One important legal segment includes the government agencies that entrepreneurs have to deal with once they arrive in Singapore and register their business there.
Having and operating a business in Singapore has many benefits. The environment is great, the country is growing, and the economy is thriving. However, just because the conditions are obviously great, it doesn’t mean that one can just go there and set up a business without previously learning a bit about the legal side of things. Take a look below to learn all the important bits about government agencies you will surely have to work with if you want to start a business in Singapore.
Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, also known as ACRA, is a Singapore state body that belongs to the Ministry of Finance of the Singaporean Government. This statutory board was formed in 2004. It regulates the field of business entities, public accountants, and corporate service providers in the country of Singapore. Additionally, ACRA helps with facilitating the development of business entities and the public accountancy profession. Every individual that wants to register a company in Singapore will have to cooperate with ACRA, mainly during the incorporation process. Also, there is a website called BizFile, which was released by ACRA. On it, one can find all the necessary information regarding compliance issues.
The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, also known as IRAS, is the key tax administrator of the Singapore Government. IRAS covers the tax collection and the organization accounts for approximately 70% of the Government’s Operating Revenue. These funds support the country’s economic and social programs. The aim is to use the funds collected through taxes to stimulate the overall growth that would benefit the whole society. In addition, the IRAS represents the government in tax treaty negotiations. Furthermore, it drafts tax legislation and provides advice on property evaluation to the Government of Singapore. You will have to register all the Singapore tax requirements and these include individual income tax, corporate taxes, withholding taxes for non-resident companies, as well as goods and service tax.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is a ministry of the Singapore Government. It deals with the formulation and implementation of labor policies related to the workforce in Singapore. Up until 1998, this Government’s Ministry was known as the Ministry of Labor. This Ministry’s mission is to develop a productive workforce and progressive workplaces. Its aim is to provide better jobs and safe retirement for all Singaporeans. It is through the enablement of companies to provide great jobs that the Ministry intends to build a strong core for growth in the country. The foreign manpower is meant to complement the local workforce in order to achieve the best possible results. You will have to liaise with MOM when applying for Singapore work visas such as Employment Pass, S Pass, and Personalised Employment Pass.
Enterprise Singapore was formed from a merger of two Singaporean government agencies. These agencies are International Enterprise (IE) and SPRING. Enterprise Singapore is a one-stop agency that provides businesses support in the form of grants, loans and insurance, tax incentives, as well as non-financial assistance such as start-up hubs and business toolkits. This agency cooperates with trade associations and chambers to facilitate networking and knowledge transfer sessions for companies. Additionally, Enterprise acts as Singapore’s national standards and accreditation body. The purpose of this agency is to help promote the quality and safety of Singapore-made products and services. Enterprise Singapore also offers a dedicated Startup SG programme called StartupSG.
Many foreigners that have spent some time in Singapore are familiar with CPF. The Central Provident Fund (Board), is what Westerners would call a retirement system fund. The Central Provident Fund is designed to be a pension fund that helps Singapore residents and permanent residents fund living costs upon retirement. CPF contributions are made both by employee (through salary deductions), and employer at rates stipulated by the CPF Board. If you are looking to start your own business in Singapore, you should check the Employer’s Section of the CPF official website. This section has an online portal that can be used to register companies and employees under CPF along with guides on employer obligations with respect to CPF funds and their constituents.
For any professional wanting to know what the economic landscape in Singapore looks like, the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) can help out. The EDB is the statutory board of the Government of Singapore that plans and executes strategies to sustain Singapore as a leading global hub for business and investment. They look after all inbound investment enquiries and companies coming to Singapore. Business people who are researching the region for potential business ventures or just need more information about various industries usually find the answers they need at the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). EDB was designed to cooperate with international businesses to find growth opportunities in Singapore and the region within various industries. Additionally, this agency can help a business establish and deepen strategic activities within Singapore. This is usually done by offering various investment and set-up schemes that are created to help a business hit the ground running. Furthermore, EDB assists investors who want to move to Singapore through the Global Investor Programme (GIP). The program provides a route to apply and secure a permanent residence which guarantees benefits such as higher priority for schooling and loans.
Lastly, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) takes care of the Singaporean workforce. To be precise, when an investor establishes a business in the country, this agency is there to ensure that the right Singaporean workforce is employed. Keep in mind that hiring locals is a requirement for all businesses that wish to operate in Singapore. The government has set up SSG to ensure that its workforce is up-to-date and adaptable to trends in the marketplace. SSG facilitates lifelong learning, training, and development programs for the local workforce. Upon hiring, business owners have to consult SSG if they want to register for the SkillsFuture Development Levy (SDL). SDL funds are channeled towards the Skill Development Fund. This fund supports workforce improvement programs. It also provides grants for employers for accredited training courses.
There is no doubt that the agencies listed above will be a significant part of your business journey in Singapore. You will have to work with at least a couple of them if you want to set up and expand your business operations in Singapore. If you need any help, feel free to contact us. (Information provided by Sleek Singapore)