Starting a company in Singapore is, undeniably, a pretty exciting prospect for both SMBs and large enterprises. For more than a decade now, the city-state has proven that it offers the most conducive business environment in the world. Just enough to support both local and international companies.
There’s just one caveat though. Incorporating a business in Singapore is not as simple as just filling up a form and submitting it. There are special requirements and costs that come with it.
So far, we’ve written a couple of guides on the requirements of each corporate structure. So, as a follow-up to that, this post goes into the accompanying costs to reveal how much you should expect to spend when you register a company in Singapore.
The registrar of companies in Singapore is the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). And as you’ve probably figured out already, it doesn’t review applications for free. Rather, it charges all types of businesses a fee for each stage of the incorporation process.
At the very least, you can expect to pay for:
So, all in all, if you’re wondering how much it costs to register a company in Singapore, the simple answer is at least S$315.
But, make no mistake about it. That barely scratches the surface, as S$315 only covers the application process.
For your submission to sail through, there are a couple of requirements you need to meet. Then after registration, expect more corporate compliance obligations on your company.
Combined, all these requirements introduce additional indirect costs to your overall bill. And to help you determine how much it’ll cumulatively cost to register a company in Singapore, here are three of the most critical factors to consider...
It just so happens that ACRA requires all registration applications to be accompanied by a registered address. This refers to the official local premises in Singapore from where your business will be operating. So, in short, you need to get yourself a valid office before you even apply for incorporation.
One way you can do this is, of course, renting commercial property in Singapore. A basic serviced office for 2-3 workers in Singapore’s Commercial Business District will cost you anywhere between S$2,000 and S$3,000 a month. What’s more, you’ll probably end paying an extra S$20-S$50 an hour every single time you use complementary amenities like conference rooms, meeting rooms, etc.
A good way to avoid all that, especially if you’re dealing with a web-based business, is registering the company as a home-based enterprise- with your residential address doubling up as the business address. Turns out this is allowed under the Home Office Scheme, but you have to first seek approval from the Housing & Development Board (HBD).
Another clever (and much cheaper) option here is proceeding with a virtual office address. The trick is to use your incorporation agent’s as your business address.
Apart from an office address, you’ll need a company stamp. This comes in handy when your company is handling official documents like compliance reports and statements.
That said, the cost of the company stamp itself depends on the type you choose to acquire. Self-inking and rubber stamps, for instance, are priced based on the complexity of your artwork. Stamp designers will invoice you for all the time they spend creating and detailing your company logo.
Generally, it takes about 1-3 days to make a standard company stamp in Singapore. The corresponding charges range between S$19 and S$40, with rubber stamps typically costing less than self-inking stamps.
However, if you choose to work with a specialized corporate service provider you can get the stamps faster and for much less.
Although you won’t be paying any taxes during the company incorporation stage, tax reporting is one of the most fundamental compliance obligations that come immediately after. Every single company incorporated in Singapore is expected to file its corporate taxes by the 30th of November (for hard copies), and the 15th of December (for e-filing).
It’s worth noting, however, that while the base corporate tax rate in Singapore is 17%, the amount you end up paying substantially depends on the approaches you take.
You should, for instance, calculate the due taxes from your profits instead of the combined business revenue. Additionally, you can significantly reduce the amounts further by strategically capitalizing on tax incentives and exemptions.
New companies, for example, can try out Singapore’s Start-Up Tax Exemption Scheme (SUTE), which offers tax cuts to support entrepreneurship. The first taxable corporate income of S$100,000 gets a 75% relief, while the next S$100,000 qualifies for a 50% discount, and so forth.
If your company is part of an international business, you might also want to leverage Singapore’s Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs). They’ll save you from paying corporate taxes across multiple countries at the same time.
From the look of things, there’s a broad array of factors to consider when it comes to setting up a company in Singapore. In the end, you can expect to pay not only for business name registration and company incorporation, but also for the accompanying business licenses, company stamps, corporate bank accounts, office premises, plus compliance filing (tax filing, AGM reports, annual returns filing, etc.)
The total cost here could span thousands of dollars every year. Or, you could cleverly save yourself the trouble and all the extra expenses by working with a seasoned corporate services provider like WealthBridge.