In this article, you will learn:
- What is ACRA’s Bizfile?
- How Does ACRA’s Bizfile Work in Singapore?
- What Are The Key Features Of Bizfile That I Can Use?
- How Can I Register My Company Using BizFile?
- What Details Do I Need To Submit Online To BizFile For Incorporation?
- What Things Can I Do With ACRA BizFile?
- How Can The Company File Annual Returns With ACRA?
- What Are The Benefits Of Using ACRA BizFile?
Before the coming of BizFile+, business registration in Singapore was quite challenging. Individuals who intended to set up a company in Singapore were required to go to the Registry of Companies and Businesses (RCB) and fill out the requisite form.
RCB was responsible for the management of company registration, company incorporation, providing strategic business information, and registry of company documents.
This ended with the formation of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) in 2004 and an online portal known as BizFile managed by it.
BizFile allowed individuals to file documents and buy business information online. However, in the year 2016, ACRA introduced an enhanced version of BizFile known as BizFile+.
BizFile+ allowed more individuals to make online applications and submissions and reduce the time taken to process information.
The online platform ensured that individuals were no longer required to physically go to ACRA’s service center. In other words, individuals seeking business registration in Singapore could now make the requisite submissions and applications via BizFile+ online.
What is ACRA’s Bizfile?
BizFile+ is an online platform managed by ACRA allowing businesses to file statutory documents online and retrieving information related to registered businesses.
Thus, businesses can now get access to more than 300 electronic services with BizFile+. These include submitting statutory documents online, reserving domain names, GST Registration, etc.
The Government of Singapore has always been attempting to increase the efficiency of the Government Bodies. This is to ensure that maximum benefit is given to individuals residing in Singapore.
Thus, the Government of Singapore formulated ACRA in 2004 through merging RCB and Public Accountants Board (PAB).
ACRA is now the primary regulator of businesses, corporate service providers, and public accountants. It looks after:
- the business activities taking place in Singapore,
- implementing the company laws of Singapore,
- maintaining corporate records and business information and
- provide requisite information and advice to the legislature of Singapore so that a sound environment benefiting every company in Singapore is created.
Thus, doing business in Singapore has become easy thereby adding to the company’s growth.
How Does ACRA’s BizFile+ Work in Singapore?
You would use BizFile+ services frequently if you are an individual running a business in Singapore.
BizFile+ is an online platform managed by ACRA through which you as a business entity can file statutory documents and buy information on businesses registered in Singapore with ACRA.
The business entities registered in Singapore use this portal to submit their due filings and undertake other important tasks such as GST Registration, business name reservation, obtaining licenses, etc.
Thus, you need to login to BizFile+ and use SingPass to submit your application via ACRA’s BizFile+ and register as a business entity with ACRA.
Who Can Use ACRA’s BizFile+?
Singapore citizens, Singapore permanent residents, or EntrePass holders can use ACRA’s BizFile+ online portal to set up a business in Singapore.
Foreigners residing overseas and willing to reside in Singapore, however, would need to appoint at least one locally authorized representative. They must also involve a registered filing agent like a Corporate Secretary to submit their application via BizFile+.
Who Needs To Register With ACRA?
ACRA is the primary regulatory authority responsible for business or company registration in Singapore. Every business entity undertaking business in Singapore is required to register with ACRA.
Accordingly, the business entities would have to choose the business structure and follow the necessary steps to get itself registered with ACRA.
Why Should You Register With ACRA?
There are a number of benefits to registering your business with ACRA. These include:
- Permitting the general public to look for and check information about your business entity and its owners.
- Making it easy for the customers to identify, locate, and undertake transactions with your business entity.
- Authorizing your business entity to participate in government tenders and avail intellectual property and patents for new technology and products.
- Authorizing your business entity to access government funding like the one provided by Enterprise Singapore
What Are The Key Features Of Bizfile That I Can Use?
As mentioned above, you or your corporate secretary would use BizFile+ for a variety of purposes if you are a business entity registered in Singapore.
