Need help registering a Sole Proprietorship?
Our experts at Hawksford can help
In Singapore, if you are engaged in any activity that is carried out on a continual basis for the purpose of gain, you must register a business (such as sole proprietorship, private limited company, or limited liability partnership). This guide provides information on registration of a sole proprietorship in Singapore.
To learn about various types of business entities in Singapore, refer to Guide to Business Structures in Singapore.
Sole proprietorship is the simplest form of business structure in Singapore. However, it is suitable only for very small single-owner type business that does not carry any risks. Unlike a private limited liability company, a sole proprietorship does not provide limited liability protection and your personal assets are not protected from business risks.
Sole proprietorship is not an option for foreigners. Foreign business professionals should incorporate a private limited company instead. For further details about private limited companies, refer to Singapore company registration guide.
In order to register a sole proprietorship business in Singapore, the following documents/information are required:
Registration procedure involves a) reserving the name; and b) registration of the business. The registration procedure is computerised and quick. Registration of sole proprietorship can be completed within 1 day, provided all the documents are lodged properly with due endorsements. However, if the name or the nature of business requires referral to another authority, it may take up to a few weeks. Examples of businesses that may be referred to relevant authorities include financial, media, educational services, etc.
To maximise chances of speedy name approval, make sure that it
Our experts at Hawksford can help
Once you have submitted the sole proprietorship business registration application and if everything is in order, the registrar will send an email notification confirming the successful registration along with the registration number. Singapore government does not issue a hard copy registration certificate anymore by default as the electronic copy is valid and acceptable in Singapore.
After you have received the email notification of successful registration, you can retrieve the business profile for your new Singapore sole proprietorship that contains important registration information. The original email notification of business incorporation along with the business profile are the two important documents that you will need in Singapore to open a business bank account, sign an office lease, obtain a business phone line, etc.
After registering the sole proprietorship in Singapore, a bank account can be opened in any of the several international, foreign and local banks in Singapore. The business can open separate accounts of various currencies or a single multi-currency account. The account opening procedure varies across the banks and most banks require the business owner to be present in person during account opening. Typically, the following documents will be required:
Sole proprietorship is the basic no-frill type of entity suitable for businesses with no or little negligible risk. This type of business entity essentially meets the statutory requirement to register all profiteering activities carried out on a continuous basis. Freedom from compliance formalities and undivided authority is a merit but also the limiting factor for potential growth and development. Due to the unlimited liabilities, we do not recommend sole proprietorship to business professionals. Instead, we recommend that they set up a Singapore private limited company.
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