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Chapter 9 of 16

Registering a business and other admin tasks

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Small business guides > How to start a business: the ultimate guide > Registering a business and other admin tasks

Registering a business and other admin tasks

After all the excitement of deciding to start a business, you’ll have some paperwork to do. These first tasks as a business owner won’t be the most fun, but they’ll help keep you out of trouble with the law.

Person registering her business online

How to register a business with the government

 

You have a few official steps to walk through before you’re in business:

  • Register a business name
    Once you have come up with a suitable name for your business, conduct a search on BizFile+ to find out whether the name is available.

It is mandatory to register a business name via BizFile+ before you can register/incorporate your business entity.

  • Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)
    GST is only charged by GST registered businesses. Only businesses that exceed S$1 million in annual taxable turnover are required to register. However, companies with revenues below this threshold can voluntarily register as well. Click here to find out more.

There may be other departments to speak to for things like:

  • Permits and licenses – after successfully registering your business with ACRA, depending on the type of business you'll be running, you may need special permission before commencing. This means you need to apply for a license or permit from other government agencies before commencing business. Visit GoBusiness Licensing website to see if this applies to you.

  • Employing people – if you’re hiring staff, the government will want to track and tax your workers’ pay, and they’ll expect you to comply with employment rules and regulations.

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Where to get help

If you’re unsure of your obligations to the government, there are people who can help. Look for industry associations for your type of business; search around for a Chamber of Commerce and other local business advocacy groups; find businesses like yours and ask the owners what regulations they have to comply with; or simply speak to a local accountant.

Should I trademark a business name?

You can legally protect a business name and logo to prevent others from mimicking your identity. This can be a valuable step for businesses that plan to invest a lot in making their brand widely known.

This area of the law can get complicated – especially if you expand into overseas markets and find there’s a business there with a similar name. Ask for advice from a legal professional with experience in this area.  

At the very least, use online trademark registries to check that no one already has your business name. Many of them have search engines to help you see what names have already been taken. It’s an easy way to save yourself a lot of hassle.

Chapter 10: Small business insurance

There are dozens of things that can go wrong when you start a business. Fortunately, there are also dozens of small business insurance policies.

Read chapter 10

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