“Words have meaning, but names? They have power- the power to change, the power to tell, the power to navigate success.”
If your business has changed and evolved with time, it will eventually need a new name that aligns with its level of success and novel perspectives. Because your company’s name is its identity, it is a way to tell your brand’s story to your customers and to set it apart from the others.
So, when the story of your business changes, the name should change too. However, the process of doing so might not be as simple as it sounds.
We have penned down everything you need to know to help you change your business name after incorporation in Singapore.
Process of Changing the Name
Decide The New Name For Your Company
Remember when you were first starting out, choosing a good name for your business required a lot of brainstorming? Unfortunately, you need to do that all over again.
However, this time, you will require the support and consent of your team leaders and even employees – because the change will affect everyone. Moreover, once you have a chosen name on the table, you will have to get it registered by the authorities in Singapore.
While choosing the new identity for your business, as per the Companies Act in Singapore, here is what you should not do:
- Avoid any names that are unsuitable, obscene in nature, religious, or deemed undesirable in any way
- Do your research, and avoid coming up with business names similar to those reserved and approved by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) in Singapore.
- Avoid names that are identical to registered and incorporated business names.
- Avoid names prohibited by the Ministry of Finance in Singapore.
Get The Chosen Name Approved By ACRA
Now that you have ensured that the chosen name is as per the rules, you must write down an application with the subject “Change in Company Name.” You will have to submit this application to ACRA alongside the newly chosen name for approval. A foreign company can change their business name only if its head office has done so.
Keep in mind that this application often requires IPA – in-principle approval – from certain relevant authorities depending on the proposed name.
There is a small fee of $15 for the process to change your company’s name as required by ACRA. You will have to use your Singapore CorpPass (digital identity for businesses to transact online with the Singapore Government agencies) to apply.
This pass will enable you to log on to the BizFile+ website to pay the fee and submit the application.
Prepare And Pass A Special Resolution To Change The Business Name
After ACRA approves the name, you must prepare and pass a special resolution in a general meeting.
Here is how to get through the special resolution:
- Write down a resolution to change the name of your company
- Decide a date, time, and venue for the general meeting
- Ensure that you inform all your shareholders about the meeting 14 days prior- if the shareholders with 95% of the voting rights agree, you can hold the meeting at a shorter notice if need be.
- To change the company name, 75% of the shareholders with the collective right of voting must agree to the resolution. If so, the motion of name change can be passed.
- Submit a copy of the passed resolution to ACRA within 14 days of the meeting. You can do it online on the BizFile+ website.
- Then, you have to wait until you receive the notice of incorporation with your new business name. That is when the name becomes effective.
Get The Company’s Profile Updated
Time to replace the old name with the new one!
You need to update the company profile with the new name, from physical or online marketing platforms to your business cards, brochures, signages, company stamps, and logos.
Do not forget to get a new trademark registered under the company’s new name if you need to. In addition, you can inform your suppliers and clients about this recent change. While you are not legally obligated to do so, just do it in good faith anyway.
Inform the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)
Once you have updated the new company name, the next step is to inform the IRAS if you think you need to do so urgently, such as when you are expecting a correspondence or tax refund from IRAS within two weeks after the name change.
Otherwise, you would not have to do anything, as IRAS automatically updates all the new information filed on ACRA every week.
Here is how you can send the following updated information to IRAS through the myTax Mail:
- Tax reference number
- The old name of the company
- The new name of the company
- Copy of ACRA’s approval notification (email or the Biz Profile from ACRA)
Ensure That You Update The Company’s Bank Account
Now that everything is in motion, and you have got your company a new name, do not forget to update all the bank account details for your business.
This will ensure that your clients face no problems making transactions with bank transfers or cheques. Banks will usually provide you with an update form to facilitate the process. In addition, you may be required to submit the board resolution and a copy of ACRA’s approval notification.
Ensure that all other bank services like the debit or credit cards get the name updates.
You must take all the necessary measures and abide by the legal rules and acts to change your business name. Moreover, a change in the company’s name by no means indicates that there would be any change in the company’s rights, obligations, strategies, ongoing workflow, or previous debts.
Now that you understand the process of changing your business name after incorporation in Singapore, here are some pointers to help you pick the right name for your business.
Hopefully, you can carry out your business operations under the new name hassle-free!