How to Start a Business in Singapore from New Zealand?

New Zealand and Singapore compete for the status of the world's friendliest place to do business. Singapore wins in terms of location and tax rates. We explain how to register a company here from New Zealand.

Why is Singapore such a good place to start a business?

Taxes are low, it’s very easy to start a company for both foreigners and locals, a foreigner can own 100% of a Singapore company, and the quality of life is high. The World Bank keeps naming Singapore one of the easiest places to open a new business.

Do I have to come to Singapore to open a company?

No, you can open and run your business from abroad and you only need to fly in once to open a bank account. For everything else get a local service provider.

Can I move to Singapore if I open a business there?

Sure. There’s a special type of visa called Employment Pass you can receive within 3-6 months. In order to qualify you need to pay yourself a salary. It must be no less than S$3,600 (NZ$3,900) but that is a threshold for University graduates. If you are more mature, your salary should be about S$6,000-S$8,000 (NZ$6,500-8,600), especially if you plan to bring family under Dependant Passes.

Is it mandatory to have employees in Singapore?

No, it’s not necessary. A foreigner can open a business in Singapore from abroad and not have a single employee there. As long as you have a resident director and a corporate secretary, you are fine.

What do I need to start a business from New Zealand?

Singapore company registration requires a local address, a corporate secretary, and a resident director. A Corporate secretary is a person certified under various regulations responsible for lodging and filing in time all necessary documents required by law. As for the director, your company can have as many as you want, but at least one needs to be local. All three services are commonly provided by special agencies.

Where do I get a resident director?

If you do not have someone who can play the role, hire a Nominee Director. For example, there can be two directors: you and the nominee. If you plan to move to Singapore, you only need the nominee service for 3-6 months while you apply for your Employment Pass. After that, you can be the only director.

A nominee formally holds director’s position, without any actual decision-making powers or authority to run the company. He is a company officer on paper, necessary to meet the requirements of the law.

How much does it cost to set up and run a company in Singapore?

Paid up capital can be just S$1 and you can increase it later if you wish, so that is not an issue.

The expenses include incorporation, government fees and the first year of necessary services — corporate secretary, local address, and nominee director. At Osome, we bundle all Singapore company registration services together into Bonanza package for S$2,550 (NZ$2,750) a year. That's a deal that covers all the Incorporation essentials for a foreigner: company registration, local address with resending correspondence to you, Unlimited Secretary including all resolutions, and a Nominee Director without any deposit required. At S$2,550, the price provides a S$440 (NZ$475) discount, making it one of the best offers for a foreigner.

If you move to Singapore, you’ll save on the nominee director service, but pay for Employment Pass (S$800 or NZ$850) and Dependant Passes for your family (S$400 or NZ$430).

S$50-S$500 (NZ$5-550) cost licenses required by some businesses like tourism or alcohol sales. Cost varies depending on your industry.

Monthly expenses may include renting an office (S$800 or NZ$850) or a co-working space (S$550 or NZ$600), hiring employees (S$4,000 or NZ$4,300 for a software engineer; S$1,700 or NZ$1,850 for a security guard) and so on.

What taxes will I pay?

New Zealand and Singapore have a double taxation agreement, so you avoid being taxed twice on the same income. Here are Singapore rates:

  • Corporate tax for SME is effectively progressive: from 0% on the first S$100,000 (NZ$108,00) to 17% after S$10,000,000 (NZ$10,800,000)
  • Once turnover grows over S$1,000,000 (NZ$1,080,000) you’ll have to register and pay a 7% GST. Unless you export your goods abroad, then GST is 0%
  • Tax on dividends is 0%
  • Personal income tax is progressive from 0% to 22%. For example, on salary of S$120,000 it’s S$7,950 (6.6%), on S$250,000 it’s S$30,700 (12.3%). In New Zealand dollars, on a salary of NZ$130,000 the tax is NZ$8,600 (6.6%), on a salary of NZ$270,000 it’s NZ$33,000 (12.3%).

See detailed calculation below.

Corporate tax rate for SME eligible for the start-up tax exemption (SUTE) scheme

Chargeable income, S$ Estimated tax, S$ Effective tax rate
100,000 0 0%
200,000 5,100 2.55%
300,000 10,200 3.40%
400,000 20,400 5.10%
500,000 36,000 7.20%
1,000,000 121,000 12.10%
2,000,000 291,000 14.55%
3,000,000 461,000 15.37%
5,000,000 801,000 16.02%
10,000,000 1,651,000 16.51%

Personal tax rate

Chargeable income, S$ Estimated tax, S$ Effective tax rate
first 20,000 0 0%
next 10,000 200 2.0%
next 10,000 350 3.5%
next 40,000 2,800 7.0%
next 40,000 4,600 11.5%
next 40,000 6,000 15.0%
next 40,000 7,200 18.0%
next 40,000 7,600 19.0%
next 40,000 7,800 19.5%
next 40,000 8,000 20.0%
over 320,000 44,550 22.0%

Next steps

If you want to register a Singapore company from New Zealand or you need more information, our experts are here to help. Get a free consultation in our secure chat.

This article was written by experts in Osome — online Incorporation, Secretary, and Accounting in Singapore. We help entrepreneurs from New Zealand to start and run a business without calls or flights to Singapore. We respond fast 24/7 in a secure chat. Learn more and get a free consultation on osome.com