+65 64600199

In Singapore, a public company limited by guarantee (CLG) serves as an ideal choice for non-profit activities with national or public interest. This legal structure offers members protection from personal liability and requires registration with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority Singapore (ACRA), as part of the Companies Act guidelines. Entities such as Temasek Foundation and The National University of Singapore are prime examples of CLGs. While not inherently charitable, these companies can attain charity status and enjoy tax exemptions if certain criteria are met. This guide explains what is a guarantee company, the company limited by guarantee meaning, and essential information on the guarantee company formation in Singapore.

Key Takeaways

  • Public companies limited by guarantee (CLGs) are designed for non-profit activities in Singapore.
  • CLGs need to register with ACRA and adhere to the Companies Act.
  • Temasek Foundation and The National University of Singapore are notable examples of CLGs.
  • A CLG can attain charity status and enjoy tax exemptions under specific conditions.
  • CLGs protect members from personal liability and provide certain advantages, such as tax benefits and operational flexibility.

An Overview of Company Structures in Singapore

Singapore offers a diverse range of company structures designed to cater to various business needs and objectives. Each of these structures presents its own set of advantages and regulatory requirements. In this section, we will explore the different business entities in Singapore available for entrepreneurs, with a focus on the unique features and characteristics of the public company limited by guarantee (CLG).

Establishing a company in Singapore requires registration with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). Each company structure available in the country comes with its own registration criteria and processes. To provide a clearer understanding of the company registration Singapore process, here are the primary company structures present in the Singaporean business landscape:

  1. Public Companies Limited by Shares
  2. Private Companies Limited by Shares
  3. Unlimited Public and Private Companies
  4. Exempt Private Companies
  5. Public Companies Limited by Guarantee (CLG)

Among these company structures, the public company limited by guarantee is particularly popular for non-profit operations. Being governed by both ACRA and the Companies Act, CLGs have a unique set of features and requirements that set them apart from other structures.

Key Point: A public company limited by guarantee (CLG) is a prominent choice for non-profit operations in Singapore, subject to governance by ACRA and the Companies Act.

One important aspect of the CLG structure is its corporate tax rate. In Singapore, CLGs are required to pay a corporate tax rate of 17% on chargeable income. However, certain activities performed by the company may qualify for tax exemptions, reducing the overall tax burden on the organization.

company structures in Singapore

Understanding the different company structures and their respective requirements is crucial for entrepreneurs aiming to establish a successful operation in Singapore. In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the specifics of the public company limited by guarantee structure, its unique features, and the benefits it offers for non-profit organizations.

Defining the Public Company Limited by Guarantee

A public guarantee company in Singapore provides a unique business structure, specifically designed for non-profit organizations. With a focus on areas such as education, poverty relief, or community advancement, these guarantee companies operate under specific requirements and regulations to ensure their activities align with Singapore’s legal framework for ‘good works.’

Public Guarantee Company in Singapore

The Nature of Non-Profit Activity and Legal Entity

Guarantee companies, like the CLG, are established as distinct legal entities, separate from their members. This structure provides members with valuable liability protection for their personal assets while enabling the organization to focus on its non-profit objectives. As a separate legal entity, the CLG has the capacity to enter into contracts, own property, and employ staff to fulfill its mission.

Public guarantee companies in Singapore are particularly well-suited to non-profit missions in areas such as education, poverty relief, or community advancement, offering liability protection to members and alignment with the country’s legal framework for ‘good works.’

Company Registration with ACRA and Companies Act Governance

For a guarantee company in Singapore to operate, it must meet specific registration criteria and be compliant with the Companies Act. Company registration begins at Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), which oversees and enforces these requirements.

  1. Define the organization’s objective: The company must have a clear and well-defined purpose, such as education or community development.
  2. State member obligations: Member contributions to the company’s assets upon dissolution must be clearly articulated.
  3. Meet registration criteria: A guarantee company must comply with all registration requirements mandated by ACRA, such as the appointment of directors, submission of necessary documentation, and payment of fees.

Once a guarantee company is set up and registered, it must continuously adhere to corporate governance and taxation laws, maintaining its non-profit status in line with Singapore’s legal requirements.

Charity Status and Tax Exemptions for Guarantee Companies

A public company limited by guarantee (CLG) in Singapore can acquire charity status with corresponding tax exemptions, offering distinct guarantee company advantages. To secure charity status, the CLG must adhere to non-profit operations, have purely charitable purposes, and serve public interests. While such entities need to navigate tax obligations, they stand to gain from certain exemptions contingent on activities performed and membership dynamics.

Attaining charity status, an organization can enjoy non-profit tax benefits Singapore through:

  • Exemptions from corporate income tax
  • Exemptions from withholding tax for certain payments made to non-residents
  • Relief from other taxes, such as property tax and motor vehicles tax

tax exemptions Singapore

However, achieving and maintaining charity status in Singapore requires compliance with specific requirements outlined by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), such as:

  1. Registering with the Commissioner of Charities
  2. Adhering to the Charities Act and other relevant laws
  3. Submitting regular financial reports and annual returns to the Charity Commissioner and IRAS
  4. Ensuring that income and property are used solely to promote the organization’s charitable objectives

“A CLG in Singapore can acquire charity status with corresponding tax exemptions; this requires adherence to non-profit operations, having purely charitable purposes, and serving public interests.”

