Unique Entity Number (UEN) in Singapore

Unique Entity Number (UEN)

Efficient business identification and streamlined transactions are essential for the smooth functioning of the nation’s business ecosystem. The Unique Entity Number (UEN) is a pivotal element in achieving this goal. Introduced by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore, the UEN is a distinct identification number assigned to entities operating within the country. This article delves into the various aspects of the UEN, from its purpose and acquisition to its benefits for businesses.

Who Will Get a UEN?

The UEN is primarily assigned to any entity that engages in economic activities within Singapore. This includes a wide range of business structures, such as sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability partnerships, companies, and foreign entities with a presence in Singapore. It is important to note that the UEN serves as a universal identifier, ensuring that each entity is uniquely recognized across all government agencies and regulatory bodies. As such, businesses that are liable for Goods and Services Tax (GST) registration, as well as those that need to be registered under specific licensing regimes, are also required to obtain a UEN.

Who Will Be Exempted From Getting a UEN?

While the UEN is an essential identifier for most businesses in Singapore, there are certain exceptions. Individuals who operate businesses under their own personal names and do not intend to register a separate business entity are exempt from obtaining a UEN. Additionally, businesses that are not engaged in economic activities or have been specifically exempted by ACRA may not require a UEN.

Where Can You Get Your UEN From?

Acquiring a UEN is a straightforward process in Singapore. When registering a new business entity through ACRA, applicants will be automatically assigned a UEN upon successful registration. The UEN will be included in the business profile, which can be accessed online through the BizFile+ portal, ACRA’s electronic filing and information retrieval system. Existing businesses can also obtain their UENs through ACRA’s various e-services.

How Do I Find Out an Entity’s UEN?

If you need to find out an entity’s UEN, there are multiple avenues to do so. ACRA provides a free online search service through their website, allowing anyone to look up the UEN of a registered business entity. Additionally, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) provides a service called “Find UEN,” which enables users to search for UENs of companies and businesses.

Benefits of UEN

The implementation of the UEN system brings forth a multitude of benefits for businesses and government agencies alike:

  1. Streamlined Transactions: With a unique identifier for each entity, transactions become more efficient and accurate. This is particularly significant in the digital age, where swift and error-free interactions are paramount.
  2. Government Interaction: The UEN simplifies interactions with government agencies, as it serves as a common reference across various regulatory bodies. This reduces the need for redundant data submissions and paperwork.
  3. Enhanced Transparency: The UEN promotes transparency by making information about businesses easily accessible. This is advantageous for due diligence, business partnerships, and decision-making processes.
  4. Regulatory Compliance: Entities subject to regulatory requirements, such as GST registration and licensing, can more effectively fulfill their obligations with a standardized identification system.
  5. Business Credibility: Displaying a UEN on official documents and communications adds credibility to a business, enhancing its professional image.
  6. Global Recognition: The UEN contributes to the global recognition of Singaporean businesses. It provides a standardized reference point for international collaborations and transactions.

In conclusion, the Unique Entity Number (UEN) is a pivotal tool that encapsulates Singapore’s commitment to efficiency and transparency in its business environment. By providing a universal identifier for entities, the UEN streamlines transactions, facilitates government interactions, and enhances overall business credibility. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the UEN stands as a testament to Singapore’s proactive approach to fostering a business-friendly ecosystem.

Are you considering taking the exciting step of incorporating your own business in Singapore? Let us guide you through the seamless business incorporation process. Engage our expert services today and embark on your entrepreneurial journey with confidence. Your success story starts here!

Setting Up a Private Limited Company in Singapore

setting up a private limited company a group of professionals having discussion together

Starting a business in Singapore can be an exciting journey, but also a daunting one. Aspiring entrepreneurs are faced with various considerations, from choosing a suitable business structure to complying with the legal and regulatory requirements. In this article, we will explore three key areas that are essential for running and growing a successful private limited company in Singapore: The basics, the advantages, pre-incorporation considerations, incorporation process, corporate taxation, employment pass and work visas, corporate governance and compliance. We will also discuss strategies for scaling your business and leveraging technology to drive innovation.

Understanding the Basics

What is a Private Limited Company?

A private limited company is a separate legal entity registered under the laws of Singapore. It is a popular business structure due to certain benefits and protections it offers. As a separate legal entity, a private limited company can own assets, enter into contracts, and sue or be sued in its own name, distinct from its shareholders. This structure provides limited liability protection to shareholders, meaning their personal assets are generally protected in the event of company debts or legal issues.

