Guide to Company Incorporation in Singapore

Singapore is consistently ranked as one of the top places for business due to its robust economy, strategic location, and favorable tax environment. Incorporating a company in Singapore is an attractive option for entrepreneurs looking to leverage these benefits. This guide will cover everything from the initial steps to post-incorporation responsibilities, ensuring you have a thorough understanding of the process.

Why Incorporate in Singapore?

Economic Stability

Singapore’s political stability and strong economic policies provide a safe environment for investments and business operations.

Strategic Location

Situated at the heart of Southeast Asia, Singapore offers easy access to emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific region, making it a strategic base for companies aiming for regional expansion.

Business-Friendly Environment

The World Bank has repeatedly recognized Singapore as one of the easiest places in the world to do business, thanks to its efficient bureaucratic processes and strong legal framework.

Attractive Tax Regime

Singapore boasts one of the most favorable tax systems worldwide, with low personal and corporate tax rates, and significant tax incentives for startups and foreign investors.

Pre-Incorporation Considerations

Before starting the incorporation process, it’s important to address several key areas:

Choosing a Business Structure

The private limited company is the most common and preferred business structure in Singapore due to its credibility and limited liability.

Naming Your Company

The company name must be unique, acceptable to ACRA, and not infringe on any existing trademarks.

Defining Business Activities

Identify and define your business activities clearly, using the Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) codes, which will affect your licensing requirements and tax duties.

Shareholders and Directors

You will need at least one shareholder (which can be an individual or a corporate entity) and at least one resident director in Singapore.

Company Secretary and Registered Address

A company incorporated in Singapore must appoint a qualified company secretary within six months of incorporation and have a registered address in Singapore.

The Incorporation Process

Step 1: Approval of Company Name

First, secure approval for your company name via ACRA’s BizFile+ portal. This is usually processed within minutes unless the name needs to be reviewed by other authorities.

Step 2: Registration Documents

Prepare the necessary incorporation documents, including:

  • Description of business activities
  • Details of shareholders and directors
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association (now known as the company constitution)

Step 3: Register with ACRA

Complete the registration with ACRA through the BizFile+ system. If all documents are in order, the incorporation can typically be completed within a few hours.

Step 4: Post-Incorporation Formalities

After incorporation, there are a few more steps to be ready for business:

  • Opening a corporate bank account
  • Applying for necessary business licenses and permits
  • Registering for Goods and Services Tax (GST) if your annual turnover is expected to exceed S$1 million

Compliance and Ongoing Requirements

Annual General Meeting (AGM)

Hold an AGM within eighteen months of incorporation and subsequently once every calendar year.

Annual Returns

File annual returns with ACRA to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

Corporate Tax Filing

File annual tax returns with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). Engaging a tax consultant can help optimize your tax commitments.

Regular Compliance Checks

Ensure regular compliance with changes in the corporate regulatory environment in Singapore, which can affect your business operations and compliance status.


Incorporating a company in Singapore can provide a significant advantage for businesses looking to expand in Asia and globally, thanks to its strategic location, favorable tax environment, and business-friendly policies. By following the detailed steps outlined in this guide and keeping up with ongoing compliance requirements, entrepreneurs can set up a successful business in one of the world’s most vibrant economies.

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