Goods and Service Tax (GST), similar to Value Added Tax (VAT) in many countries, is consumption tax on most domestic goods and services. It is currently at 7%.
GST is exempted for sales and leases of residential properties and most financial services. Export of goods and international services are not subjected to GST. GST is collected by suppliers of domestic goods and services who are registered with the Comptroller of GST. For importation of goods, GST is collected by Singapore Customs at the point of importation into Singapore.
A supplier of goods and/or services, whose annual revenue exceeds or likely to exceed S$1 million, is required to register with the Comptroller of GST. A supplier, whose revenue does not exceed S$1 million, can voluntarily register with the Comptroller if it is beneficial to the business. The approval of such registration is at the discretion of the Comptroller. Once voluntarily registered, the supplier must comply with the regulatory requirements and stay registered for a minimum of 2 years.
What is Singapore goods and services tax (GST)?
Singapore GST is a tax charged on the supply of goods and services made in Singapore and on the importation of goods into Singapore. The current rate for GST is 7%.
What goods and services are subjected to GST?
All goods and services are taxable and known as taxable supplies. However, some items are specifically exempt from GST by law. Exempted items include financial services and the sale or lease of residential properties.
When is it compulsory to Register?
Your business must be registered to collect GST if your annual turnover exceeds or is likely to exceed S$1 million from the sale of taxable goods and services. This requirement may be waived if most of your goods or services are exported or supplied internationally (“zero-rated supplies”).
Can I choose to register?
You may also apply to the Comptroller of GST to collect GST voluntarily. Approval for voluntary registration is at the discretion of the Comptroller. Once approval is given, you must remain registered for at least two years.
Why should I register?
- Most businesses register for GST to claim back the GST incurred on their business purchases.
- When GST paid exceeds GST collected, the difference can be claimed from IRAS as a GST refund.
- When GST rate increase, it may make business sense to voluntarily register to collect GST in order to claim back GST incurred on business purchases.
Who can register?
- Sole proprietorships
- Limited Liability partnerships
- Clubs, associations, management corporations or organizations
- Non-profit organizations
- Statutory boards
- Government bodies
What is “taxable tunrover”?
“Taxable turnover” is the total value of all taxable supplies made in Singapore (excluding GST) in the course or furtherance of business. This includes the value of all standard-rated (GST at 7 %) and zero-rated (GST at 0%) supplies but it excludes exempt supplies, out-of-scope supplies and the sale of capital assets. For the purpose of determining your liability for GST registration, the value of exempt supplies that are international services under Section 21(3) of the GST Act should also be excluded from your total taxable supplies.
Liability to Register
When am I liable to register for GST?
You are liable to register for GST when your annual taxable turnover exceeds S$1 million or you are currently making taxable supplies and your annual taxable turnover is expected to exceed S$1 million.
How to determine my liability to register?
You can determine your liability to register for GST using the prospective or retrospective view. The table below summarises your liability to register, notification of liability and effective date of registration under each of the two views.
||(A) Retrospective View
||(B) Prospective View
|Your liability will arise if:
||At the end of any quarter*, where the total value of all your taxable supplies made in Singapore in that quarter and the previous 3 quarters have exceeded S$1m. If you expect that the value of your taxable supplies in the next 4 quarters will not exceed S$1m, you are not required to be registered. However, please note that if the value of your taxable supplies for the next 4 quarters subsequently exceeds S$1 million, the Comptroller will backdate your GST registration.
||At any time, if there are reasonable grounds for believing that the total value of your taxable supplies in the next 12 months will exceed S$1m (You must be currently making taxable supplies to come under this basis. Otherwise, you should apply for voluntary registration).
|You are required to apply for GST registration:
||Within 30 days of the end of that relevant quarter*.
||Within 30 days from the date on which you made a forecast that your taxable turnover for the next 12 months will exceed S$1m.
|Your date of registration will be:
||End of the month following the month in which the 30th day falls.
||End of 30 days from the date of your forecast.
* Quarter means a period of 3 months ending on the last day of March, June, September or December.
Note: You should commence charging GST with effect from the date you are registered for GST. GST paid on your business purchases and imports can be claimed from this date onwards.
I am an overseas trader with no establishment in Singapore but I am making taxable supplies. Can I register for GST?
An overseas trader who contracts to sell goods in Singapore can register in his own name. The overseas trader must appoint a local agent to be responsible for all GST matters, i.e. collecting GST on local taxable supplies made or filing GST returns promptly, etc. For the overseas trader to appoint a local agent, a letter of authorisation must be submitted together with the form GST F1 “Application for GST Registration”. If there is a change of local agent, a letter of authorisation is required to enable us to update our records.
Are there any GST schemes to help businesses?
To create a pro-enterprise environment, Singapore has several assistance schemes relating to GST. These schemes generally help to ease the cash flow for businesses.
Goods and Services Tax Assistance Scheme
Get a grant to lower the costs involved in becoming a GST-registered trader. GST traders can collect GST and claim back for GST paid to suppliers.
Major Exporter Scheme (MES)
Major exporters can improve their cash flow by deferring GST payments on goods imported mainly for re-export out of Singapore.
Licensed Warehouse Scheme
Transform your warehouse into a licensed warehouse for storing dutiable goods. In licensed warehouses, duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) are suspended until the goods are released for sale into Singapore.
Zero GST Warehouse Scheme (ZGS)
Businesses can transform their warehouses into zero-GST warehouses to minimise red tape and bypass the GST process.
How it works
Alpha offers a GST Service that helps ease the process of filing and staying in compliance. Our accounts consultants can help you with the following:
I. GST Registration
We will register on your behalf with Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) and follow up with all queries regarding the registration.
II. GST Filing
We offer an assessment that determines the impact of GST registration on your company and customers. Based on the assessment, we will advise you on the optimum GST filing cycle for your company. Alpha offers monthly, quarterly and half yearly GST filing.
Our service also includes providing advice on compliance matters as well as any incentives provided by the government for voluntary registration.