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Role of Singapore GST for a Registered Business

Last modified: June 2, 2016
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Understanding GST Singapore

Goods and Service Tax of SingaporeGST is the abbreviated form of Goods and Service Tax levied on supply of goods and supply of services in Singapore. GST is also levied on the goods imported into Singapore. The services that are exempted from GST are sale and lease of residential property, local supply of precious metal and financial services. International services and exporting of goods are zero-rated. GST is known as VAT (Value Added Tax) in many other countries. The Comptroller of GST collects GST. The tax regulatory authority of Singapore Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) brought GST into existence in April, 1994 at 3%. Currently it is rated at 7%, which was increased in July, 2007. GST is levied on expenditure, hence, it is considered as an indirect tax. In this article, an overview of GST is given, what is the process to register for GST? Who are required to register for GST? When and why one should register for GST? Singapore government schemes for GST.

How and when one can register for GST in Singapore?

The process to register for GST in Singapore is as easy as Singapore company registration. The first step is to determine from the two types available for GST registration – Compulsory and Voluntary. When the annual taxable turnover of supply of goods or services is above S$1 million or is likely to exceed this figure in a 12 months’ time, the Compulsory GST registration can be opted. Otherwise the Voluntary GST Registration can be opted at the discretion of the Comptroller of GST. Once selected voluntary registration, one has to be registered for a minimum period of 2 years.

To register for GST, one needs to obtain a GST-F1, i.e. The Singapore Goods and Services Registration Form, which has to be submitted with all supporting documents to the Comptroller of GST. If it is a partnership firm, an additional GST-F3 form, has to be furnished, providing complete details of all the partners. Separate forms have to be submitted for group registration, divisional registration and/or overseas companies. Once the documents are in place, it takes almost 3 weeks to get a successful GST registration. A letter containing the GST number and other instructions such as filing frequency and due dates are sent to the registered beneficiary, who can then electronically file GST returns.

Who and why one should register for GST in Singapore?

A sole proprietor, partnership firms, limited liability partnerships, companies, organizations, associations, management corporations, clubs, government and statutory bodies, and nonprofit organizations can register for GST Singapore. There are many benefits involved in GST registration:

  • When a self employed person or a wage earner is spending his money, he is liable to pay tax.
  • Tax is levied on consumption and not on investments and savings
  • GST registration provides the authenticity of an established business by giving impression to its clients of a big establishment.

GST schemes that help businesses in Singapore

Company registration in Singapore makes the decision easy for GST registration as well. A registered company in Singapore enjoys the benefits of many GST schemes offered by the Singapore government.

  • Major Exporter Scheme (MES): helps the businesses who are substantially importing and exporting goods by easing the cash flow.
  • Specialised Warehouse Scheme (SWS): helps warehouses that provide specialized storage facilities to overseas person, who are going to export the stored goods.
  • Zero GST Warehouse Scheme (ZG): This scheme is under the administration of Singapore customs. The non dutiable overseas commodities can be imported in the ZG warehouse where GST is suspended.

The above schemes list is not exhaustive. There are many other GST schemes beneficial to business in Singapore, which can be explored through IRAS.

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