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Guide to Register Singapore Branch Office in 2024

Guide to Register Singapore Branch Office in 2024

Foreign companies can set up a branch office in Singapore by adhering to certain requirements. Registering a Singapore branch office allows foreign companies to establish a presence in the country and engage in business activities. This can help these companies expand their global reach and tap into the thriving economy of Singapore.

Are you a foreign company looking to expand your business operations into Singapore? Look no further, as registering a branch office in Singapore is the perfect solution for your needs. This article will provide you with all the necessary information and steps to successfully set up a branch office in this dynamic and thriving city-state.

Register a Branch Office in Singapore

What is a Branch Office in Singapore?

A branch office in Singapore is an extension of a foreign company that operates in the city-state. Unlike a subsidiary, a branch office is not a separate legal entity from its parent company.


What Are the Pros and Cons of a Branch Office?

Benefits of a Branch Office

Some benefits of setting up a branch office include:

  • The parent company retains direct control over the branch office’s operations
  • Establishing a branch office can be more affordable than a subsidiary company
  • The branch office can also leverage the brand reputation of the parent company

Drawbacks of a Branch Office

Of course, a branch office also has several disadvantages. They are:

  • A branch office is considered a non-resident company for tax purposes, so it does not qualify for existing tax incentives, grants, and exemptions
  • Since it is not a separate legal entity, its debts and liabilities will be passed on to the parent company

How to Register a Branch Office in Singapore

Foreign companies must engage a registered filing agent, such as InCorp, to register a branch office in Singapore. They must have a local representative present in Singapore, who is a Singapore citizen, a Singapore permanent resident, or an Employment Pass (EP) holder.

The branch office must also have a local registered office address that is not a P.O Box.

Here is a step-by-step explanation of the setup process:

Step 1: Name Application and Approval

The Singapore branch office must have the same name as the parent company. The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) must approve of the name before it can be registered. A name application may be rejected if:

  • It is similar to another existing company’s name
  • It contains names or trademarks similar to established names of entities such as Coca-Cola or Temasek Holdings

Step 2: Prepare and Submit Required Documents

Before the application, you should prepare these necessary documents for submission:

  • The approved parent company name
  • The parent company’s address outside of Singapore
  • A certified copy of the parent company’s certificate of incorporation
  • A certified copy of the parent company’s constitution
  • A register of the directors of the parent company
  • The personal particulars of the authorised local representative
  • A statement of consent from the local Singapore resident who will act as the local representative for the branch office
  • A copy of the parent company’s audited financial statements
  • A notice with the following information:
    • The parent company’s registration number
    • The type of business performed by the foreign company
    • The parent company’s legal structure

After the documents have been provided to the registered filing agent, the branch office will be successfully registered, with the process taking as little as 20 minutes.


Branch Office Post-Incorporation Essentials to Note

Once the branch office has been successfully registered, there are a few key essentials to note in order for it to operate smoothly and legally within Singapore.

Annual Filing Requirements

A branch office must comply with the annual filing requirements as prescribed by ACRA and the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (ACRA). The requirements include:

  • Prepare Financial Statements: All Singapore branches must prepare audited profit and loss statements as well as an audited statement showing their assets used in and liabilities arising out of their operations in Singapore, complying with the Accounting Standards (Singapore Financial Reporting Standards, or FRS). Financial statements must be submitted within 60 days of the parent company’s annual general meeting (AGM).
  • File Estimated Chargeable Income (ECI) With IRAS: A Singapore branch office must declare its revenue and ECI with IRAS within three months of its financial year end (FYE). The ECI is the revenue created by the branch after deducting items like capital gains and the disposal of fixed assets.
  • File Annual Corporate Income Tax With IRAS: A Singapore branch office must file annual corporate income tax returns with IRAS. Taxes are calculated based on a preceding year basis, which means that they are calculated using income figures from the previous year. They must file income taxes with IRAS by 30 November of every year.

Taxation

Singapore levies taxes on the profits that a branch office earns. As mentioned above, branch offices in Singapore are considered non-resident. Apart from being unable to benefit from the tax incentives, grants, and schemes, they do not qualify for tax exemptions on certain foreign-sourced income and are ineligible for double taxation relief under Singapore’s extensive network of Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs).

Business Licenses and Permits

Certain types of businesses in Singapore can only be carried out with a business license or permit as they are regulated by the relevant government authorities. Some examples include childcare centres, financial institutions, money lenders, travel agencies, and liquor importers.

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

GST is a type of tax levied in Singapore on the supply of goods and services and the import of goods into the city-state. Goods exported from and international services provided from Singapore are exempt from GST.

The current GST rate is 9%. All Singapore businesses, including branch offices, must register for GST if their annual taxable revenue exceeds S$1 million or if their annual taxable revenue is expected to be more than S$1 million. The business is expected to register for GST within 30 days from the time it is deemed liable.

Businesses may also choose to register for GST voluntarily. Approval for voluntary registration is at the discretion of the Comptroller. Once approval is given, you must remain registered for at least two years.

Opening Corporate Bank Account

After incorporating a branch office, you can open a corporate bank account with one of the many banks in Singapore, such as DBS, OCBC, UOB, or even digital banks and neobanks. Certain banks allow the opening of a corporate bank account without the foreign owner’s presence.

Customs Registration

If your Singapore branch office’s activities include the import, export, or transshipment of goods in and out of Singapore, you must register it with the Singapore Customs and get a Customs Registration (CR) number. This number is necessary for Singapore companies engaging in trading activities.

Central Provident Fund (CPF) Registration

The CPF scheme is a compulsory national pension fund scheme where the employer and employee contribute a percentage of the employee’s monthly salary to the fund. CPF contribution is mandatory for all local employees who are Singapore citizens or permanent residents (PRs) earning more than S$50 a month.


Register Singapore Branch Office With InCorp

InCorp offers comprehensive services for registering your Singapore branch office, including assistance with company incorporation, compliance, and taxation. We have a team of experienced professionals who can guide you through the registration process and ensure that all necessary requirements are met.

Our services include preparing and filing the necessary documents, liaising with government agencies on your behalf, and providing ongoing compliance support to ensure that your branch office remains in good standing with Singapore authorities.

By choosing InCorp as your partner for registering your Singapore branch office, you can save time and effort while ensuring full compliance with regulatory requirements. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can assist you in establishing a successful presence in Singapore.

FAQs about Register Singapore Branch Office

  • Setting up a Singapore branch office involves meeting several requirements and adhering to specific regulations. Some primary requirements for establishing a Singapore branch office include engaging the services of a registered local filing agent and a registered office address.
  • You can engage the services of a registered filing agent like InCorp to help!
  • InCorp Global can assist you in registering a branch office in Singapore through a comprehensive suite of services designed to simplify the process and ensure full compliance with local regulations.

Incorporate a Branch Office Now

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About the Author

Eric Chin

Eric Chin is the Group Chief Commercial Officer at InCorp Global, leading sales, marketing and consulting teams in 8 countries. With 11 years of corporate banking experience with HSBC and OCBC, Eric is highly skilled in creating market-entry strategies and structuring operations for diverse industries in the Asia-Pacific. He also advises fund managers and family offices on corporate structuring and tax incentives and has set up VCC structures for licensed fund managers.

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