In Singapore, the Value Added Tax (VAT) takes another form – the Goods and Services Tax (GST). GST is a type of consumption tax, which is levied on almost all supplies of goods and services in the country as well as on the import of foreign goods. There have already been several changes to GST, especially when it comes to its rates and registration, since its introduction in 1994. The registration for GST mainly falls under two categories: compulsory registration and voluntary registration.
Generally, if your annual taxable supplies are more than $1 million, your GST registration is compulsory. Otherwise, you have the freedom to choose whether or not you will register for GST voluntarily. To know more about registering for GST as a trader in Singapore, briefly discussed below are some of the essential information about GST registration.
Who is required to register for GST?
As mentioned, there are two main categories for registering for GST in Singapore. If you are not required to register for GST, you may decide to register on your own under the voluntary registration scheme. On the other hand, if you are liable for compulsory GST registration, there are specific rules that you need to follow. Here are some of them:
- With a taxable turnover of more than $1 million
This is the so-called retrospective view. It applies if your taxable turnover at the end of the calendar year exceeds $1 million. If you fall under this category, you should register for GST by January 30, and you shall already be registered on March 1.
- With an expected taxable turnover of more than $1 million
Also called the prospective view, this requirement states that if you can sensibly expect your taxable turnover to go beyond $1 million in the next 12 months, you need to register for GST within 30 days from the date of your forecast. On the 31st day from the said date, you shall already be GST-registered.
However, to be required to register for GST under the prospective view, your forecast should be based on specific measures, such as market assessment and business plans. It must be supported by significant documents, including signed contracts or agreements, accepted quotations, and invoices to customers with a fixed charge of monthly fees.
- Exemption from registration
Suppose your taxable turnover is derived mainly or entirely from zero-rated supplies. In that case, you may apply for an exemption from registration, even though your taxable turnover goes beyond the registration limits.
Similarly, you may also be exempted from registering for GST if you are liable for registration under the retrospective view only and not under the prospective view. To qualify for this exemption, the following conditions must be satisfied:
- Ensure that your taxable turnover for the next 12 months will not be more than $1 million.
- You expect your taxable turnover to be lower because of specific circumstances, such as largescale downsizing of your business.
- You can present supporting documents to validate your projection.
What are the requirements to register for GST?
Before you can register for GST, it is necessary for you first to be authorised in Corppass to access the GST registration digital services of IRAS. If you still do not have a Corppass account, you can register for one on the webpage for Corppass.
If you are registering voluntarily, you will also be required to sign up for GIRO for your GST payment and refund. GIRO is the preferred electronic method of paying such necessities as income tax, property tax, withholding tax, and GST.
Once you already have a Corppass account or are signed up for GIRO, you should complete a Singapore Goods and Services registration form called “GST F1.” The GST F1 should be sent to the proper tax authority along with some necessary supporting documents.
Usually, the registration process takes about three weeks. Upon successful registration, you will receive a notification of GST registration letter that shall contain your GST number, the effective date of your confirmation as a GST-registered entity, your filing frequency and filing deadlines, and other special instructions. Once you are already GST-registered, you will be required to file your GST returns electronically regularly. Failure to do so may result in penalties.
Registering for GST as a trader or business is not complicated. You only need to identify under which category of registration you fall and comply with the requirements to be able to register for GST successfully. Being GST-registered comes with several advantages. For one, GST inherently promotes savings and investments among businesses and individuals.
For more information and assistance regarding GST, you can contact us, as we offer GST assisted self help kits in Singapore for businesses.
Moreover, you can also find various other reliable and cost-effective services here at Max Lewis Consultants Pte Ltd, including transfer pricing services in Singapore, asset and business valuation, valuation of intellectual property rights, and more. Do reach out to us, so we can help your business meet all its needs and achieve all its goals.