Companies don’t change their names very often, because new names take getting used to and dilute whatever brand equity you’ve built with your previous name. However, if you do decide to change your company name in Singapore, it’s an easy process to do so. The country’s business-friendly policies make this a straightforward process.
Here’s a summary of the 3 steps to change your company name in Singapore:
- Reserve a name with ACRA
- Officially register your name with ACRA
- Pass a Special Resolution
Step 1. Reserve a name with ACRA:
The first step is to reserve your name. This makes sure no one else can take your name while you’re getting the other steps in this process done.
ACRA has some guidelines on company names. Your chosen name should:
- Not be sexually explicit, obscene, vulgar, or generally offensive
- Not infringe on someone else’s trade mark, copyright, or intellectual property
- Not be very similar or identical to a company name that’s already registered
- Not be very similar or identical to a company name that’s already reserved
- Not be prohibited by the Minister of Finance – e.g. “Temasek” cannot be used
Name reservation fees:
ACRA charges $15 to reserve a company name.
Names with controlled words:
Controlled words include terms like “bank”, “school”, “university”, etc. If you change your name to include these words, your application will take longer to approve.
Validity of reservation:
Once ACRA grants its approval, your chosen name will be reserved for 120 days. If you do not complete the whole name change process (i.e. finish step 2) within this timeframe, your reservation will be cancelled. You will need to spend another $15 to reserve the name again, if you still want to change your company name.
What if my name gets rejected?
You can appeal the rejection. An appeal will cost you $15. If your appeal is rejected, you’ll need to apply for a new name, and pay the $15 reservation fee again.
There are no refunds for rejected appeals or rejected names. Be wise about your chosen company name to save yourself money and time!
Step 2. Officially register your reserved name with ACRA:
After ACRA has approved the name reservation, you need to register your new company name with ACRA. This will be the 2nd last step to make the name change official.
Here’s the steps to register a name change with ACRA:
- Log in to BizFile+ (use your SingPass to log on)
- Go to “File e-Services”
- Go to “Local Company”
- Go to “Make Changes”
- Go to “Change in Company Information including Appointment/Cessation of Company Officers/Auditors”
Name change fee:
There’s a name change fee of $15.
Step 3. Pass a Special Resolution:
Changing a company name is a significant undertaking that requires the consent of most shareholders. You’ll need to pass a Special Resolution in order to have ACRA officially change your company’s name. See our guide on Special Resolutions for more details on what this is.
Here are the required steps to pass a Special Resolution:
- Prepare the written resolution to change your company name.
- Set a date for a shareholder’s meeting. The date must be at least 14 days in advance. Inform all shareholders. However, the meeting can be held earlier (e.g. 3 days in advance, 2 days in advance, etc.) if at least 95% of shareholders agree to it.
- Hold a vote. You must receive at least 75% of votes to pass the Special Resolution.
Make sure you submit a copy of the passed Special Resolution to ACRA within 14 days of the resolution being passed. You can submit this online via BizFile+ (go to File eServices > Local Company > Make Changes > Notice of Resolution). Late submissions can result in a penalty, so keep within this timeframe.
Your company profile will be officially updated after the Special Resolution is filed with ACRA. ACRA will send you a notice of incorporation with your company’s new name. The change of your company name will be effective once you receive this notice.
Change your name on all relevant business platforms and materials:
After you have changed your company name with ACRA, you should make sure to change your name on all your business platforms and materials used for communication.
Good areas to start updating your company name:
- Email address
- Google business listing
- Other business directories (e.g. YellowPages)
- Social media accounts (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
- Name cards
- Brochures, fliers, and other advertisements
- Company stamps
- Company gifts (e.g. branded mugs, branded calendars, branded T-Shirts, etc.)
- Other branded company material
If you registered your previous company name as a trade mark, you should consider registering your new company name under a fresh trade mark.
Do I need to inform IRAS of my name change?
No. Changes that are made with ACRA will be automatically transferred to IRAS. You don’t need to specifically inform IRAS, which saves you effort.
However, if you have matters that you need to settle with IRAS within 2 weeks of changing your company name, it’s a good idea to let IRAS know. You can inform them online through MyTax.
Does changing my company name stop lawsuits filed against my company?
No. The name change is largely cosmetic. Remember, your UEN doesn’t change. If you were involved in business lawsuits before the name change, the lawsuit will simply be updated to reflect your new company name. Whatever debts or legal troubles you were previously in will still continue to haunt the entity with the revised name.
What’s the total cost of changing my company name?
It costs $30.
Name reservation with ACRA: $15
Name registration with ACRA: $15
It could cost more than $30 total if the name that you try to reserve gets rejected, and you have to appeal the rejection, or reserve a new name. Refer to step 1 of this guide for more details.
How should I protect my company from business risks?
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