Advantages of a Private Limited Company

Limited Liability: Shareholders’ liability is limited to the amount they have invested in the company’s shares, protecting their personal assets.

Ability to Raise Capital: Private limited companies can raise capital by issuing shares to investors, allowing for potential growth and expansion.

Perpetual Existence: The company continues to exist even if there are changes in ownership or management.

Ease of Ownership Transfer: Shares can be bought or sold, allowing for easy ownership transfer without disrupting business operations.

Pre-Incorporation Considerations

Choosing a Suitable Company Name

When choosing a company name, you must adhere to guidelines and restrictions set by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). The name should not be offensive, identical to an existing name, or prohibited by the Minister for Finance. It is important to choose a unique and meaningful name that reflects your business identity.

Shareholding and Ownership Structure

A private limited company may have a minimum of one and a maximum of fifty shareholders. Distribution of shares and ownership percentages can be determined based on each shareholder’s initial investment or agreed upon arrangement.

Appointing Directors and Company Secretary

A private limited company must have a minimum of one director who is a Singapore resident. Directors must be at least 18 years old and not bankrupt or convicted of any serious offenses. It is also mandatory to appoint a company secretary within six months of incorporation. The company secretary must be a natural person and either a Singapore resident or a permanent resident.

Incorporation Process

Registering the Company

The incorporation process involves several steps, including:

Choosing a business structure

Preparing the necessary documents, such as the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

Registering the company with ACRA

Paying the required fees.

You can choose between online registration via the BizFile+ portal or offline registration through professional service providers.

Minimum Paid-Up Capital Requirements

As of March 2021, Singapore has eliminated the requirement for a minimum paid-up capital. This change allows companies to be incorporated without a specific amount of initial capital. However, it is advisable to allocate sufficient capital to support the initial operations and growth of the company.

Registered Address and Office

A private limited company must have a local Singapore address as its registered address. This address will be used for official correspondence and must be accessible during normal business hours. Companies have the option to use their own physical office, engage the services of a virtual office provider, or utilise a coworking space.

Post-Incorporation Obligations

Annual Filing Requirements

Private limited companies need to fulfill annual filing obligations with ACRA. These include:

  • Filing annual returns with financial statements within 7 months of the end of the financial year.
  • Appointing an auditor (unless exempted) within three months of incorporation.
  • Maintaining proper accounting records and documentation.

It is crucial to comply with filing deadlines to avoid penalties and potential legal consequences.

Corporate Taxation

Singapore has one of the most competitive corporate tax rates in the world, with a flat rate of 17% on chargeable income. This rate applies to both local and foreign companies without distinction. Newly incorporated companies may enjoy tax exemptions for the first three years on their chargeable income, subject to certain conditions. For example, newly incorporated companies are eligible for a full tax exemption on the first S$100,000 of chargeable income and a partial tax exemption on the next S$200,000 of chargeable income for the first three consecutive years of assessment. This exemption can amount to significant tax savings and provide a boost to the company’s cash flow.

Employment Pass and Work Visas

If you plan to hire foreign employees, you will need to navigate the process of obtaining work passes or visas. The eligibility criteria and requirements differ based on the type of work pass needed. The most common type of work pass is the Employment Pass, which is for professionals, managers, and executives who earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$4,500 and meet other requirements. Other types of work passes include the S Pass for mid-level skilled employees and the EntrePass for foreign entrepreneurs who want to start and operate a business in Singapore. It is advisable to engage the services of a professional employment agency that can guide you through the application process and ensure compliance with the relevant regulations.

Corporate Governance and Compliance

Maintaining accurate records, conducting regular board meetings, and adhering to corporate governance standards are essential for the smooth operation and compliance of your private limited company. It is important to have a well-structured governance framework to ensure transparency and accountability. For example, companies must maintain proper accounting records and prepare financial statements in accordance with the Singapore Financial Reporting Standards. Companies must also conduct annual general meetings to discuss and approve key matters, such as the financial statements and the appointment of directors and auditors. Failure to comply with corporate governance requirements can result in penalties and legal consequences.

Scaling Your Business

When looking to scale your business, various funding options are available, such as bank loans, venture capital, or angel investors. To attract investors or secure funding through government initiatives, develop a solid business plan that showcases your unique selling proposition, target market, competitive landscape, and growth potential. You should also demonstrate a clear understanding of the financial risks and opportunities associated with your business. It is advisable to seek the advice of a financial advisor or business consultant who has experience in raising capital and structuring funding deals.