When a guarantee company successfully obtains charity status and observes necessary compliance measures, the organization can leverage the numerous non-profit tax benefits Singapore offers. These exemptions contribute to the overall growth and reach of the company while serving a greater purpose within the community.

Public versus Private Companies: The Role of Guarantee Members

The core distinction between a public company limited by guarantee and a private company limited by shares lies in their ownership structure and the distribution of profits. It is crucial to understand these differences to determine the best company type for your organization.

Public companies limited by guarantee have members with limited financial obligations, and they do not distribute profits. On the other hand, private companies have shareholders with liabilities proportionate to their shareholdings, and they may receive dividends.

One of the main goals of a public company limited by guarantee is to serve in the public or national interest, such as in the education, charity, or social sectors. These companies operate on a non-profit basis, which means they need to reinvest any profits generated back into their mission and objectives; distributing profits among members is not allowed.

liability protection

In contrast, a private company limited by shares typically exists for profit-making purposes, allowing shareholders to receive dividends based on their stake in the company. Apart from the profit-sharing aspect, private companies can enjoy a broader range of business activities and objectives as compared to a CLG.

The CLG members’ role in a guarantee company is essential. They must actively participate in the company’s governance, ensuring that the organization conducts its operations in a manner consistent with the company’s objectives, mission, and legal framework.

  1. Liability Protection: Both guarantee companies (CLGs) and private companies limited by shares provide their members with a certain level of liability protection against company debts and obligations. The extent of this protection depends on each member’s financial obligation agreed upon during the company’s formation process.
  2. Profit Distribution: CLGs do not distribute profits among members; instead, they reinvest them back into the company’s objectives and operations. Conversely, private companies limit the financial burden on shareholders while allowing them to receive dividends from company profits.
  3. Decision-making: CLG members participate in company governance, approving key decisions, and taking part in annual general meetings. In contrast, shareholders in private companies have the power to appoint directors and make decisions based on their shareholding percentages.

Understanding the differences between public companies limited by guarantee and private companies limited by shares is essential for organizations seeking to establish a new venture. Depending on the operational objectives and the industry in which the entity will function, either a CLG or a private company might prove more suitable.

Key Examples of Guarantee Companies in Singapore’s Landscape

The landscape of notable CLGs in Singapore is diverse, with organizations operating in various sectors such as education, charity, and community welfare. Utilizing the public company limited by guarantee structure enables these entities to limit liability while staying true to their non-profit missions.

Two of the most prominent examples will now be discussed in more detail, those being the Temasek Foundation and the National University of Singapore.

Noteworthy CLGs such as Temasek Foundation and the National University of Singapore showcase the broad applications of guarantee companies in the realms of education, charity, and community welfare. These organizations leverage the CLG structure for limited liability and adherence to their non-profit missions.

Illuminating the Roles of Notable CLGs

The Temasek Foundation is a non-profit organization in Singapore that actively contributes to the betterment of lives in the region. Their philanthropic work focuses on programs in sustainability, healthcare, and education to improve the communities they operate in. By adopting the CLG structure, the organization benefits from limited liability and the flexibility to adapt its activities to meet its goals.

Meanwhile, the National University of Singapore (NUS) is one of the leading educational institutions in the country. As a CLG, NUS is able to focus on providing a high-quality education and advancing research efforts without the profit-driven pressures of a private company limited by shares. The CLG legal structure allows the university to be dedicated to its mission of promoting knowledge and fostering talent, while offering protection from personal liability for its members.

These examples demonstrate the variety of non-profit organizations in Singapore utilizing the public company limited by guarantee model:

  • Temasek Foundation – operating in sustainability, healthcare, and education
  • National University of Singapore – promoting educational excellence and research

In conclusion, the flexibility of the CLG structure and the limited liability it provides make it an appealing option for non-profit organizations in Singapore. With its diverse applications showcased by Temasek Foundation and the National University of Singapore, the CLG model plays a crucial role in fostering the growth of valuable institutions dedicated to improving society as a whole.

Benefits and Advantages of Operating as a Guarantee Company

The public company limited by guarantee (CLG) in Singapore provides businesses catering to non-profit activities with a flexible structure. This type of business entity comes with numerous guarantee company advantages and benefits. In this section, we discuss some key advantages, including limited liability guarantee, flexibility, and potential tax exemptions.

  1. Liability Protection: One of the most significant non-profit entity benefits of a CLG is its limited liability guarantee. The structure helps protect members’ personal assets from the company’s debts and liabilities, ensuring that their exposure is limited to their individual guarantee amounts.
  2. Flexibility in Company Purposes: CLGs are recognized legal entities in Singapore, allowing them to operate for various purposes such as education, humanitarian activities, and other non-profit endeavors. This flexibility allows organizations to adapt their objectives while maintaining the benefits of a CLG structure.
  3. Potential Tax Exemptions: Despite being liable to the corporate tax rate of 17%, a CLG can still benefit from tax exemptions, depending on their income sources and if specific criteria are met. Acquiring charity status and meeting public interest requirements can further enhance a CLG’s tax exemptions.

