Setting Up Your Group

​​​After deciding on what legal structure to adopt the following information tells you how to go about setting it up.

Setting Up A Society

Required Information for Setting Up a Society

  1. Information on the Society
    1. name of the society (and 2 more alternative names for Normal Registration process);
    2. place of Business (defined as the place where the books and records of the society will be kept; and
    3. telephone and/or fax nos.
  2. Information on the Members
    1. names of 10 members;
    2. title of office (e.g. President, Secretary, Treasurer, Ordinary Member, etc);
    3. residential address;
    4. contact information (e.g. email, mobile no.,etc);
    5. nationality, resident status in Singapore, NRIC/FIN No., date of birth; and
    6. gender, marital status, race, dialect group, religion;
    7. educational qualifications, present employment status; and
    8. membership in other societies, if any.
  3. Documents
    1. constitution of the society;
    2. letters of affiliation (where necessary); and
    3. letters of approval or support from relevant government agencies, schools, organisations, personalities, etc (where necessary).
  4. Other
    1. SingPasses of the President, Secretary and Treasurer of the society;​
    2. email addresses of the President, Secretary and Treasurer of the society; and
    3. name, address and telephone / fax no. of a Contact Person for the application (optional).


Registration Process

There are 2 types of registration processes, Automatic and Normal.

Under the Automatic Registration process, a society is registered immediately upon the submission of its application cum declaration and payment of the registration fee. An automatically registered society can start its activities as soon as it is registered.

Under the Normal Registration process, a society has to wait for an in-principle approval from Registrar of Societies (ROS) after the society has submitted its application. The society is registered only upon payment of the registration fee after receiving ROS' in-principle approval. A normally registered society can only start its activities after its registration has been publicized in the Gazette.

Please note that the Registrar of Societies (ROS) is empowered under the Societies Act to order an automatically registered society to change its name or rules after its registration if he feels that the rules of the society would be contrary to national interest or prejudicial to the public peace, welfare or good order in Singapore.​

If it appears that an automatically registered society ought not to have been so registered as specified under the Schedule in the Societies Act, the Registrar may deem it to be registered under the Normal Registration process and claim from the society the difference in the amount of prescribed fees under the two different registration processes. Alternatively, the Minister may order the society to be dissolved.

The types of societies that do not qualify for Automatic Registration are listed in the Schedule. Societies that wish to register under Automatic Registration will need to declare whether they are eligible for Automatic Registration.


Registration Fees​​

​​​​

(a) Automatic Registration :

 $280, payable together with the application to register the society if application is submitted via ROSES.
 $300, payable together with the application to register the society if application is submitted via hardcopy forms.


 

(b) Normal Registration : 

 $400, payable only if your application is successful and the application is submitted via ROSES.
 $450, payable only if your application is successful and the application is submitted via hardcopy forms.



​​​​​​Submission of Applications


 

Societies can submit their applications via the Registry of Societies Electronic System (ROSES). The 3 key officers of the society, i.e. President, Secretary and Treasurer will be required to verify and submit the application online using their SingPasses. Supporting documents for attachment should preferably be in Microsoft Word format. Scanned documents should preferably be in PDF or TIF format. Societies wishing to submit an application over-the-counter can also collect from ROS or call to be sent a copy of the application forms for registering a society.


Obligations of a Society Upon Successful Registration


Registered societies are generally self-governing. In carrying out your activities, the societies has to abide by the prevailing laws in Singapore and by the rules of your own respective constitutions.

Under the Societies Act registered societies are required to:

  1. maintain proper accounts and records of the transactions and affairs of the society and get its accounts audited annually;
  2. submit an Annual Return and its audited of statement of accounts to the ROS annually;
  3. submit to the ROS an audited statement of accounts of any fund raising appeal 60 days after its completion;
  4. apply to change its name, place of business and rules; and
  5. apply to use any flag, symbol, emblem, badge or other insignia.


Application for charity status


The following documents must be submitted together with the application form:

  1. the society’s Constitution;
  2. certified Statement of Accounts for the last 5 financial years (if applicable); and
  3. documents showing the detailed plan of activities to be carried out or the funds disbursement plan to further the charitable purposes of the society.

If the Commissioner or Sector Administrator is satisfied that the application will not be against public interest he will register the society as a charity. In assessing the application he will consider the following:

  1. whether the society is related to any other institutions that has been removed form the register of charities or has been refused registration as a charity;
  2. whether the society has flouted any law or provided any false, misleading or inaccurate information;
  3. the polices and plans of the society;
  4. whether the members, who are to act as charity trustees, will be able to administer the society properly; and
  5. whether the activities planned are sufficient to further the charitable purposes of the society.

Each application takes about 3 months to process but there is no fee charged for registering a charity under the Charities Act.


Application for Institution of Public Character status


 

For an institution/fund to be an Institution of Public Character, its activities:

  • must be beneficial to the community in Singapore as a whole, and not confined to sectional interests or group of persons based on race, creed, belief or religion, unless otherwise approved by the Minister; and
  • must meet its objectives under its governing instrument and the objectives of the Sector Administrator.

The institution/fund must also be administered by a group of independent trustees. At least half of these trustees must be citizens of Singapore.

You may apply for the Institution of Public Character status online via this link with the following information:

  1. a valid Registry of Societies number;
  2. Governing Instrument (Constitution, Memorandum & Articles of Association, Rules & Regulations);
  3. Statement of Accounts for the last 5 financial years, if available;
  4. Annual Report for the last 5 financial years, if available;
  5. particulars of Board Members; and
  6. Singpass Account.

