Check if the name of your company is available with The Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC)
  3. Each business in Singapore has a Singapore Standard Industry Classification (SSIC) code. Find it for you company.
  4. Locate a suitable place for your business.
  5. Get the required licenses and permits for the business
  6. In case you need help with the process hire a professional
  1. Registering for ACRA.

Follow these steps to form a company in Singapore

Once the entrepreneur registers with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), his/ her legal company is set up through a web-based filing system, BizFile.  Registering will cost you about SGD 300 – SGD 1,200, plus SGD 15 for the approval of your business name. The businessperson can set up the business based on the following business structures Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), Limited Partnership (LP) and Company. You need to turn to two local agents, who are legal residents of Singapore to act on your behalf while starting a business in Singapore.

  1. Taxation

Any income received in Singapore is subject to its income tax. This is subject to the business the expat has set up as well.  There are special taxes that business owners have to bear with along with the usual. They include Goods and Service Tax (GST). This is levied on the import of goods and services. Each type of good or service has a particular tax rate that is based on certain criteria. The following are the tax rates that are levied on the basis of the type of goods:-

  1. Income Tax: depending on the type of business
  2. Goods and Services Tax (GST): 7%
  3. Withholding Tax: 10-20% (depending on the purpose)
  4. Property Tax: 10%
  5. Stamp Duty: depends on the value of your transaction

It is not a bad idea to seek professional help to deal with all the financial issues. A good accountant will surely reduce several forms of hassles one deals with such businesses in Singapore.

Now that you have the required tips, get going! Singapore won’t wait for anyone, so what is stopping you from doing your best todo well? Good luck with the new business.


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