Top compliance tips for Singapore companies

If you are incorporating a new Singapore company, here are 13 important compliance requirements you’ll need to know.

  • You need to appoint a qualified resident* company secretary within six months of your Singapore company’s incorporation.

  • You need to provide a local, physical Singapore address as the registered address of the company. This address must be open and accessible to the public during normal office hours.

  • You need to appoint a minimum of one resident** director for your Singapore company, who needs to be at least at least 18 years old, not bankrupt, and free of any malpractice charges. An unlimited number of additional resident or non-resident directors can be appointed, subject to the same qualifications.

  • You need to appoint an auditor within 3 months from the date of incorporation. However, effective 1 July 2015, your Singapore company can qualify for audit exemption if you meet at least two of the conditions below in the last 2 FYEs:
    • Total annual revenue of no more than S$10 million
    • Total assets worth no more than S$10 million
    • No more than 50 employees 
  • If the projected or actual annual revenue of your Singapore company exceeds S$1 million, you’ll need to register for the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is known as Value Added Tax (VAT) or Sales Tax in other countries. GST-registered companies need to charge this tax (currently 7%) to their clients on the goods and services provided, and remit this amount to the tax authorities. For further details on GST, refer to our Singapore GST guide.

  • You may also need to obtain one or more business licenses before you can commence your Singapore business operations. Business activities under this category include restaurants, educational institutes, travel agencies, financial services and import/export-related industries. For more information on this, refer to our Singapore business licenses guide.

  • From 31 March 2017 onwards, you will be required to maintain a hardcopy or digital register of controllers** of your Singapore company, which must be physically accessible in Singapore. Learn more through this link.

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  • If you run a foreign company, you’ll also need to maintain a public register of members (and shareholders, if the company offers shares) on top of the register of controllers. Refer to ACRA’s FAQ page here for more information.

  • You need to keep necessary accounting records that can sufficiently explain the transactions and financial position of your Singapore company. These records need to be kept for at least five years after the related transactions have been completed.

  • The director(s) of your company need to disclose any material personal interest that is related to company affairs, as well as any information that is necessary to avoid a perceived or actual conflict of interest.

  • You need to lodge any changes in company particulars to ACRA within the timeframes allocated for that item. If you fail to update the particulars in time, you will incur penalties.

  • You need to publish your Unique Entity Number (or company registration number) on all official company correspondence.

  • You need to file your annual returns with ACRA and your annual tax returns with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). For further details, refer to our guide on annual filing requirements for Singapore companies.

*refers to a Singapore Citizen, Permanent Resident, or EntrePass/Employment Pass holders

** refers to individuals who exert significant interest or control in 25% or more of shares, profits, capital, and/or voting power in the company

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