Digital Transformation and Innovation

Leveraging technology to streamline operations, enhance customer experience, and drive innovation within your company is crucial for staying competitive in the market. Technology can help you automate repetitive tasks, reduce operational costs, and reach customers through digital channels. For example, you can implement cloud-based solutions that allow your employees to access data and systems from anywhere, anytime. You can also use data analytics to gain insights into customer behaviour and preferences, and personalise your marketing campaigns accordingly. Embracing innovation and experimentation is also essential for staying ahead of the curve and disrupting established business models.


Starting and running a private limited company in Singapore requires careful planning, execution, and compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. By understanding the key areas covered in this article, such as corporate taxation, employment pass and work visas, corporate governance and compliance, scaling your business, and digital transformation and innovation, you will be better equipped to handle the challenges and opportunities of entrepreneurship. Aspiring entrepreneurs are encouraged to seek personalised business consulting services that can provide tailored advice and solutions for their specific needs and goals. With the right mindset, resources, and support, you can achieve success and make a positive impact on the Singapore business ecosystem. Get in touch with us for all your business incorporation needs, let us help you so you can focus on growing and expanding your business.

How to choose an ACRA-approved company name in Singapore

choosing a business name in singapore

Choosing the right company name is a crucial step in establishing a successful business in Singapore. The name not only represents your brand and identity but also plays a role in attracting customers and distinguishing your company from competitors. However, there are certain restrictions and guidelines to consider when choosing a company name in Singapore. In this article, we will explore the guidelines set by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) for registering a business name in Singapore.

Restrictions on Registration of Business Names

ACRA has certain criteria that must be met for a business name to be approved for registration. These restrictions aim to ensure that the chosen name is not offensive, confusingly similar to existing names, or prohibited by the Minister for Finance. Here are some key restrictions to keep in mind:

Undesirable Names: Business names that are obscene or religious in nature will be refused registration.

Identical to Reserved Names: ACRA will not register a business name that is identical to a name that has already been reserved by another entity. Names are reserved for a period of 60 to 120 days.

Identical to Registered Names: Business names that are identical to existing registered names will not be approved.

Prohibited Names: Currently, the word “Temasek” is not accepted for registration.

ACRA may allow registration of a business name that is identical to a dissolved or ceased business in Singapore, after a specific period of time has passed. The time period varies depending on the legal entity of the previous business.

How to checking for identical business names

Before finalising your business name, it is important to check if there are any existing businesses with similar names. ACRA provides several methods to conduct a comprehensive search:

1. Use a Search Engine

Perform an online search on search engines like Google to check if your proposed business name is already in use by another business.

2. IPOS Go Mobile App

The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore has developed a mobile app called “IPOS Go” that allows new business owners to perform a quick search for existing business names, registered trademarks, available domain names, and social media usernames. By entering your proposed name, you can check if similar names have already been registered.

3. BizFile+ Website’s Entity Search Function

ACRA encourages using the entity search function on the BizFile+ website. To conduct a comprehensive search, follow these guidelines:

  • Key in only part of your proposed business name, instead of the whole name.
  • Consider variations and abbreviations.
  • Check for names with similar pronunciations to your proposed name.
  • Check for names that are in a different sequence but have similar meanings to your proposed name.
  • Look for names with similar meanings as your proposed name to ensure there are no conflicts.

After running the search, the system will provide a list of businesses with identical or similar names for you to review.

When determining if a proposed business name is similar to an existing name, disregard common elements like prefixes or suffixes indicating the type of legal entity (e.g., “Private,” “Limited Liability Partnership”) and specific extensions such as “.com” or “.sg.”

Business Names Similar to Registered Names

Although ACRA does not permit identical names, there is a chance of approval for business names that are similar to existing registered names. However, choosing a similar name may expose you to legal risks, such as the tort of passing off. This occurs when another business believes you are trying to imitate their company and pass off your business as theirs. To avoid this, it is best to choose a unique and distinguishable name.

Protecting Your Business Name

Once you have finalised your business name, consider protecting it by registering it as a trademark. Registering your business name as a trademark provides exclusive rights to use the name in relation to specific goods or services. This helps safeguard your brand identity and prevents others from using a similar name.

In conclusion, choosing a company name in Singapore requires careful consideration to meet ACRA’s guidelines and ensure it is unique and distinguishable. Conduct thorough searches using search engines, IPOS Go app, and the BizFile+ website’s entity search function to avoid conflicts with existing names. Remember to protect your chosen name by registering it as a trademark. With a well-chosen and legally compliant company name, you can start your business journey with confidence.

