Types of Business

Information about the different types of business structure in Singapore...

Check with ACRA for the categories under which a business may be registered. This includes any firm, individual or corporation which operates as a nominee, trustee or agent for any foreign corporation.

Applications can be made online. The Singapore Government has made the process easy to follow.

Sole-proprietorship

This is the structure for a business with only one owner and is the most simple and flexible business structure for small businesses. All sole-proprietorships must be registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

Partnership

A partnership is a business firm owned by more than one individual or company. In Singapore, partnerships cannot have more than 20 owners. All partnerships must be registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

Limited Partnership (LP)

The Limited Partnership structure consists of at least two partners, with at least one being a general partner and at least one being a limited partner.

The LP is not separate legal entity from the partners: the general partner is responsible for all debts and liabilities, while the limited partner has no obligations beyond their agreed contribution. The general and limited partner may be an individual or a corporation.

A limited partner must be registered with ACRA for the structure to be considered an LP. Without that, the general partner is automatically registered under the Business Registration Act.

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

Setting up a company as an LLP gives the owners the flexibility of operating as a partnership while giving them limited liability, so that a partner will not be held responsible for the LLP's debts or liabilities (unless they result from that person's wrong-doing).

An LLP is an entity in its own right, separate from its owners, and can sue or be sued, or own property in its own name. An LLP continues to exist even if the partners change.

Company

A company is a business entity registered under the Companies Act, Chapter 50. It has a legal personality, so has a right to own properties, and can sue or be sued. It usually has the words "Pte Ltd" or "Ltd" as part of its name. The owners of a company are not responsible for its liabilities (unless they are a result of that person's wrong-doing).

Further Information

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