In summary, the public company limited by guarantee in Singapore constitutes an attractive option for organizations primarily focusing on non-profit activities. The guarantee company advantages, including limited liability guarantee, flexibility, and potential tax exemptions, provide a strong foundation for organizations wanting to create a sustainable and impactful presence in their respective sectors.

Compliance and Tax Obligations for a CLG

Incorporating a public company limited by guarantee (CLG) in Singapore calls for a comprehensive understanding of the legal and operational requirements, including both compliance and tax obligations. These factors can influence the organization’s ability to deliver upon its non-profit mission and goals.

Understanding Licensing and Tax Requirements

Operating a CLG in Singapore includes securing appropriate licensing in accordance with the activities performed and ensuring compliance with corporate income tax obligations. The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) serves as a key regulatory body for oversight and guidance. While CLGs are subject to Singapore’s standard corporate tax rate of 17%, certain exemptions may be applicable depending on the organization’s specific activities and operational structure.

It is crucial for a CLG in Singapore to consistently meet compliance regulations and tax obligations set forth by regulatory bodies such as ACRA, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), and the Ministry of Finance (MOF).

Incorporating Compliance into Strategic Planning

Strategic planning within a CLG encompasses governance aspects such as reporting practices, risk management, and reputation management. A growth-centric and socially responsible strategy includes both financial transparency and adherence to regulations like the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) policies set forth by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Key compliance aspects to address during strategic planning are:

  1. Strong corporate governance and ethical practices.
  2. Financial transparency and responsible budgeting.
  3. Adherence to Singapore’s regulatory requirements, including licensing, taxation, and AML/CFT regulations.
  4. Regular staff training and updates on compliance matters.
  5. Regular audits and assessments to identify risks or potential areas of improvement.

Effective compliance management supports a CLG’s long-term growth, prevents abuse, and fosters a robust organizational structure in line with Singapore’s comprehensive legal landscape.

In summary, a CLG in Singapore must be diligent and proactive in addressing compliance and tax obligations as part of its overall strategic planning process. By understanding licensing requirements, seeking available exemptions, and adhering to regulatory policies, CLGs can focus on delivering impactful outcomes within their non-profit endeavors while maintaining the integrity and legality of their operations.


In summary, grasping the nuances of operating a public company limited by guarantee is crucial to successfully navigating Singapore’s diverse corporate environment. The distinctive structure of CLGs allows them to serve non-profit purposes in various sectors, such as education, poverty alleviation, and community development. By providing asset protection for their members, CLGs serve as an attractive choice for non-business entities.

Establishing and managing a public company limited by guarantee in Singapore involves several vital steps, including registering with ACRA, acquiring charity status, understanding tax responsibilities, and compliance with various regulations. With thorough strategic planning and adherence to Singapore’s legal framework, CLGs can thrive and make a meaningful impact in the non-profit sector.

Ultimately, any organization or group aiming to form a public company limited by guarantee in Singapore should diligently research the methodology and requirements involved in its setup. By doing so, they can fully maximize the strategic advantages of this unique corporate structure, paving the path for successful CLG operations within the country’s dynamic business landscape.


What is a public company limited by guarantee in Singapore?

A public company limited by guarantee (CLG) is a type of non-profit legal entity in Singapore designed for non-profit activities with a national or public interest. It offers protection to members from personal liability and is regulated under the Companies Act after registration with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority Singapore (ACRA).

How does a CLG differ from other company structures in Singapore?

A CLG is specifically designed for non-profit operations, whereas other structures such as private/public companies limited by shares, unlimited private/public companies, and exempt private companies cater to different types of business needs. A CLG mainly focuses on sectors like education, poverty relief, or community advancement and has no share capital.

How do I set up a public company limited by guarantee in Singapore?

To set up a CLG, you must reserve a company name, register with ACRA, provide necessary information including directors’ details, and agree on member contributions in the event of the winding-up. Registration fees include S$15 for the company name reservation and S$300 for registration.

Can a CLG in Singapore attain charity status and tax exemptions?

Yes, a CLG can acquire charity status and corresponding tax exemptions if it adheres to non-profit operations, has purely charitable purposes, and serves public interests. However, tax obligations and exemptions largely depend on the activities performed and membership dynamics.

What are the key benefits of operating as a CLG in Singapore?

The main benefits of a CLG include liability protection for the members, flexible use in various non-profit sectors such as education or humanitarian activities, and possible tax exemptions, depending on income sources and company activities.

What are the compliance and tax obligations for CLGs in Singapore?

CLGs must adhere to licensing and corporate income tax obligations, as well as comply with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulations. Tax exemptions may apply, but it is crucial for a CLG to adhere to rules set forth by ACRA and other regulatory bodies.

What are some notable CLGs in Singapore?

Some noteworthy CLGs in Singapore include the Temasek Foundation and the National University of Singapore, which showcase the broad applications of guarantee companies in education, charity, and community welfare sectors.