Some business owners may wish to work from home and thus may want to use their HDB flats as their registered address. HDB does allow this under the Home Office Scheme.
To apply for a home office, you would need to make an application on the HDB website. The License for Home Office Scheme is valid for 5 years.
The advantages of having a home office are:

  1. It saves cost. This can be especially important for businesses that are starting out.
  2. Most businesses owners may choose to work from home and thus it may be easier to receive correspondences via their home address rather than having to travel to an office.
  3. It gives you the flexibility to look after your children or elderly at home while working.

Please note that not all businesses are permitted to operate out of an HDB flat.
Permissible businesses

  • Accountancy services
  • Architectural services
  • Consultancy services (e.g. business, engineering, IT/ management, education etc.)
  • Design/ advertising services
  • Transportation services
  • Estate agency
  • Insurance/ financial planning services
  • Technology-based/ knowledge-intensive business
  • Trading office

Non-permissible businesses
If your business is part of this list, you may use the flat as an administration office, and the flat address for business registration with ACRA. For such cases, any business activities carried out in the flats must be administrative. All other business activities are to be conducted elsewhere, and no clients or customers are allowed to visit the flat.

  • Beauty, hairdressing, or massage therapy services
  • Business by building/ renovation contractors
  • Car trading business
  • Card/ palm reading or fortune telling in any form
  • Commercial school (e.g. music school, language school, tuition centre, etc)
  • Conducting dress making/ embroidery lessons
  • Courier business
  • Food catering/ restaurants
  • Funeral chapels or homes
  • Maid/ employment agency
  • Mausoleums
  • Ophthalmic dispensary/ pharmacy/ medical/ dental clinic or veterinary medicine
  • Repair of household appliances, electrical products, footwear, etc.
  • Sales/ marketing that involves conducting seminars/ talks for large numbers of customers
  • Shops and any form of retail activity, including pet shops
  • Manufacturing, preparation, or processing of products and/ or goods such as:
    • Food products
    • Beverages
    • Textiles
    • Apparel
    • Handbags
    • Footwear
    • Wood and/ or paper products
    • Pharmaceutical products
    • Soap
    • Food chemicals
    • Additives
    • Joss sticks
    • Camphor products
    • Glass
    • Plastic
    • Rubber products
    • Domestic appliances
    • Watches and clocks
    • Other related products

There is no limit to the number of employees you can hire but only 2 non-residents are allowed to work in your HDB flat. These include partners, shareholders, directors and employees.
So long as you continue to be used primarily as a place of residence, the owner-occupied concessionary property tax rate will apply.
The disadvantages of having a home office are:

  1. The loss of privacy. Anyone can do a search on ACRA and see your business address and subsequently your home address.
  2. The restrictions on some types of businesses when operating out of an HDB flat.

The alternative to having a home office would be to have a physical office or a virtual office.
When in doubt, seek legal advice or consult an experienced ACRA Filing Agent.
Yours Sincerely,
The editorial team at Singapore Secretary Services
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