The Basics of a Partnership

PartnershipA partnership is a type of business owned by between 2 and 20 partners. The prerequisites to forming a partnership in Singapore include being at least 18 years old and being a Singapore Citizen, a Permanent Resident (PR), or an eligible FIN holder.

The partnership, under the eyes of the law, has its own specifics:

  • It doesn’t constitute a separate legal entity from its owners.
  • Partners bear unlimited liability for all debts and losses of the partnership.
  • The partnership can prosecute or be prosecuted in the partners’ names.
  • The partnership can’t hold property under its name.
  • However, partnerships of professionals, like engineers, lawyers and architects, can have more than 20 partners, provided these professionals meet the qualifications set by their respective professional bodies.


Forming a Partnership

You can establish a partnership by registering the firm via Bizfile. But, before you do so, keep these steps in mind:

  • You need to register and get approval of the Business Name, note the reservation lasts only 120 days post approval.
  • Identify the primary and secondary activities of your business using their respective Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) codes.
  • Disclose the business and residential addresses of all partners. For confidentiality, partners can provide an alternative address to their residential one, as long as the former is within the same jurisdiction and reachable.
  • Once you’ve all the details, you can register the business on Bizfile with a partnership agreement that includes all partners and authorized representatives. Hiring a registered filing agent, such as a law firm, accounting firm, or a corporate secretarial firm, can help with online application submission.
  • Remember to pay the necessary registration fees.
  • Once registered, depending on business activities, you may need to apply for additional licenses and approvals. You can find more information on the GoBusiness Licensing website.
  • Make a decision on the accounting period once operations commence and prepare necessary accounting statements.


Can Foreigners Start a Partnership in Singapore?

Yes, foreigners residing overseas can register a partnership in Singapore, but must appoint a local resident as an authorized representative. Foreign owners must also use a registered filing agent for submitting an application with ACRA. If currently residing in Singapore, foreign individuals must get approval from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) before registering a partnership. If any proposed partner doesn’t have a SingPass account, a registered filing agent must act on their behalf.


Who Can Be an Authorized Representative?

When all partners reside outside Singapore, an authorized representative is required. This person can be anyone aged at least 18 years, with full legal capacity, and currently residing in Singapore. Both the endorsement of the authorized representative and the update of their details on Bizfile are required for the partnership.