Registering your business entity in case you are starting a new business. Say if you are setting up a local company in Singapore, you would require to:
- Get your business name approved by submitting a name application via Bizfile+
- Determine the company type
- Appoint Directors, Company Secretary, and other important personnel and provide their details at the time of submitting an online application via Bizfile+
- Provide information with regards to share capital and shareholders at the time of submitting an online application via Bizfile+
- Provide Registered Office Address and Constitution
- Determining the financial year-end, and
- Submitting your application through BizFile+
Changes in Business Information
You can make changes in business information such as a change in:
- Company name, business activity, and registered office address
- Company information like appointment or cessation of company officers or auditors
- Personal information of company officers
- Details regarding shareholders
Registering a new charge with ACRA
As a business entity, you would need to take loans to carry out your business operations. Whenever you apply for a loan from a bank or a financial institution, you will have to give security to your creditor or lender. One such security is a charge over assets which is nothing but a form of security interest. Thus, whenever a new charge is created, you are required to get it registered with ACRA.
Filing Annual Returns
As per the Companies Act, you as a Singapore incorporated company need to file an annual return with ACRA. You can even apply for an extension of time to file an annual return and file overdue annual returns with ACRA.
Filing Financial Statements
You as a Singapore incorporated company need to file financial statements with ACRA only if you are not exempted.
Furthermore, ACRA’s Financial Reporting Surveillance Program (FRSP) guides companies to come out with reports. Such an initiative guides the companies in meeting the requirements as prescribed in the Accounting Standards in Singapore.
It is compulsory for you as a company to hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) for shareholders. You can even apply for an extension of time via BizFile+ in a case where an AGN needs to be extended.
Buying Business Information
ACRA maintains a repository of documents and business information related to business entities registered with ACRA. You as a business entity can purchase information with regards to a specific business entity registered with ACRA. Such information includes:
- Business Profile
- Corporate compliance and financial profile
- People profile
- Service product bundles
- Certificates like Certificate of Good Standing, Certificate confirming Registration/Incorporation of the entity
- Registers including Register of Business/Company Documents, Register of Members, etc.
Package Information service allows you to purchase information either according to predetermined criteria or criteria of your choice.
Authorized Information Service Providers
The authorized information service providers offer value-added services to the general public.
How Can I Register My Company Using BizFile?
You need to be prepared with certain details in order to submit an online application to BizFile+ for company incorporation.
These are mentioned in the section – Details Needed To Submit Online To BizFile For Incorporation- below for your reference.
Thus, you simply need to login to your BizFile+ account to submit your online application once you have all the information.
Remember, you would need your SingPass to login to your BizFile+ account in case you are registering your company for the first time.
Also, keep the transaction number of your approved Company Name Application handy as you would need the same at the time of online submission.
What is SingPass?
Singapore Personal Access or SingPass is a common password. Such a password permits you as a user to access or undertake transactions with the majority of government agencies online in an easy and secure way.
You can register for your SingPass account or check for SingPass eligibility in case you do not have an account already. Visit singpass.gov.sg to register for a SingPass account.
Furthermore, you would need a CorpPass to undertake transactions in BizFile+ once your company is incorporated.
What is CorpPass?
CorpPass is a Corporate Digital Identity for businesses and other entities like Non-Profit Organizations and Associations.
CorpPass allows entities to undertake transactions with multiple government agencies online. It is a single login method to undertake the government for business transactions.
You can access corppass.gov.sg in case you need to register for CorpPass. ACRA would send an email notification to the appointed officers in case of company registration. You can access this email from the dashboard of your BizFile+ account.
It must be noted that the Directors, Company Secretary, and the shareholders must endorse their consent online through BizFile+. Such endorsement must be done within 60 days from the date of receiving the email notification.
ACRA Company Registration Fees
The fee for registering your company with ACRA via BizFile+ is $300. Various payment modes via which you can pay Company Registration Fee include:
- Debit or Credit Card, that is, VISA, MasterCard, or American Express.
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
What Details Do I Need To Submit Online To BizFile For Incorporation?