For more details on Institution of Public Character status, please refer to this site

Setting up a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG)

Before you can set up a non-profit organisation as a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG), a company needs to be set up first. Generally any person may register a company upon producing the required documents and the payment of the stipulated fee.

The Memorandum and Articles of Association (M&A) must be lodged in order to register the company and must include:

  1. The name of the company.
  2. The amount of money each member has undertaken to contribute to the company’s assets in case the company is to be wound up.
  3. The objectives of the company: in order to be registered as a charity, the purpose of the company must be exclusively charitable or of substantial benefit to the community in Singapore.
  4. Whether the legal responsibility of the members of the community is limited or unlimited.
  5. The management of the company:
    1. a minimum of 3 persons to act as the trustees (of which 2 must be Singapore citizens or permanent residents); and
    2. their duties and terms of office.
  6. The minimum number of trustees/members needed to have a meeting (minimum number is 3);
  7. Any amendments to the M&A must be approved by the Commissioner of Charities or the respective Sector Administrator.
  8. The circumstances under which the company can be dissolved and any remaining funds and assets (after settling all debts and legal responsibilities) should be given to other registered charitable groups or exempt charities with similar objectives.
  9. The company may then apply to be given a status as a charity 3 months after incorporation. The application needs to be submitted and processed by the Office of the Commissioner of Charities (Charities Unit, Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports) or the Sector Administrator based on the following categories of primary activities:
Category Processing Authority

Arts and Heritage

Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts

Community

People’s Association

Education

Ministry of Education

Health

Ministry of Health

Sports

Singapore Sports Council

Social and Welfare

Office of the Commissioner of Charities

Other charitable objectives, such as religious, environmental protection or improvement, animal welfare etc.

Office of the Commissioner of Charities

Multiple charitable objectives – for assessment on a case-by-case basis

Office of the Commissioner of Charities


Application for charity status


The following documents must be submitted together with the application form:

  1. the company’s M&A;
  2. certified Statement of Accounts for the last 3 financial years (if applicable); and
  3. documents showing the detailed plan of activities to be carried out or the funds disbursement plan to further the charitable purposes of the company.

If the Commissioner or Sector Administrator is satisfied that the application will not be against public interest, he will register the company as a charity. In assessing the application he will consider the following:

  1. whether the company is related to any other institutions that has been removed form the register of charities or has been refused registration as a charity;
  2. whether the company has flouted any law or provided any false, misleading or inaccurate information;
  3. the polices and plans of the company;
  4. whether the persons, who are to act as charity trustees, will be able to administer the company properly; and
  5. whether the activities planned are sufficient to further the charitable purposes of the company.

Each application takes about 3 months to process but there is no fee charged for registering a charity under the Charities Act. Please note, however, that the M&A of the company cannot be changed without the permission of the Minister.


Application for Institution of Public Character status


 

For an institution/fund to be an Institution of Public Character, its activities:

  • must be beneficial to the community in Singapore as a whole, and not confined to sectional interests or group of persons based on race, creed, belief or religion, unless otherwise approved by the Minister; and
  • must meet its objectives under its governing instrument and the objectives of the Sector Administrator.

The institution/fund must also be administered by a group of independent trustees and at least half of them must be citizens of Singapore.You may apply for the Institution of Public Character status online via this link, with the following information:

  1. a valid Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) number;
  2. Governing Instrument (Constitution, Memorandum & Articles of Association, Rules & Regulations);
  3. Statement of Accounts for the last 5 financial years, if available;
  4. Annual Report for the last 5 financial years, if available;
  5. particulars of Board Members; and
  6. Singpass Account.

For more details on Institution of Public Character status, please refer to this link.

Setting up a Trust

A trust is an arrangement set out in a document (trust deed) where a party would hand over certain property (trust property) to a group of persons (trustees) to administer the trust properly. In this case the aim is to set up a trust for a charitable intention. It must promote a charitable purpose and must not benefit any specific person.

To set up a trust for charitable purposes, the following are required:

  • a trust deed stating:
    • the trustees;
    • the charitable intentions of the trust; and
    • the benefit of the trust is wholly or substantially to the community in Singapore.
  • Board of Trustees containing at least 3 persons.

Under the Trustees Act, you would need to apply to the Minister for a certificate of registration of the trustees as a corporate body.


Application for charity status

​​

The following documents must be submitted together with the application form

  1. the trust’s deed;
  2. certified Statement of Accounts for the last 5 financial years (if applicable); and
  3. documents showing the detailed plan of activities to be carried out or the funds disbursement plan to further the charitable purposes of the trust.

If the Commissioner of Charities or the Sector Administrator is satisfied that the application will not be against public interest, he will register the trust as a charity. In assessing the application, he will consider the following:

  1. whether the trust is related to any other institutions that has been removed form the register of charities or has been refused registration as a charity;
  2. whether the trust has flouted any law or provided any false, misleading or inaccurate information;
  3. the polices and plans of the trust;
  4. whether the board of trustees will be able to administer the trust properly; and
  5. the activities planned and money disbursed are sufficient to further the charitable purposes of the trust.

Each application takes about 3 months to process, but there is no fee charged for registering a charity under the Charities Act.​

​​​​

​​
Contact Us
Name*

NRIC / ID no.*

Please specify your Query*

Contact number*

Email*