List of Singapore Government Agencies Entrepreneurs Should Know

List of Singapore Government Agencies Entrepreneurs Should Know

Setting up a company in Singapore is relatively easy but can be a confusing process for entrepreneurs who may not be familiar with the local incorporation process. Before getting the green light to register your business in the city-state, you are required to submit certain documents to various government agencies.

Moreover, in case you have not noticed, some of Singapore’s government agencies offer incentives and schemes for startups and existing companies. As such, you need to know which agency is responsible for which schemes when applying for grants.

Singapore Government Agencies Business Owners Need to Know

Take a look below to find out which government agencies you should definitely work with if you want to start a business in Singapore.

 

Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)

 ACRA is the national regulator of business entities, public accountants, and service providers in Singapore. It is a Singapore state body that belongs to the Ministry of Finance of the Singaporean Government. This statutory board was formed in 2004.

ACRA’s primary responsibility is to maintain business registration and manage the profile of business entities, public accountants, and service providers in Singapore according to relevant laws. In addition, ACRA is also responsible for updating and promoting new changes related to business structure, compliance requirements, and other related matters.

In practice, ACRA is one of the Singapore government agencies that your business will cooperate with regularly. Therefore, you must submit an annual return to ACRA every year and immediately update any changes related to your business to the agency. In addition, you will also need to visit ACRA’s website frequently to keep up with the latest compliance requirements for companies in Singapore.  

In Singapore, entrepreneurs are advised by the government to engage professional corporate service providers to represent their companies to deal with ACRA. At Biz Atom, we provide corporate secretarial services to help you ensure your company’s compliance with ACRA and other government agencies. 

 

Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)

IRAS is a Singapore government agency with which you must register all Singapore tax requirements for your business, including:

IRAS covers tax collection that accounts for approximately 70% of the government’s operating revenue. Moreover, the agency represents the government in negotiating tax treaties, drafting tax laws, and providing advice on property valuation to the government. In addition to tax collection, IRAS supports the government in channeling various support grants to companies such as Jobs Support Scheme, Wage Credit Scheme, and Productivity and Innovation Credit. 

Annually, your business will need to file an Estimated Chargeable Income (ECI) and an annual income tax return with IRAS. For additional information about the company annual filing requirements with IRAS, refer to:

A Guide to Singapore Company’s Annual Filing Requirements

 

Ministry of Manpower (MOM) 

MOM is the governmental organization that oversees the country’s overall employment. The agency is not only tasked with regulating labor practices under the Employment Act but is also responsible for issuing work permits, including:

  • Employment Pass (suitable if you are a foreign manager or executive);
  • EntrePass (for foreign entrepreneurs who want to register a business in Singapore);
  • S Pass (for workers with mid-level skills (e.g., technicians) wishing to settle in the city-state);
  • Personalized Employment Pass (for any employee that is not a Singapore resident).

MOM is also the responsible authority for applications for the Dependent’s Pass and Long-Term Visit Pass for family members holding Singapore work visas. Moreover, MOM also has useful information and guidance on employment practices, workplace safety, and health requirements, as well as detailed statistics on employment in Singapore (such as employment rates, training facilities, and blacklisted vendors).

For more information about Singapore work passes, refer to:

A Complete Guide to Singapore Work Passes

 

Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB)

If you are researching the potential of your business in Singapore, or simply need more inside information about a burgeoning industry in Singapore, the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) is the Singaporean government agency you should consult.

EDB is the legal entity of the Singapore government that plans and executes strategies to maintain Singapore as a leading global business and investment center. They take care of all incoming and corporate investment inquiries coming to the country.

Moreover, EBD is in charge of many incentives and support schemes for specific industries in Singapore. These support schemes come in various forms, from grants (for research, training, and productivity) to tax incentives (for pioneering activities, industrial land efficiency, or corporate treasury). 

EDB also assists individual investors who wish to move to Singapore with the Global Investor Programme (GIP). The program provides a fast-track route to applying for and securing Singapore Permanent Residence (PR), which entitles them to benefits such as higher priority for loans and schooling.

 

Central Provident Fund Board (CPF)

CPF is a pension fund that helps Singaporeans and permanent residents fund living expenses after retirement. The agency also helps to address healthcare, homeownership, and asset enhancement, amongst many other issues.

CPF contributions are made by both the employee (via salary deductions) and the employer at a rate set by the CPF Board. The Board also provides information on company incorporation and issues related to employee recruitment such as compliance, MediSave funding, and more. For further information, visit their website here

 

Enterprise Singapore (ESG)

Enterprise Singapore (ESG) was formed from the merger of two Singaporean government agencies. These bodies are International Enterprise (IE) and SPRING. The aim of this government agency is to promote business development by providing financial assistance (grants, tax incentives, loans, and insurance) and non-financial assistance (business tools, talent attraction, and development, etc.).

ESG, in particular, puts more effort into nurturing startups through various grants, such as Startup SG Founder and Startup SG Tech. If you are setting up a new company in Singapore, particularly in the areas of technology and innovation, ESG’s grants can bring significant benefits to helping your business survive and grow in a competitive market.

 

SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG)

To ensure that Singapore’s workforce is up-to-date and adaptable to changes in the market, the government has established SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG). It is a Singapore government agency that provides and facilitates lifelong learning, training, and development programs for local employees.

Businesses hiring local staff are required to register for SkillsFuture Development Levy (SDL) with SSG. SDL funds are channeled into the Skills Development Fund, which supports workforce development programs. SDL funds also provide grants for employers to send their employees for accredited training courses in various specialties.

Furthermore, businesses with training and development branches in Singapore can also apply to SSG to become SkillsFuture certified training providers, which provides more opportunities for local employees to connect and network with new businesses. In addition, SkillsFuture also provides opportunities for new companies to offer internships and practical training programs to university and college students in Singapore.

 

Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)

MAS is the central bank of Singapore. It is also a national financial regulator working closely with Singapore’s financial industry to promote the developed country as a dynamic international financial center. In particular, MAS oversees all financial institutions in Singapore, including banks, insurers, capital market intermediaries, financial advisors, and stock exchanges. It is also responsible for well-functioning financial markets, proper conduct, and investor education.

As an industrial supervisor and advocate, MAS has also announced several beneficial schemes and incentives to help many areas of business, especially Fintech and Innovation. Some examples of Fintech schemes are the Financial Sector Technology and Innovation (FSTI) scheme, the Insurance-Linked Securities (ILS) scheme, and the Grant for Equity Market Singapore (GEMS).

 

Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA)

URA is Singapore’s national urban planning authority and legal entity under the Ministry of National Development. The authority’s main responsibility is to evaluate and provide planning approval for developments through our Development Control, Urban Design, and Conservation guidelines. These guidelines facilitate orderly construction and ensure that the construction is environmentally appropriate, in line with the long-term planning objectives for the site.

Entrepreneurs who are looking to set up home-based businesses can apply for URA’s Home Office scheme if they are eligible. For detailed information about the scheme, visit the URA’s website

 

Wrap-up

In addition to the government agencies that are directly related to the registration and business administration mentioned above, there are various other agencies that entrepreneurs need to know about. Most of these instances offer referrals and other services that businesses can take advantage of. Note that in order to set up and expand your business operations in Singapore, you will have to work with at least a couple of them. 

If you have any further questions about Singapore government agencies, feel free to contact us as we are always willing to help.

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