Similar to how individuals have their NRIC in Singapore to identify them, business entities have a Unique Entity Number (UEN). In Singapore, all business entities – be it a sole-proprietorship, partnerships and companies – will be issued with a 9- or 10-digit alphanumeric UEN when they register with ACRA.
What Is A UEN?
A UEN is the standard identification number of an entity. For businesses, your UEN will be issued free of charge when you successfully incorporate your entity with ACRA. Apart from businesses, other entities such as societies, charities, cooperatives, and even embassies, town councils, and government agencies have a UEN.
Your UEN will be used to identify you in all your interactions with government agencies. This includes updating entity particulars on ACRA, applying for import and export permits, making CPF payments, filing tax returns with IRAS, as well as registering for GST and even collecting payment via PayNow Corporate by linking your UEN to your business bank account.
Local companies registered with ACRA will have a 10-digit UEN, while local businesses will have a 9-digit UEN. Other types of entities will be issued with a 10-digit UEN. These UENs are all alphanumeric, and will look different depending on the type of entity it is issued to.
Do All Businesses Need To Get A UEN?
Certain businesses, such as those that operate using only their full name (as reflected in their NRIC), are not required to register with ACRA. Such businesses can still register under ACRA, and receive their UEN, if they wish to.
Foreign-based companies with limited interactions with the government will not require a UEN either. The government gives an example scenario of a government entity purchasing a product on a one-off basis from an overseas company, no UEN will be required.
Applying For A Special UEN (SUN)
Since your UEN is permanently attached to your business, you may prefer to choose your own UEN number. Termed a Special UEN (SUN), you can choose to apply for a Special UEN from a list of reserved numbers at the point of incorporating your business entity.
This concept is similar to bidding for your preferred Vehicle Registration Number (VRN) – where you can more easily identify with your UEN. You can view the list of available Special UENs on the ACRA website.
There are two tiers of SUNs:
SUN: Your Special UEN will have consecutive same number or any combination of 8.
SUN: Your Special UEN will have repetitive pattern (excluding 8) or end with a triple identical number.
There is also a $115 charge to apply for a Special UEN.
You can only choose from the list of available UENs, and cannot customise your own Special UEN. The Special UEN you are hoping to get may already be purchased by another business entity. Once you purchase a Special UEN or have received a system-generated UEN, you cannot change your UEN.
If you do not purchase a Special UEN, a free system-generated UEN will be issued to your business entity upon successful incorporation.
Where Must You Display Your UEN?
According to the Companies Act, you must display your business registration number or UEN “in a legible form on all business letters, statements of accounts, invoices, official notices and publications of or purporting to be issued or signed by or on behalf of the company”.
It also explicitly states that it is an offence if a company does not do so. For other publications such as cheques and receipts, there is no requirements for companies to include their UEN.
Even if you are not a company, it would still make sense to display your UEN prominently on your invoices and even on your website. This can help consumers and other businesses find you and verify your business entity status. As mentioned, you can also use your UEN as a method to collect payment via PayNow Corporate.
How Can I Find My Company’s Or Another Entity’s UEN?
You can go to the government’s UEN website to search all registered entities in Singapore using either their business name or UEN number.
Read Also: Guide To CorpPass And How To Set It Up For Your Company And Staff
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