What Is A Unique Entity Number & What Do I Use It For?

For anyone in Singapore, the Unique Entity Number or UEN is a 9 or 10-digit standard ID number for different entities. These range from other kinds of businesses, partnerships or societies that interact with government agencies.

What's the Benefit of UEN?

The UEN is a single identification number that will let you interact conveniently with different government agencies.

Before introducing the UEN, anyone who needed to submit their corporate tax returns or apply for an import or export permit required different numbers. However, to streamline the identification numbers, the financial ministry introduced the UEN in 2009.

What Government Functions does the UEN Streamline?

After the introduction of the UEN number, only one number is necessary for almost every government function (i.e. ACRA, DOS, CPFB and IRAS). Therefore, it makes things much easier for organisations.

Who Can Apply for a UEN?

A unique entity number will be assigned by ACRA for different entities. These include businesses, local companies, LLPs, other societies and representative agencies. Each business entity can only receive one UEN.

There are a certain number of entities that are ineligible for a UEN. Here's a list of the entity types that won't receive a UEN:

1. Individuals won't receive a UEN; they will interact with government agencies with an NRIC number.

2. Entities that don't have any multiple interactions with government agencies won't receive a UEN. For example, the overseas company will sell products to government agencies that have a one-off basis.

3. Sub-entities of businesses such as branches and divisions won't get a UEN.

A government agency can pick to add sub-entity codes to the organisation's UEN in their system in a particular case. For example, the sub-entity code will enable government agencies to identify branches and divisions they need to have multiple interactions with!

Who Will Issue UEN?

The UEN is issued by Singapore mandated agencies with the capacity to register a particular form of entity. These agencies include: ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority), MOM (Ministry of Manpower), ROS (Registry of Societies) and MCCY (Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth).

Any business and local companies already registered with the ACRA will retain the ACRA registration number as a UEN.

Aside from the businesses and locally registered companies that already have an ACRA number, all other entities looking to register will receive a new UEN.

The purpose for retention of the existing ACRA registration number is to eliminate expenses associated with the registration process for a new UEN and limit disruptions.

Here's the basic format for the UEN number;

  • Businesses already registered with ACRA- nnnnnnnnX

The ‘n’ stands for the number, while the ‘X’ refers to a check alphabet.

  • Local companies already registered with ACRA – yyyynnnnnX

10-digit number where the ‘yyyy’ refers to the year of issuance, ‘nnnnn’ are numbers, and the ‘X’ refers to the check alphabet.

  • All other entities that will receive a new UEN – TyyPQnnnnX

10-digit number where the ‘tyy’ refers to the year of issuance, ‘PQ’ refers to the entity-type, and ‘X’ is the check alphabet.

How to Perform a UEN Search?

If you want to search for whether your company has an active unique entity number, you can look it up online. All you need to do is visit the Singapore government directory search.

This directory search will display the UEN, company name, status, the agency responsible for the issuance, the type of entity and a partial address.

If you're unsure whether your company or community already has a UEN, you can efficiently perform a search online to identify.

Other Benefits of a UEN

One of the significant benefits of getting a UEN is their deal with PayNow Corporate. PayNow Corporate gives the entity the option to pay and receive in Singapore dollars by instantaneously linking their UEN to the bank account.

There's no need to remember the bank and account number of their entities when they're looking to transfer funds or make a transaction.

Regular retail customers of the participating bank can now transfer funds to the entities and receive them via the same channel. However, to successfully receive the fund, entities must register for the service with the banking platform.

Where Should You Display the UEN?

Singapore law dictates that organisations and entities need to display their UEN on several different documents. These documents include letterheads, emails, invoices, receipts, order forms, brochures and leaflets.

Businesses also need to print their UEN on all print marketing media, websites and other online materials.

Conclusion

The UEN is an identification number that organisations can use to perform multiple different interactions with the government. Instead of worrying about different transaction numbers, one UEN is all the business needs to perform multiple different functions.

How Can Sprout Help?

Though the UEN has simplified the filing process for many businesses, it is vital to acquire the help of a professional in order to successfully guide your company by managing the many compliance requirements and filing deadlines. Interested? Engage with us and receive a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your company and what we can do to help.