A certificate of incorporation is the most convincing piece of evidence that a company has been registered correctly in Singapore.
You may have also heard that there are many different versions of this certificate. Others have asserted that only some Singaporean businesses are eligible to get a certificate of incorporation (COI).
Is there any way to tell what is true and what is not? First and foremost, what exactly is a Singapore certificate of incorporation? To what end does it serve? And where precisely in Singapore would one go to get one?
This post will cover the groundwork for all of these topics.
What is a Certificate of Incorporation?
Once a company is officially registered in Singapore, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) issues it with a certificate of incorporation.
This certificate serves as evidence that the firm was officially founded or incorporated on the specified date. Furthermore, it demonstrates that it has complied with all the legal requirements necessary for forming a firm. Only active, non-dormant
Singapore enterprises may apply for this document, which proves their continued existence.
Last but not least, it provides a legal signature from the Registrar attesting to the fact that it has its own legal identity, which is separate from its owners. Please note that the COI is not granted immediately upon the establishment of a business. Instead, a statement is sent via email as the first form of e-notification of incorporation. This information, provided in place of the COI, is made available to you by the Singapore registrar of businesses after you pay a supplementary fee.
For the price, you get the paper plus information like:
- Company identification.
- The UEN/Registration Number of the Company.
- The official date of incorporation.
- The organisational framework of the company.
- Name changes for this company (if applicable).
Overall, the certificate of incorporation serves as the equivalent of a company ID in Singapore.
The Importance of a Certificate of Incorporation
When the existence and legal status of the company are in question, the certificate of incorporation is usually requested as proof, particularly when:
- The firm is entering into any legal and/or commercial transactions, or
- Dealing with foreign governments or government agencies
A valid certificate is also required for the following professional pursuits:
- Establishing a Company Bank Account.
- Submit applications for loans and other sources of financing for your company.
- Proving that your company is legitimate by presenting appropriate documentation.
- Marketing your business to outside buyers.
Today, the vast majority of public records are kept digitally and made accessible online. As a result, parties doing due diligence on a transaction are more likely to make regular online searches of the Registrar’s public register of businesses to verify the status of the organisations they are dealing with.
What Organization or Institution in Singapore Is Responsible for Issuing a Certificate of Incorporation?
ACRA is the only government agency in Singapore responsible for the creation, authentication, issuance, distribution, and regulation of incorporation certificates.
It all starts with an electronic notice, which you should get when your firm has been formally formed. Emails of this kind are usually addressed to all officials of a Singapore business and the primary applicant for the registration.
At this point, you’ll be ready to submit an application for your company’s COI using Singapore ACRA’s BizFile+ platform. You can get a signed digital copy of the COI by paying a fee of S$50.
Where May One Get a Certificate of Incorporation?
One electronic copy of your certificate of incorporation will be sent to you at no cost when you register your business for the first time. This is sent by electronic mail to the company’s officials and the incorporation process contact.
This unsigned certificate of incorporation is provided at no cost to you. However, a signed copy of your company’s certificate of incorporation may be required for some commercial dealings. For example, you may need your company’s certificate of incorporation signed by ACRA to open your bank account for your business. Therefore, you must purchase an ACRA certificate of incorporation if a signed copy is required.
A new certificate of incorporation may be purchased if you’ve misplaced the original, need an up-to-date copy, or need to incorporate a business in another country.
You may get a certificate of incorporation in just three easy steps:
- Step 1: Start by signing into BizFile+. ACRA’s BizFile+ platform offers businesses a wide range of valuable services accessible worldwide.
- Step 2: Select “Buy Details”
- Step 3: Pay the S$50 processing charge.
- Step 4: Save an official copy of your organisation’s signed certificate of incorporation.
In less than 15 minutes, you will get an email with a download link for your legally signed certificate of incorporation.
To What Extent Can I Rely on a Certificate of Incorporation, and How Can I Confirm Its Authenticity?
As part of your due diligence when doing business with another company, you may wish to get a copy of their certificate of incorporation. There’s also the possibility that your company’s associates may want to check on the legitimacy of your certificate. Certificates of incorporation may be confirmed in two ways:
- Option 1: Read the certificate’s QR code using a smartphone camera. If it’s authentic, clicking this link will take you to a verification website.
- Option 2: Alternatively, you may use the Product Authentication page to enter your UEN and Authentication Number (both of which can be found on your Certificate of Incorporation). The findings will reveal its authenticity or falsity.
The process of validating the authenticity of a certificate is completely free.
Frequently Asked Questions – Certificate of Incorporation
- What if I can’t locate my certificate of incorporation or any incorporation paperwork?
If you had established your business after May 31, 2018, you should have received an electronic copy of the certificate of incorporation. Check your junk mail if you can’t find it in your inbox.
If your business was formed before May 31, 2018, and you lost the paper copy you had, you may get a new one for a small fee.
- Is it possible to buy a hard copy of the certificate of incorporation?
No. As of May 31, 2018, ACRA no longer issues paper copies of the certificate of incorporation. Now, Certificates of incorporation are only available in electronic format. You may have read on other websites that hard copies are offered as a service; this is no longer the case.
If you are looking to incorporate your business in Singapore and getting overwhelmed by the process or the paperwork required to get started, then you can always get in touch with us. HeySara strives to make the company incorporation process seamless for our clients, and we continue to be by your side even after you have set up your company. So, contact us today.