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Entrepreneurs Guide: Here’s 5 Singapore Government Agencies You Need to Be Familiar With

Entrepreneurs Guide- A List Of Singapore Government Agencies You Need to Be Familiar With

The prospect of starting a business can be very exciting as you bring your ideas to life.

However, before you jump straight into it, it’s important to take note of the paperwork needed. There’s a lot of documentation and other administrative tasks that need to be completed when establishing a business.

While many entrepreneurs don’t look forward to these tasks, they are unavoidable. It helps to know which government agencies are to be approached and what assistance they can provide.

 

1. Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)

The first step in setting up a business in Singapore is registering it. Registration of businesses in Singapore is done through ACRA. This is therefore, the first government agency entrepreneurs will have to approach as they establish their business in Singapore.

Registration of businesses is done through BizFile+, ACRA’s online portal. The portal provides volumes of information about the incorporation process as well as requirements for registration.

Aside from business registrations, ACRA also provides businesses with ongoing support through their information center, Singapore Network Information Center (SGNIC). The center provides useful guides for businesses in a wide variety of areas including preparing and filing financial statements and filing annual returns. The center also provides registration services for companies seeking localized domains.

Visit their website here.

 

2. Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)

As an entrepreneur, you will also need to register their businesses with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). IRAS is the government agency that collects tax in Singapore.

You will also be in contact with IRAS for most cases relating to tax. This ranges from income tax to goods and services tax (GST).

It is important as a business owner, for you to ensure that your business is registered for all the relevant tax requirements. These may include:

  • Income taxes.
  • Corporate tax.
  • Goods and Services Tax.
  • Withholding tax.

 

Failing to meet all the required tax obligations can result in hefty fines or even closure of the business. However, understanding all the different tax obligations can be challenging for an entrepreneur.

IRAS provides businesses with comprehensive guides on a wide range of tax issues. Entrepreneurs can find various tax guides that are packed with information on their website. These include guides for taxable income, GST registration, how to report employee earnings and deductible expenses amongst more.

There is also a lot of information about other forms of taxes that apply to business owners as individuals such as property and shareholding taxes. The IRAS website also has resources on various tax schemes such as Productivity and Innovation Credit scheme and double tax treaties that entrepreneurs can take advantage of.

Visit their website here.

 

3. Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM)

Like all businesses, you will most likely hire employees once it is set up.

Entrepreneurs should make themselves familiar with employee related obligations, regulations and issues. The Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is the best government agency to approach for this.

MOM handles various aspects of employment including:

  • Applying for work permits and work passes.
  • Employment practices.
  • Workplace health and safety.
  • Employment practices and much more.

 

At MOM, they will process and issue applications for employment passes for employees that are not Singapore residents. They will also process Long-Term Visit and Dependent Passes for family members of employees with a Singapore work visa.

MOM is also a good source of information regarding the labor market in general. They provide information on income, unemployment and much more. This information can be useful to the company for market research.

Visit their website here.

 

4. Enterprise Singapore

SPRING Singapore, (The Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board) and International Enterprise (IE) came together in April 2018 to form Enterprise Singapore. This is a one-stop agency that provides enterprises with support in the form of loans, grants, tax incentives and insurance.

A good example of the financial support they offer is the Startup SG Founder grant launched in 2019. This is a program that provides entrepreneurs who have innovative business ideas with startup capital. The organization will match every $1 the entrepreneur raises with $3. The program also includes mentorship to improve the chances of success of the entrepreneur.

Enterprise Singapore is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs as well as established businesses. The agency works in close association with trade chambers and associations to encourage knowledge transfer and networking. The agency also plays the role of standards and accreditation body in Singapore. It helps to promote safety and quality in the manufacture of products and the provision of services.

Visit their website here.

 

5. Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB)

As a Singaporean, most of us would be familiar with the CPF, especially when we start earning our own keep.

This is a social security system that helps residents and permanent residents of Singapore save for their retirement. The agency also helps to address healthcare, home ownership and asset enhancement amongst many other issues.

CPF contributions are deducted from employee salaries by employers. The rates used for the deductions are based on the guidelines provided by the CPF Board. The CPFB provides guidance on employee contributions. The Board also provides information on setting up companies and issues related to hiring employees such as compliance, MediSave fund and much more.

Visit their website here.

 

Bonus Organizations To Know

 

6. SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG)

This agency was set up by the Singapore government to encourage life-long learning amongst Singaporeans. SSG facilitates training and development programs for local employees. The agency’s mandate is to ensure that the workforce in Singapore is up to date and can therefore, easily adapt to marketplace changes.

Businesses that hire local staff are required to register for the SkillsFuture Development Levy (SDL) with SSG. The money collected is channeled to the Skills Development Fund. This fund is used to facilitate programs designed to upgrade the workforce. The fund also provides grants to employers who want to send their employees for accredited training courses. A wide variety of specialties are covered under this grant.

Visit their website here.

 

7. Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB)

Entrepreneurs looking into opportunities for business and want some insider information on any industry in Singapore should get in touch with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).

This agency works with international businesses that are seeking to expand into Singapore. They also provide a wide variety of schemes to facilitate investment and set-up of new businesses. This ensures foreign investors can hit the ground running.

Under its Global Investor Program (GIP), EDB helps individuals who want to move to, and invest in Singapore. This program fast-tracks the process of applying for and securing Permanent Residence status. This allows foreign investors to gain access to various benefits such as schooling and loans.

Visit their website here.

 

Other Government Agencies

Aside from the government agencies that are directly linked to business registration and administration, there are various other agencies that entrepreneurs should get to know. These organizations can offer referrals and other services that businesses can benefit from. These include:

  • Council for Estate Agencies – This agency is important for identifying real estate agents when looking for a premise for a business.
  • Board of Architects (BOA) – This agency can provide referrals for professional architects and companies that offer architectural services.
  • Industry specific ministries – Entrepreneurs may need to seek registration with the ministry that regulates the industry in which their business operates. For example, businesses in futures exchange and other areas of finance will need the permission from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to register and operate within Singapore.

 

Interacting with government agencies is unavoidable. Learning which agencies to approach will help in making registration and administration tasks easier for the company.

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