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Learn more about Branch Office in Singapore

Discover the distinguishing elements of a Singapore branch office. We will help you understand the setup, taxation, and regulatory compliance requirements for a Singapore-registered foreign branch.

Please visit our Singapore company registration page for additional information on the various setup options for international corporate companies.

Table of contents

What is a Singapore branch office?

A Singapore Branch Office is an extension of a foreign parent business incorporated outside of Singapore. The goal of a branch is to facilitate the overseas parent company’s operations and income creation in Singapore. It is taxed as a non-resident and hence ineligible for the tax breaks and exemptions provided to Singapore private limited corporations.

The following are the requirements for establishing a branch office in Singapore:

➤ 1 Corporate Shareholder
➤ 1 Singapore Resident Agent
➤ A Registered Office Address in Singapore

The Singapore Companies Act prohibits foreign corporations from self-registering a Branch Office. You can hire Themis Partner, Singapore’s leading specialist in ACRA company registration, to help you register a Branch Office with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore (ACRA). We can set up your Branch Office in less than 24 hours if you have all of the relevant papers.

How to register a Singapore branch office?

The ACRA registration process consists of two steps: Name approval and branch office registration. Foreign corporations are not permitted to self-register with ACRA. You can hire a Themis Partner’s lawyer to help you register your Branch Office. It is not necessary for you to be present in Singapore to register the Branch. If all paperwork are in order, the approval process should take about 1-2 days.

Name: The name of the Branch Office must be the same as the name of the parent firm. Before the Singapore Branch can be registered, ACRA must also approve the name. ACRA will reject a proposed name for incorporation if any of the following conditions are met:

➤ It is identical to another existing business name
➤ It is undesirable
➤ Names or trademark which are similar to established names

Shareholders: The parent firm must own the Branch Office entirely.

Resident Agents: The Singapore Branch Office must have at least one agent who is “typically” a Singapore resident. A Singapore resident agent might be a Singaporean, a permanent resident, or the holder of an Employment Pass or a Dependant’s Pass. Themis Partner can help you apply for an Employment Pass for a foreign management staff member who will be migrating to Singapore to run the Branch activities. Following clearance of his Employment Pass application, the management staff member can operate as the Branch Office’s local agent.

A Singapore Branch Office may appoint an unlimited number of additional local or overseas agents. The agent must be at least 18 years old and must not have been bankrupted or convicted of any criminal offense in the past.

Company Secretary: A Company Secretary is not necessary to be appointed by a Singapore Branch Office. However, having a Corporate Secretary to help you stay in line with the statutory laws is strongly advised.

Registered Address: Every Singapore-registered firm must have a registered office address. The registered address cannot be a PO Box and must be an actual address. Certain sorts of businesses may use a residential address.

Memorandum and Articles of Association: The Memorandum and Articles of Association of the parent business must be filed with ACRA. The Memorandum of Association describes the activities that the company may engage in, whereas the Articles of Association specify the rules that regulate the organization’s internal management.

What are the taxes of Singapore Branch Office?

For tax purposes, a Singapore Branch Office is deemed a non-resident business. Because non-resident corporations are not eligible for tax advantages for new start-ups or resident companies, most overseas companies opt to establish a subsidiary company rather than a branch office.

How to open a corporate bank account?

After incorporating the Branch Office, you may create a corporate bank account with any of the local or international banks operating in Singapore, and in some situations, elsewhere in the world.

If you are unable to travel to Singapore, you may select a bank that permits you to open a corporate bank account without physically being present. Standard Chartered Bank and HSBC are two multinational institutions that allow you to open a bank account without having to be a Singapore resident.

What to do after register a branch office?

Licenses & Permits: Certain business operations in Singapore are governed by government bodies. Even if your company has been registered, you cannot begin operations unless you have received approval or a license from the appropriate government authorities.

Private schools, video stores, travel agencies, liquor distributors, money lenders, banks, financial consultants, childcare centers, and importers, wholesalers, and retailers of liquor licenses are just a few of the businesses that require permission to operate.

Scheduled Office Hours: You must have a registered office address and have it open to the public for at least three hours per day during normal business hours on weekdays.

Registration Number: ACRA’s business registration number must appear on all letterheads, invoices, billings, and other documents used for official business communications.

Custom Registration: If your business involves import, export, or transhipment into and out of Singapore, you must register your Branch Office with Singapore Customs and acquire a CR Number, often known as Custom Registration. For Singapore corporations or organizations engaged in trading operations, the central registration number is required.

Singapore Products and Services Tax Registration: The Commodities and Services Tax (GST) is a tax levied on the provision of goods and services in Singapore as well as the importation of goods into the country. GST is not levied on goods exported from Singapore or on international services delivered from Singapore. The current interest rate is 7%.

All Singapore businesses must register for GST if their annual taxable revenue exceeds S$1 million, or if they are actively making taxable supply and their annual taxable revenue exceeds S$1 million. The corporation must register for GST within thirty days of being found liable.

You may also register for GST on your own. In IRAS, the Comptroller has the ability to approve voluntary registration.

Singapore Central Provident Fund (CPF) Registration: The Central Provident Fund (CPF) is a mandatory pension fund program in which both the employer and the employee contribute a portion of their monthly salary to the fund. Employer CPF contributions are required for all local employees who are Singapore citizens or permanent residents and earn more than S$50 per month. The maximum CPF contribution rate for employers and employees is 14.5 percent and 20%, respectively, and can be lower based on circumstances such as employee age, permanent residence status, and so on. Foreign employees are not required to contribute to CPF.

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