7 government agencies that every business needs to know for setting up a company in Singapore

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One of the very first steps for foreigners to set up companies in Singapore is to submit all the required documents and papers to the relevant government agencies in Singapore. However, a lot of foreign business owners do not know much about these government agencies and their functions.

So, to help you get a better understanding of all the relevant government agencies in Singapore, Global Link Asia Consulting will introduce you to the 07 agencies that all enterprises need to know when setting up a business in Singapore.

Main content

1. Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) 

2. Central Provident Fund (CPF)

3. Economic Development Board (EDB)

4. Enterprise Singapore (ES)

5. Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)

6. Ministry of Manpower (MOM)

7. SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG)

8. Other Government Agencies Of Singapore

1. Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)

Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority or ACRA is the very first and most well-known government agency that all business owners have to work within the process of setting up a business in Singapore.

Via Bizfile, the web portal of ACRA, enterprises can register to set up a company in Singapore, which only takes one or two days to complete the registration.

Apart from assisting in setting up companies, ACRA also offers advice for business owners on specific business models, legal information, as well as local domain address register service (com.sg or .sg) via Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC).

2. Central Provident Fund (CPF)

Central Provident Fund (CPF) is the pension savings for working Singaporeans and permanent residents, which funds living expenses after retirement. CPF is contributed by both the employees (through payroll deduction) and employers at the regulated rate by the CPF Board. The “Employer” option at the official website of CPF offers:

A web portal to register CPF for companies and employees.

Guidance on the responsibilities of the employers towards CPF and its associated funds (for example, MediSave fund for healthcare).

3. Economic Development Board (EDB)

The Economic Development Board (EDB) is the agency that provides information on the emerging industrial sectors, as well as information for enterprises researching business opportunities in Singapore.
SDB works closely with international businesses to create development opportunities in various fields for start-ups, establishing and enhancing strategic actions in Singapore by offering series of investment projects to help the emerging businesses in Singapore.

EDB also assists individual investors wishing to relocate to Singapore on Global Investor Programme – GIP. This program designs development plans for the investor to execute and secure Singapore Permanent Residence status (PR), granting benefits such as loans and education.

4. Enterprise Singapore (ES)

Enterprise Singapore or ES is a statutory board merged from two Singapore Government agencies - International Enterprise (IE) and SPRING Singapore. ES offers various services, including supporting enterprises through grants, loans and insurances, tax incentives, and also non-financial assistance in the form of start-up centers and business tools.

ES partners with associations and chambers of commerce to lay the groundwork for knowledge exchange and networking sessions for businesses. ES also functions as a national accreditation body of Singapore to improve the safety and quality standards of Singapore products and services.

5. Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)

Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) is the tax administration agency of Singapore. Singapore companies are obliged to declare all taxes related to their business activities. Some of the main tax types are:

  • Corporate Income Tax,
  • Withholding Tax,
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST),
  • Personal Income Tax

Moreover, IRAS also provides useful information on other tax types for people residing and working in Singapore. For instance, tax on property or shares, taxes on charities and non-profit organizations, etc.; and information on the Double Tax Avoidance Agreement between Singapore and other countries.

6. Ministry of Manpower (MOM)

MOM or Ministry of Manpower is a government organ administering all the issues relating to residence and employment. Therefore, enterprises operating in Singapore must apply for work passes from MOM, for example:

  • Employment Pass
  • S Pass
  • Personalized Employment Pass
  • EntrePass

MOM is also in charge of processing visa applications for work, study, or living in Singapore and Long term visit pass or Dependent pass for family members of working visa holders in Singapore.

Besides processing visa applications, MOM also provides useful information and guidance on labor employment, health, and safety requirements at workplaces, as well as detailed employment situations of Singapore (for example, employment rate, blacklist of training centers and employers).

7. SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG)

To ensure the abundance and adaptability of the Singapore workforce, the Singapore government established SkillsFuture - SSG, the agency providing and assisting life-long learning, training, and developing programs for local employees.

When hiring any local employees, business owners must refer to SSG to register SkillsFuture Development Levy (SDL). SDL funds will be transferred to Skills Development Fund to aid labor resource improvement programs. SDL funds also offer grants for employers to send their employees to certified training courses in different fields.

Businesses with training and development branches in Singapore can also register with SSG to be certified SkillsFuture Training Providers, offering local employees better networking opportunities with new enterprises.

In addition, SkillsFuture opens up opportunities for new businesses to organize practical internship and training programs for students in universities and colleges.

8. Other Government Agencies Of Singapore

Apart from these seven government agencies, when starting a company in Singapore as a foreigner, business owners should also learn about Singapore consulting agencies in specific fields:

  • Board of Architects (BOA): regulates companies providing services in architecture and professional architect employment.
  • Council for Estate Agencies: regulates the real estate agency industry.
  • Majlis Ugama Islam of Singapore (MUIS): administrates enterprises with Muslim-related names or “Muslim” or “Halal” words in their names.
  • Ministry of Defence: regulates companies providing services related to military or national defense.
  • Ministry of Education, Private Schools Department: governs companies with “school," "learning center", "education center", or “training center” in their names.
  • Ministry of Law: oversees companies providing legal services.
  • Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS): is the central bank and financial regulatory authority of Singapore, business owners must obtain MAS permits to set up new companies in the financial sector, stock market, future stock exchanges, clearinghouse, insurance, and property management. However, the regulations can be relaxed for fintech companies set up in Singapore under MAS experimenting program.
  • Professional Engineers Board (PEB): engages in professional engineering services and employment.
  • Singapore Police Force: regulates companies dealing in arms and explosives.
  • Singapore Tourism Board: regulates companies using Merlion symbols or names as travel agents.
  • Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants: regulates companies providing accounting services.
  • Ministry of Health (MOH): oversees hospitals, health centers, clinics, surgeries, or healthcare facilities.
  • Registry of Co-operative Societies: administrates Co-operative Societies registration.

For individuals or enterprises deciding to set up business in Singapore, it is of vital importance to learn and categorize the functions of Singapore government agencies. However, it is hard to do so without experience in dealing directly with these government agencies, which may result in difficulty in setting up a business in Singapore. Therefore, the reasonable and necessary solution is to rely on business consultants with a profound understanding of Singapore agencies and their operation procedures.

Global Links Asia Consulting Company - a consulting firm specializing in offering ONE-STOP solutions for every business in every level of your business development - is ready to support your business with the following services:

With our one-stop solutions, we pride ourselves on being a trustworthy partner - working directly with major notable banks such as OCBC, DBS, UOB, Standard Charter Bank, ANZ, etc and international payment gateways such as PayPal and many other partners. With many years of experience working in this industry and having supported many companies, Global Link Asia Consulting are confident to bring the best quality of our services to all clients.

Contact us now:

  • Vietnamese Hotline(+84) 0938 531 588 (Call/ Skype)
  • Singaporean Hotline: (+65) 3163 4102 (Call)
  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This article was written by Global Link Asia Consulting Pte. Ltd. and was first published on https://www.globallinkconsulting.sg/ on 16th September 2021. Its copyright belongs to Global Link Asia Consulting Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. You may not, except with our express written permission, copy, modify, commercially distribute or exploit the content.

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