Are you ready to make the next move? Let us help with your company incorporation matters in Singapore!

Incorporating Your Business in Singapore? Don’t Make These Mistakes!

singapore landscape business hub

Thinking of incorporating your business in Singapore? It is a wise move, as the country is renowned for its business-friendly environment and robust economy. However, the process of incorporation can be complex, and there are common mistakes that many entrepreneurs make along the way. To ensure a smooth and successful incorporation, it’s crucial to be aware of these pitfalls and take the necessary steps to avoid them. In this article, we will highlight the most common mistakes made when incorporating a business in Singapore and provide you with practical tips on how to steer clear of them.

Why incorporate your business in Singapore?

Incorporating your business in Singapore offers a multitude of benefits that make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurs from around the world. First and foremost, Singapore has a stable political and economic climate, making it a safe and secure place to do business. The city-state also boasts a strategic location, serving as a gateway to the thriving Southeast Asian market. With its efficient infrastructure, excellent connectivity, and world-class facilities, Singapore provides a conducive environment for businesses to thrive.

Another significant advantage of incorporating your business in Singapore is the ease of doing business. The country consistently ranks highly in global indices measuring ease of doing business, thanks to its transparent and efficient regulatory framework. Singapore offers a streamlined process for company incorporation, with minimal bureaucratic red tape. The government has implemented various initiatives to support entrepreneurship, such as grants and tax incentives, making it even more attractive for startups and small businesses.

Furthermore, incorporating your business in Singapore provides access to a highly skilled and diverse workforce. The city-state has a strong education system, producing a pool of talented individuals who are well-equipped to support your business needs. Singapore’s multicultural society also offers a unique advantage, as it provides a platform for cross-cultural collaboration and innovation.

Common mistakes to avoid when incorporating your business in Singapore

While incorporating a business in Singapore is relatively straightforward, there are common mistakes that entrepreneurs should be cautious of. By being aware of these pitfalls and taking the necessary precautions, you can ensure a smooth and successful incorporation process. Let’s dive into the most prevalent mistakes made when incorporating a business in Singapore and how you can avoid them.

#1 Not understanding the legal requirements for incorporation

One of the most critical mistakes entrepreneurs make when incorporating their business in Singapore is not fully understanding the legal requirements. Singapore has clear regulations and guidelines that need to be followed when setting up a company. Failure to comply with these requirements can lead to delays, penalties, or even the rejection of your application.

To avoid this mistake, it is essential to thoroughly research and understand the legal requirements for incorporation in Singapore. Familiarize yourself with the Companies Act and the guidelines set by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). Determine the type of business entity you want to establish, whether it’s a private limited company, partnership, sole proprietorship, or limited liability partnership. Each entity has its own set of requirements and obligations, so it’s crucial to choose the one that best suits your business needs.

Additionally, ensure that you have all the necessary documents and information ready before submitting your application. This includes identification documents, proof of address, and details of shareholders and directors. By being well-prepared and knowledgeable about the legal requirements, you can avoid unnecessary complications during the incorporation process.

#2 Choosing the wrong business structure

Another common mistake entrepreneurs make when incorporating their business in Singapore is selecting the wrong business structure. The business structure you choose will have significant implications on various aspects of your business, including taxation, liability, and ownership. It’s crucial to carefully consider your business goals, nature of operations, and long-term plans before deciding on the appropriate structure.

The most common business structure in Singapore is a private limited company. This structure provides limited liability protection, separates personal and business assets, and offers flexibility in terms of ownership and shareholding. However, it may not be suitable for all businesses. For instance, if you’re a freelancer or a small-scale operation, a sole proprietorship or a partnership structure might be more appropriate.

To avoid this mistake, seek professional advice from a corporate service provider or a qualified lawyer. They can assess your specific business needs and provide guidance on the most suitable structure for your company. Taking the time to carefully consider and choose the right business structure will set a strong foundation for your business and prevent potential issues in the future.

#3 Neglecting to appoint a local resident director

When incorporating a private limited company in Singapore, it is a legal requirement to appoint at least one local resident director. A local resident director can be a Singapore citizen, permanent resident, or an Employment Pass or EntrePass holder. This director plays a crucial role in ensuring compliance with regulatory obligations and represents the company’s interests.

Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of overlooking this requirement and assume they can appoint a foreign director or themselves as the sole director. However, this is not permissible under Singapore law. Failing to appoint a local resident director can result in your application being rejected or delayed.

