This Is What Happens If Your Business Registration Expires

In general, anyone who wishes to carry out business activities in Singapore must register a business (e.g. sole-proprietorship) or a business entity (e.g. company or limited liability partnership) with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

There are several advantages to registering too. They include promoting greater transparency and discoverability of your business, as it allows member of the public to search and verify about your business and its owner(s). This also makes it easier for customers to identify, find and transact with your business.

In addition, it allows you to participate in government tenders and secure intellectual property or patents for new products and technology. It also gives your business access to governmental funding and support such as those offered by Enterprise Singapore. In some cases, it also allows you to better manage your business risks.

For sole proprietors, partnerships and Limited Liability Partnerships, fees for a one-year registration is $115. A three-year registration fee will be $175.

For companies, it is a one-time incorporation fee of $315 that includes the registration of a business name. 

Failure To Register Your Business

Failing to register your business may lead to a fine of up to $10,000, or even imprisonment of up to two years, or both.

From an operations viewpoint, failing to register your business also means that any contractual rights may not be enforceable. For example, an unregistered online retailer with payments unmade from a client may find themselves without legal remedies to reclaim it as their contract cannot be enforced. 

Renewing Your Business Registration – When And How

If you are continuing operations after the one- or three-year period, you need to renew your business registration before it expires. That’ll avoid any unwanted run-ins with the law. 

Your business registration can be renewed 60 days before its expiry date. To do so, you need a valid CorpPass account to renew your registration at BizFile+. The renewal fee is $30 for one year or $90 for three years. 

Note that the three-year option is only available if:

  • You have fully paid up your Medisave with the CPF Board, or
  • You are on a regular instalment plan (e.g. GIRO) to contribute to Medisave, and have a good record of Medisave contributions i.e. prompt Medisave contributions for up to 24 months prior to renewing the business registration, or
  • You have never been registered with CPF Board as a self-employed person

Existing business owners are encouraged to keep their Medisave contributions up-to-date, or the business may be subjected to early cancellation.

Note that this does not apply if you have incorporated a company, as company registrations do not expire.

Late Renewal Or Failure To Renew Your Business Registration

You pay a penalty of up to $250 for late renewal.

For sole proprietorship or partnerships, your business registration expires once it has lapsed and not been renewed. However, your business name will remain registered until your registration is cancelled. 

Carrying on your business after its registration has lapsed is an offence. You will be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000, or imprisonment of up to 24 months, or both. 

This article was first published on 17 December 2019 and has been updated.

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