There are a number of details that you need to keep handy while submitting an online application to BizFile+ for company incorporation. These include:
The first step in registering your company is to select an appropriate name for your business. Therefore, choose a suitable business name and make a name application through BizFile+.
You can continue to get your company incorporated once your application is approved. Check this e-guide for Application for a New Company Name in case you want to understand the steps involved in applying and reserving a company name for your business entity.
You also need to select the type of company structure you want to incorporate. The different types of company structures include:
- Private Company – These are further subdivided into Private Company Limited By Shares and Exempt Private Company.
- Public Company – These include Public Company Limited By Shares and Public Company Limited by Guarantee.
Directors, Company Secretary, and Other Important Personnel
This step involves appointing key officers of your company. These include:
- Company Secretary
- Chief Executive Officer or Managing Director
In addition to this, you need to provide information with regards to these key personnel which includes:
- Personal Identity details
- Contact information including telephone number and email address
- Residential Address
Financial Year End
You also need to make a decision in respect of the first financial year end of your company while registering the new company.
This is because your corporate filings and taxes become due based on the financial year-end that you choose.
Typically, companies either take March 31, June 30, September 30, or December 31 as their financial year-end.
In addition to this, you also need to decide whether your accounting period comprises 12 months or more than 52 weeks.
Licenses or Approvals
you would be required to apply for certain licenses or approvals from other government agencies before starting off with your business.
The licenses or approvals needed would depend upon the type of business you are planning to undertake.
For instance, you would require a Food Shop License, Food Stall License, Petroleum, and Flammable Material License, etc. if you are planning to start a food business.
Visit business Licensing – a Singapore Government Agency website – to know what licenses and approvals you need.
What Things Can I Do With ACRA BizFile?
As mentioned above, you or your corporate secretary would frequently use BizFile+ for a number of tasks if your business entity is based in Singapore. These tasks would include:
- Registering a local company, a foreign company, LLP business, and public accountant through an online portal with ACRA.
- Maintaining and controlling various transactions of business entities, companies as well as public accountants.
- Buying business information
- Filing annual returns
- Updating or changing business information
- Closing the business entity
How Can The Company File Annual Returns With ACRA?
The Director of the Company needs to fulfill a number of statutory obligations as per the Companies Act. One of them is filing an annual return with ACRA.
It must be noted that all companies must necessarily file their annual return within 7 months from the closing of the financial year-end.
All Singapore incorporated companies must file annual returns with ACRA so that the companies’ information is up to date on ACRA’s register.
Information Needed To File Annual Return
Make sure that company details like company type, Registered Office Address, information about company officers are up to date or correct. Also, ensure that all the details are updated in case there are any changes.
Preparing Financial Statements
Check if your company needs to submit financial statements along with the Annual Return. If so, you must prepare and verify these statements before filing the Annual Return.
Holding the AGM
Hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) where the Directors of the company present financial statements to the shareholders. The Financial Statements can be uploaded to BizFile+ once such statements are approved by the shareholders.
Filing Annual Return in Case of Companies With the Financial Year Ending On or After August 31, 2018
In order to file an annual return in case of such companies:
- Visit BizFile+ at bizfile.gov.sg/
- Choose -Local Company- under the tab -File e-Services-.
- Next, choose -Annual Return by Local Company- (for FYE from August 31, 2018) under the -Annual Filing- tab.
Filing Annual Return in Case of Companies With the Financial Year Ending Before August 31, 2018
Companies who need to file an annual return with FYE before August 31, 2018, must follow step 1 and step 2 as mentioned above.
Then, such companies must choose -Annual Return by Local Company- (for FYE before August 31, 2018) in their BizFile+ account under the tab -Annual Filing-.
What Are The Benefits Of Using ACRA BizFile?
As stated earlier, companies had to physically fill the forms for company registration which was tedious and time-consuming.
Today, companies can make submissions or applications online with BizFile+ within no time. Some of the key benefits of ACRA’s BizFile+ include:
- Increased conveniences for businesses
- Fast and cost-effective as there is no paperwork involved
- Increased accuracy of data
- Improved compliance in respect of the regulatory requirements
- Better operational efficiency