Setting up Branch Office in Singapore – Registration Guide

What is Branch Office?

The branch office is known as the addition of the parent company, and are set up in different locations that are far apart from the parent company. This is done to cover a larger business area and to increase their income. But branch companies are not separated from their parent company legally, and their business operations are similar to their parent company. In Singapore, the parent company of a branch office is responsible for the branch office’s security. 

The branch office provides foreign companies with one of the three options to set up their company in Singapore. ACRA is the only power governing the Singapore Branch Office Registration procedure. Under the given guidelines, a branch office must be registered with them if the parent company wants to start a business in Singapore.

If there is any case related to security or confidentiality breaches, the branch office applicant is free to report any issues to Singapore court of law and can start the legal documentation against its headquarters. You can also do this under the branch being located in Singapore’s administration.

Essential Things for Singapore Branch Office Registration Setup

First of all, foreign companies interested in setting up a local company should register with a professional agency offering services regarding company Incorporation in Singapore. They can help international companies in completing their paperwork and any other legal requirements. Here is a list of company details any foreign company look to start a business in Singapore should prepare beforehand:

Your Companies Official Singapore Name: The essential part of a Singapore branch office registration is to choose a closely related name for their branch office. It can match with the name of its parent company. However, the title should also be accepted by ACRA. 

Total workers who will work in the office: Every branch office should have one legal representative who is a Singapore citizen and is 18 years in age. These representatives are responsible for the business operations of the branch office. People who are citizens of Singapore or have permanent residency can be appointed to work in the branch office. 

Confirm your address for the Branch Office: It is important to give a registered physical address during your Singapore branch office registration setup. 

Documents needed to set up a branch office

If your company wants to start a business in Singapore by setting up a branch office, you have to provide the following documents:

• The name of your parent company.  

• The address of your parent company that is outside Singapore.  

• A copy of your parent company’s certificate of the organization and the certified copy of your parent company’s constitution.  

• Register of directors in your parent company.  

• All the particulars of the authorized are the local representative.  

• The statement of agreement from the local Singapore resident who will work as the regional representative for the branch office as well.

You will also need to provide a notice that gives information about the following things: 

• Give the foreign company’s registration number.  

• The type of business done by a foreign company.  

• The legal structure of the foreign company.  

• A certified copy of the parent company’s look over the financial statements.

Registration Process After Documentation

The agency providing services for company incorporation in Singapore that is working with help in the registration process will take care of all the official procedures. Companies do not have to visit Singapore for their registration process. The organization will usually take place in two steps:  

  1. Take approval of your company’s name  
  2. Registration of all the organization

The name of your branch office must be related to the parent company’s name, and it must not be similar to any other company’s.

If all of your essential documents are ready and are signed by the related members on time, the entire Singapore branch office registration setup can be completed in 1 to 2 days, much like a standard process of company incorporation in Singapore. 

After completing the Singapore branch office registration formalities, the registrar will send an email to you to notify and confirm your registration. The email will serve as proof of the company registration, and sometimes a hard copy can be issued by a separate application after paying subsequent fees. This allows your company to formally start a business in Singapore, and you can start all business operations.

Taxes on Branch Office

Singapore charges tax on all the profits that will be earned by the branch office. If it is essential, then a branch office must also register to collect all the goods and services tax (GST). For tax purposes, branch offices are considered non-residents.

If you are a non-resident, a Singapore branch office cannot take advantage of Singapore’s tax. Moreover, branch offices will not qualify for the tax on some foreign-sourced income. They will not seek double taxation under Singapore’s lengthy network of Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs).

 For more information on what kind of taxes your branch company needs to pay, you can refer to the guidelines set by the Inland Revenue Authority in Singapore (IRAS) or speak to a professional agency providing services for Company Incorporation in Singapore. They will be able to provide knowledgeable advice and insights on the current taxation system for foreigners setting up a local company.

How to open a Branch Office Bank Account

After the completion of your branch office, you have to open a joint account in any international and local banks in Singapore. The joint bank account is to be opened by one of the company’s directors or any other partner, which refers to people who have been sharing your business bank account.

In Singapore, joint accounts can be opened in person or online, and how long it takes depends on how long the bank will take to corroborate the report. The process can take anywhere from one day to many weeks as well. The physical appearance of authorized signatories or directors during the account setting will greatly expedite the process, hence it is recommended for the company’s directors to be prepared to fly down when they start a business in Singapore. 

The main advantage of a joint bank account is that it separates one’s business and personal finances. It will make management easier for any business finances, grants you a higher level of protection against any potential future corporate liabilities, and makes it easier to evaluate and monitor a company’s general business performance. This is important when you are setting up a local company in Singapore, as its business environment could be quite different from your home country, hence changing how your company tracks their performance. 

You will also have to remember that procedure will vary between banks. Every bank in Singapore also offers different advantages. When you choose a bank for a joint account, some details that must be taken into deliberation include low balance, statements that can hold multiple currencies, and the amount of initial deposit required. 

In Summary

It is very easy for foreign companies to register a branch office in Singapore, and this guide has provided all the details you will need to know when you are setting up a local company. As Singapore is one of the best places in the world to do business according to a report by the World Bank, you are unlikely to face major difficulties in the process of company incorporation in Singapore. 

However, it is important to note that foreigners would need to enlist the help of a reputable Singapore company registration service provider to assist them in the process. Another tip we have is to have the necessary documents prepared beforehand so that the process would be much quicker and hassle-free.