Business in Singapore. When starting up, it is important to understand your legal obligations as a business. There are specific areas you might want to take note of so you do not fall foul of the law.
Your Chosen Business Structure.
The laws that apply to your business depend on which business structure you have chosen. You are required to comply with the rules in the relevant Acts, i.e. Business Registration Act, Companies Act etc.
For example, the requirements for renewal of business registrations and filing of returns differ according to whether you are a sole-proprietor or a company.
Business in Singapore – Your Business Activities
The laws that apply to your business also depend on which industry you are in and the kind of activities you conduct.
Different industries are regulated by different government bodies. While some industries are not as heavily regulated as others, it would be important nonetheless to find out which Government agencies might be in charge of your industry.
For example, the telecommunications industry is regulated by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), the media industry is regulated by the Media Development Authority (MDA), and the healthcare sector is regulated by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA).
Your business activities will also affect which laws apply to you. For example, if you wish to serve alcohol, you will need a Liquor licence from the Singapore Police Force. If you intend to sell second-hand goods like mobile phones, cameras, computers, or jewellery, you will need a Secondhand Goods Dealers Licence from the Singapore Police Force.
Business in Singapore – Your Tax Obligations
You have to pay others tax in addition to Income tax. Common taxes that businesses have to pay include Goods and Services Tax (GST), Stamp Duty, Property Tax and Withholding Tax. Take special note of the tax dates for submission and payment, as they vary for the different taxes.
Get a good understanding of tax deductions that you might be able to utilise to lower taxes you have to pay. These include:
• business expenses like rent, wages, directors’ fees
• capital allowances like machinery, furniture
• industrial building allowances
• unutilised losses, capital allowances and donations
• group relief & loss carry-back relief