The answer is yes. Since 10th June 2003, the Home Office Scheme allows businesses, be it sole proprietors, partnerships or companies, to use their residential address as the registered business address. If you are living in a Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat, you will need to obtain prior approval from the HDB and if you are living in a private property, you will need to seek approval from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
Here are the links:
URA Home Office Scheme: https://www.ura.gov.sg/Corporate/Guidelines/Home-Business/Home-Office-Scheme
Some guidelines for the Home Office Scheme:
The validity of the Home Office Permit
The one-time permit is valid for the duration of your home office business. It may be revoked if conditions are breached.
Restrictions and Conditions for the Home Office Scheme
Restrictions and performance criteria ensure that the scale of the home office use is kept small so that it does not disturb or cause inconvenience to the neighbours. These include:
- not hiring more than 2 non-resident employees
- not displaying any external business signage or advertisements
- not generating noise, smoke, odour, waste matter or dust
- the use does not fall within the list of businesses that are not permitted under the HO scheme (e.g. car trading business, shops and any form of retail activity, etc)
You must be:
- 18 years old or above
- The flat owner, authorised occupier, or tenant of the flat
Registration with ACRA
- Before starting operations, you must register your business with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), unless it is exempted under the Business Registration Act
- If you prefer, you can apply for a Licence for the Home Office Scheme before registering your business with ACRA. In such cases, please select your profile as “Individual (I am an applicant not representing any company or applying on behalf of any other people)” before you complete the application. You can subsequently register your business at a later stage
Conditions of flat use
- Your flat must remain primarily as a place of residence, with any business use being the secondary purpose and confined within the flat
- You cannot use your flat as a home office or registered address for a society
Your business and/ or its activities must not:
- Generate noise, smoke, odour, chemical/ liquid waste, or dust, which could become a nuisance to your neighbours
- Be illegal, unlawful, or immoral (e.g. gambling or pornography-related activities)
- Introduce or cause extraneous human or vehicular traffic to the surroundings or neighbourhood
- Involve any form of solicitation of business that could cause annoyance or disturbance to the residents or public (e.g. distribution of brochures, door-to-door visits)
- Sell/ buy any physical goods in or around the flat
- Display any signage, advertisements, posters, etc
- Adversely affect the character, ambience, and environment of the residential estate
In short, you can use your home address as the registered address of your business or company. Your home office may not be the place where you conduct your business. For example, a tuition agency may be registered at home and the administrative work will be done at home but the agency may hold classes at venues outside of the home office.
When in doubt, seek legal advice or consult an experienced ACRA Filing Agent.
The editorial team at Singapore Secretary Services
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