To avoid this mistake, ensure that you have a local resident director ready at the time of incorporation. If you don’t have a local resident director, you can engage the services of a professional firm that provides nominee director services. This allows you to meet the legal requirements while providing you with the flexibility to manage your business operations effectively.

#4 Failing to comply with the annual filing requirements

Once your business is incorporated in Singapore, you must comply with the annual filing requirements imposed by ACRA. Failure to do so can result in penalties, fines, or even the striking off of your company from the register. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of neglecting these obligations, either due to ignorance or oversight.

To avoid this mistake, it is crucial to understand the annual filing requirements and ensure that you comply with them in a timely manner. The key annual filings include the Annual Return, Financial Statements, and Tax Return. The Annual Return provides an update on the company’s particulars, such as shareholders, directors, and registered address. Financial Statements provide an overview of the company’s financial performance, while the Tax Return discloses the company’s taxable income.

It is recommended to engage the services of a professional corporate service provider or an accountant to assist you with these annual filings. They can ensure that you meet the deadlines and submit accurate and complete information. By staying on top of your annual filing requirements, you can maintain good standing with the authorities and avoid any unnecessary penalties.

#5 Not understanding the tax implications of incorporation

Taxation is an essential consideration when incorporating your business in Singapore. The city-state has an attractive tax regime, with low corporate tax rates and various tax incentives available for businesses. However, failing to understand the tax implications of incorporation can lead to missed opportunities or unexpected tax liabilities.

To avoid this mistake, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with Singapore’s tax system and understand the various tax incentives and exemptions available. Singapore adopts a territorial tax system, which means that only income derived from Singapore is subject to tax. This provides businesses with an opportunity to structure their operations in a tax-efficient manner.

Additionally, Singapore offers various tax incentives, such as the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme and the Global Trader Program (GTP). These incentives can help reduce your tax liability and provide a competitive advantage for your business. It’s important to assess your eligibility for these incentives and take full advantage of them.

To ensure compliance with tax regulations and maximize tax benefits, it is advisable to engage the services of a qualified tax advisor. They can provide guidance on tax planning, assist with tax filings, and help you optimize your tax position. By understanding the tax implications and seeking professional advice, you can ensure that your business is structured in a tax-efficient manner.

#6 Overlooking the need for a registered address in Singapore

When incorporating your business in Singapore, it is a legal requirement to have a registered office address in the city-state. This address will be used for official correspondence and must be a physical address, not a P.O. Box. Many entrepreneurs overlook this requirement and assume they can use their residential address or a virtual office address.

However, it’s important to note that using a residential address may not be permissible, and a virtual office address may not meet the requirements. Failing to comply with the registered address requirement can result in the rejection of your application or the inability to receive important documents.

To avoid this mistake, ensure that you have a registered office address in Singapore before incorporating your business. You can either lease or purchase a commercial property or engage the services of a professional firm that provides registered office services. These firms offer physical office spaces that meet the regulatory requirements and can handle your mail and official correspondence.

#7 Not seeking professional advice and guidance

Perhaps one of the most significant mistakes entrepreneurs make when incorporating their business in Singapore is not seeking professional advice and guidance. While it may seem tempting to handle the incorporation process yourself to save costs, it can lead to costly mistakes and complications down the line.

Engaging the services of a professional corporate service provider or a qualified lawyer can provide you with valuable expertise and guidance throughout the incorporation process. They can ensure that you comply with the legal requirements, choose the right business structure, and avoid common pitfalls. Additionally, they can assist with ongoing compliance and provide support in areas such as accounting, taxation, and corporate secretarial matters.

While there is an initial cost involved in hiring professionals, it is a worthwhile investment that can save you time, effort, and potential issues in the long run. By seeking professional advice and guidance, you can focus on growing your business while leaving the administrative and regulatory aspects in capable hands.


Incorporating your business in Singapore offers numerous advantages, but it’s essential to be aware of the common mistakes made during the incorporation process. By understanding the legal requirements, selecting the right business structure, appointing a local resident director, complying with annual filing obligations, understanding the tax implications, having a registered address, and seeking professional advice, you can navigate the incorporation process successfully.

Remember, the incorporation process is just the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey. It’s important to stay informed and continuously assess your business needs as you grow and expand. By avoiding these common mistakes and staying proactive, you can set a strong foundation for your business in Singapore and position yourself for long-term success. So, take the leap, incorporate your business in Singapore, and embrace the exciting opportunities that await you in this vibrant business hub!