Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and BizFile
In Singapore, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) is responsible for the registration of business entities.
ACRA is also referred to as the Registrar of Companies. Singapore Registrar of Companies (ROC) and ACRA are used interchangeably for the same entity. The merger of the Registry of Companies and Businesses with the Public Accountants’ Board in 2004 resulted in the formation of ACRA.
Who needs to register with ACRA?
Every company conducting business in Singapore needs to register with ACRA. They will have to choose their business structure and take the necessary steps to register their business with ACRA.
ACRA requires all companies to complete all statutory obligations relating to company registration and ongoing compliance requirements set out in the Companies Act. Here are the most common tasks:
- Register a foreign company’s branch office in Singapore
- File annual return annually for every company
- Notify the accounting and corporate regulatory of any changes to the business address, company structure, and particulars of officers and members.
How do I register a company in Singapore? What is BIzFile?
To register a company with ACRA, you have to do it via BizFile+. BizFile+ is ACRA’s online filing and information retrieval system.
With BizFile+, users can access a range of features that have made life easier. This includes:
- Maintaining and/or regulating transactions of business entities, companies, and Public Accountants.
- Search information about a registered company online.
- Conduct online checks when it comes to seeking approval from other referral authorities.
- Access the user-friendly graphical interface for different payment methods.
- Send an enquiry online to check the status of transactions.
- Receive notifications via email or SMS for successfully completed transactions.
- Purchase information about business entities.
Notifying ACRA about changes to the company
A business entity must notify ACRA through BizFile+ regarding any change to the company within 14 days from the effective date of change, including amongst others:
- Change in registered address
- Change in business activities
- Appointment or removal of a company officer
- Change of personal information of an officer and/or member
- Certain ordinary resolutions and special resolutions passed by the company
Any failure to notify ACRA within the stipulated time will be a breach of the Companies Act and may pose a risk of penalty. As a result, your company will accrue a late fee between S$50 and S$350.
Not only this, your company might accrue a fine of up to S$5,000 for its failure to notify the ACRA. There may also be an additional default penalty for the company and its officers.
How long does BizFile take to process updates?
It generally takes only 5-15 minutes for Bizfile+ to process the transaction. However, the information might take even longer to process (even up to 2 months) in the event the process requires approval or review from an ACRA officer or any other agencies. The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore receives the update as soon as the change is finalised, which will automatically update their own records on a weekly basis.
However, the CPF Board and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) must be informed separately in this regard. Visit the MOM portal and “Change particulars” to update the change of information. Send a form with updates to the CPF board via mail.