A partnership is a business owned by a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 20 partners. To set up a partnership, you must be:
  • At least 18 years old,
  • A Singapore Citizen, Singapore Permanent Resident (PR), or eligible FIN holder.
The legal status of a partnership can be defined as follows:
  • It is not a separate legal entity from the business owners
  • The partners have unlimited liability for all the debts and losses of the partnership
  • It can sue or be sued in the partners’ names
  • The firm cannot own property in its name
A partnership formed by professionals with the required qualifications laid down in written law to carry on that profession can have more than 20 partners. These firms include engineers registered under Professional Engineers Act,  lawyers registered under the Legal Profession Act, and architects registered under the Architects Act.

Formation of a Partnership

A partnership can be formed by registering the firm via Bizfile. But before you register, the following steps need to be taken:
  • Register and get the approval of the Business Name. The name is reserved only for 120 days after the approval.
  • Specify the primary and secondary activities of your business by choosing the most relevant Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) code corresponding to your business activity.
  • Provide business and residential addresses of all the partners. As the residential address is made available to anyone who purchases information about the business entity, partners have an option to provide an alternative address as well if they don’t want to disclose their residential address. The alternate address must be one where you can be contacted and must be within the same jurisdiction as the residential address.
  • Register the business on Bizfile along with a partnership agreement between all the partners and authorized representatives. You may also appoint a registered filing agent (e.g. law firm, accounting firm, or a corporate secretarial firm) to submit the online application on your behalf.
  • Pay the required registration fee at different stages.
  • After registration, apply for additional licenses and approvals depending on your business activities. For more information, visit GoBusiness Licensing.
  • Decide on the accounting period once the operations start.
  • Prepare required accounting statements.

Can foreigners start a Partnership in Singapore?

Foreigners who are residing overseas and want to register a partnership must appoint at least one local resident authorized representative. The foreign owner(s) must also engage a registered filing agent to apply with ACRA. Foreigners who are currently residing in Singapore must seek approval from the MOM before registering a partnership. If any of the proposed partners do not have a SingPass account, the applicants must engage the services of a registered filing agent to submit the application on their behalf.

Who can be an Authorized Representative?

An authorized representative is required when all the partners are residing outside Singapore. Any person meeting the following conditions can be an authorized representative:
  • A natural person
  • At least 18 years old
  • Of full legal capacity
  • Locally resident in Singapore
The partnership firm needs an endorsement by the authorized representative(s) and also needs to update their details on Bizfile to appoint them.