The decision to start a company or business venture in Singapore can truly be exciting, but it does come with an extensive list of requirements and application processes that have to be completed to comply with Singaporean regulations, one of which is a registered office address. This is specified under the Companies Act that every company undergoing incorporation must have a registered office address within Singapore to proceed.
What is a Registered Office Address
To properly define the term, it’s best to look at the following criteria that need to be satisfied for an address to be qualified as a registered office address:
- The address is where all communications and notices related to business operations are dealt with, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the place of operation. An example of this being that a company’s registered office address may be in Raffles Place but the company’s factory is located in Tuas.
- This address has to be made accessible to the public for at least five hours during regular business hours on every business day, with a business day being defined as any day excluding both Saturday and Sunday, as well as public holidays.
- The address has to be an existing office address located in Singapore
- The address cannot be a P.O. box address.
A company cannot proceed with the incorporation process without a valid registered office address as this address has to be inputted into the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority’s (ACRA) BizFile online portal. Not only will this address be where all your correspondences with government entities and banks will be sent, but it will also be recorded so that the public may visit should they have any questions, complaints, or concerns.
Key Considerations When Choosing a Registered Office Address
Aside from the requirements associated with a valid registered office address, there are also a few things that you need to consider when choosing one for your company:
- Location Reflects Your Business: Choosing an attractive office location will more likely appeal to potential investors and customers, especially if your business is located within a prestigious business district. Remember that the location that you choose also contributes to the identity and reputation of your company.
- Prices May Vary: Real estate prices and rentals may drastically vary depending on the desirability and quality of life of the office location you’ve chosen, but this can be seen as an investment into the success of your business venture.
- Multiple Companies Registered in One Address: Two or more Singapore businesses may be registered at the same office address as long as the address is valid, legal, and complies with the relevant regulations and laws. It’s also important to seek permission from the building management or property owner regarding this.
Also, remember that the registered and operational addresses vary from each other, with the former referring to the official address registered with the authorities and the latter referring to the location of day-to-day business activities. These may be the same or different, depending on the business setup.
- Going Virtual: Some Singaporean companies choose to use a virtual office to establish a registered office address, and this is an option, especially for company owners who are located overseas. A virtual office gives you a registered office address, as well as other additional services that may be useful. However, business owners can change this in the future if they wish to.
How to Change Registered Office Address
Many reasons can lead to amendments in a company’s details, one of which is a change in the registered office address. This may happen for one or more of the following reasons:
- A company that was previously registered under a virtual office address wishes to change this to a physically registered office address
- A company has changed headquarters and consequently needs to change the address of correspondence
- A company’s shareholders have decided to change the office’s address
- A company has expanded operations and needs to change locations
- A company address that was previously registered under a private residence address wishes to change to another registered office address
Fortunately, ACRA’s BizFile online portal has made this process much simpler and more streamlined:
- Step 1: This change of registered office address must be approved by the company’s board of directors. This can be done through the passing of a resolution during a board meeting.
- Step 2: Log into the portal and fill in a new request to change your company’s address within 14 days of the change.
- Step 3: Aside from the new address and the date of the change, you will also need to submit proof of the resolution and the director’s consent if applicable. This process may also come with some application fees.
- Step 4: Notify the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) about this change. This can be done with the myTax online portal.
- Step 5: Amend any official documents and websites with the new registered office address and notify any relevant individuals and parties such as your bank, clients, suppliers, and more.
It’s worth noting that companies and directors that fail to update their registered office address upon changing may be fined up to SGD5,000.
Home Address as Registered Office Address
If you’re looking to use your home address as the registered office address of your business, this can be done under the Home Office Scheme with either the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) or the Housing and Development Board (HDB). However, keep in mind that certain conditions must be met and maintained, such as the following:
- Owner, tenant, or any authorized individual of a private residence may register this address as their registered office address with either the URA or the HDB. Individuals may be authorized to do this on the owner’s behalf by acquiring written consent before registration. The registration process will incur some application fees.
- When using your home as your registered office address, you may only hire up to two non-resident employees for work. This includes employees, partners, and directors.
- While your private residence will be used for administrative purposes and other business operations, it must remain a place of residence at all times, which means that business activities need to be confined within this space, with ample consideration given to your neighbors and those living nearby.
- The business operated within the private residence must not be illegal, unlawful, immoral, or negatively affect the reputation, environment, or ambiance of the residential estate in any way.
- There must be no forms of solicitation that may disturb the other residents or the public. This includes but is not limited to the distribution of brochures and flyers, door-to-door visitations, the selling of physical goods within the residential premises, and the posting of advertisements, signages, or posters within the residential premises.
- Those affiliated with the business must observe all the necessary safety precautions to ensure that the business activities pose no harm or danger to human lives and properties.
- The electrical consumption and structural load imposed by business operations must not exceed the normal residential load. The storage and use of any dangerous chemicals or substances is strictly prohibited.
- The business still needs to comply with the relevant regulations in place, as well as obtain the needed licenses or approvals before starting. An example of which being the strict use of only authorized works, as dictated by the Planning Act.
- As mandated by the Fire Safety and Shelter Department, the following must be installed in the office area:
- At least an 8A or 34B ABC Dry Chemical Powder fire extinguisher can be found in DIY shops.
- A single-station smoke detector that is operated with batteries and doesn’t require any wiring. This is also available in DIY shops.
- Should the Home Office registration be canceled for any reason, the use of this address for business purposes will cease, especially when the conditions of these conditions are violated.
It’s also worth noting that only a few business activities are permitted under the Home Office Scheme:
- Accountancy services
- Architectural services
- Consultancy services (e.g. business, engineering, IT, management, or education)
- Design or advertising services
- Insurance or financial planning services
- Real estate agencies or services
- Technology-based and knowledge-intensive businesses
- Trading office (not including car trading)
On the other hand, the following are examples of business activities that are not permitted under the Home Office Scheme:
- Beauty, hair, or massage services
- Contractor business
- Car trading business
- Card reading, palm reading, or fortune-telling services
- Commercial school (e.g. dance, music, language, tuition centers, etc.)
- Courier services
- Classes on dressmaking or embroidery
- Clinics or pharmacies (e.g. dental, veterinary, ophthalmology, etc.)
- Food catering services or restaurants
- Funeral services
- Maid or employment agency
- Manufacturing, preparation, or processing of any products and goods
- Money lending business
- Repair activities (e.g. household appliances, electrical products, etc.)
- Sales or marketing services that involve seminars and talks for large audiences
- Shops or any form of retail activity
- Societies, clubs, or associations
Easy Incorporation with WealthBridge
The registered office address of a company is only one of the many items needed during incorporation, but it already comes with an extensive list of requirements and considerations. This could make the rest of the application process seem that much more intimidating and difficult, but it doesn’t have to be, especially when WealthBridge is here to help you through the entire thing!
With years of experience with different Singaporean companies across various industries, WealthBridge’s professional team of incorporation staff is well-equipped to help you with everything from start to finish so that you can make your dreams a reality.
Learn more about WealthBridge’s wide range of services by visiting the official website today!