Every person, before carrying on business in Singapore, must register with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) except for those who come under the list of exempted categories under Section 4 of the Business Registration Act, Cap. 32.
Individuals and companies, being “legal identities”, may set up and own a sole-proprietorship or partnership. A sole-proprietorship or partnership, not being a separate legal entity, cannot register another sole-proprietorship or partnership. A foreign company also cannot register a sole-proprietorship or partnership unless it has registered itself under the Companies Act, Cap. 50.
Carrying on a business connotes some continuity in the activity carried out. Failure to register is an offence punishable with a fine of up to $5,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months or both.
Furthermore, it also results in the rights under any contract being unenforceable by the person who did not register, unless that person applies to the court for relief or permission to enforce such rights. It would therefore be in the interest of all persons intending to carry on business in Singapore, and those who are not exempted from registration, to register with ACRA.
Action will be taken against those who have breached the laws under ACRA’s purview. Members of the public may provide information on possible breaches to ACRA in writing.