GST ASK/ACAP Review & Tax

GST Assisted Self-help Kit (ASK)

* ASK is a comprehensive self-assessment compliance package that aids businesses to review the correctness of their GST submissions and discover past GST errors early so as to qualify for IRAS’ Voluntary Disclosure Programme. GST-registered businesses may adopt ASK on voluntary basis. But conducting ASK is compulsory when you are applying for or renewing these GST Schemes.

We successfully obtain certification for clients who apply for or renew Major Exporter Scheme (MES), Import GST Deferment Scheme (IGDS), Approved Third Party Logistics Company Scheme (A3PLCS). 

The majority of our clients apply for or renew their certification under the MES. Our clients are in the business of trading of pumps, motors, spare parts, trading of copier consumables, shipping, general import and export with logistics warehousing.

Our achievements include:-

Major Exporter Scheme (MES)

Notable clients include Nittsu Shoji (Singapore) Pte Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nippon Express Co. Ltd, Japan.

Import GST Deferment Scheme (IGDS)

We successfully obtained certification for Kim Siang Jewellery, a local SME under this scheme.

Approved Third Party Logistics Company Scheme (A3PLCS)

We successfully obtained certification for Nissin Transport (S) Pte Ltd under this Scheme.

Approved Marine Fuel Trader Scheme (AMFT)

Consort Bunkers Pte Ltd is one of our clients under this Scheme.

If you are also applying for the following schemes, we can assist you with the ASK self-review:

Approved Contract Manufacturer and Trader Scheme (ACMT)

Contract manufacturers and traders under this scheme are relieved of the need to account for GST on value added activities supplied to non-GST registered overseas customers or overseas persons who are registered under the Overseas Vendor Registration (OVR) regime as a pay-only person.

Approved Import GST Suspension Scheme (AISS) (For Aerospace Players)

Under AISS, GST-registered businesses in the aerospace industry enjoy added import GST suspension benefits for qualifying aircraft parts.

Approved Marine Customer Scheme (AMCS)

Under AMCS, GST-registered businesses enjoy zero-rating on purchases or rental of goods and repair or maintenance services on ship parts or components under qualifying conditions.

Approved Marine Fuel Trader Scheme (AMFT)

Under AMFT Scheme, approved businesses need not pay GST when making local purchases of approved marine fuel oil from any GST-registered suppliers.

Approved Refiner and Consolidator Scheme (ARCS)

Under this scheme, Approved Refiners and Approved Consolidators enjoy certain benefits including GST suspension on qualifying imports and additional input tax benefits.

Approved Third Party Logistics Company Scheme (A3PLCS)

Under this scheme, approved logistics companies that provide logistics management services to overseas clients do not need to pay import GST or charge GST on the supplies of their overseas clients’ goods under certain circumstances.

Specialised Warehouse Scheme (SWS)

Under this scheme, qualifying services performed on qualifying goods in Approved Specialised Warehouses and the lease/ tenancy/ licence of storage space in these warehouses can be zero-rated to overseas persons.

GST Assisted Compliance Assurance Programme (ACAP)

ACAP is a compliance initiative for businesses which voluntarily conduct a holistic risk-based review to endorse the effectiveness of their GST controls. The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) introduced ACAP in 2011, in order for large businesses to have a robust GST control framework. Since the introduction, we have over 800 businesses from different industries have successfully applied for ACAP.

* According to the latest data from IRAS website, more than 500 businesses have attained ACAP status. More than 90% of businesses with ACAP status expiring have applied for renewal. The scope of ACAP review is on the depth of management oversight and control activities present at the entity, transaction and reporting levels over a tested period of twelve (12) months.

Typically, the review is carried out over a 15-month period. You have to engage an independent reviewer to conduct a review of your past GST returns filed in a 12-month period (“Review Year”). With an accredited Tax Advisor (Income Tax and GST) on our team, we are qualified to perform ACAP review.

Benefits of ACAP

If you are a big MNC with more than $100 million turnover, and strong internal controls in place and most importantly, your organization has the financial capability and well-trained staff, you should consider applying for ACAP status.

One of the benefits of ACAP is the organization can get to enjoy full waiver of potential penalties as a result of past GST errors. Besides this, the organization can get their GST refunds faster and auto-renewal of MES or IGDS scheme. Having a ACAP certified status, is equivalent of achieving the gold standard in GST compliance. However, it comes at a cost.

What we have to offer to you

We, at Max Lewis Consultants understand the difficulties and complexity of undergoing such a massive exercise whether an organization is invited by IRAS to participate or a willing party. Especially, during this uncertain times like COVID-19, we believe in partnering our clients for success – this is our motto.

As qualified reviewer who hold the Accredited Tax Advisor (GST), our trained consultant adopt a personal approach to delivering solutions for our clients. We do not treat this as an audit but rather a journey to help our clients achieve the prestigious ACAP status and waive all past GST errors.

However, if you happen to be hesitating due to cost reasons, you can approach us and we will be more than happy to help you appeal to IRAS to replace the ACAP with a ASK review.

Our achievements include:-

Held the distinction of obtaining Premium Status for a Singapore main-board listed company which is in the B2B business of furniture production, with markets in Europe, America, South-East Asia, Australia, Japan, and Korea.

Assisted a client to improve its GST control framework to avoid hefty penalties for errors and non-compliance and eventually, successfully obtain ACAP status after a period of two (2) years.

Successfully appeal to IRAS on behalf of an approved bunker fuel trader to substitute ASK in lieu of ACAP.

Local & International Tax Compliance and Planning

Our firm has extensive experience working on both international and local tax issues,  including advising on tax issues arising from mergers and acquisitions, private equity transactions, reverse charge, overseas vendor registration, indirect VAT/custom taxes, contentious tax controversies, cross border international tax planning including setting up of family offices, Variable Capital Company, withholding tax implications, devising investment tax structures, FATCA compliance, in addition to advising on EDB and other government tax incentives.

Keeping up-to-date with frequent regulatory changes is imperative, because non-compliance entails substantial financial penalties and irreversible reputational damage from media coverage. Additionally, tax regimes across the world are actively collaborating to ensure the equitable taxation of profits, especially for cross-border transactions. At Max Lewis Consultants, our tax services team stands ready to help you fulfill your tax compliance obligations in the area of corporate tax, international tax, goods and services tax (GST) and personal tax filing for foreign expatriates working in Singapore.

Going further than compliance, we seek to add value by working proactively with you to identify your company’s or your own individual tax risks as well as any tax planning opportunities that may arise.

We assist our clients with the preparation of tax returns as well as in the handling of negotiations and correspondence with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) including enquiries arising from IRAS investigations or audits. Our broad spectrum of Singapore corporate tax advisory includes:

  • Preparing and filing company income tax returns and tax computations for clients
  • Assisting clients with withholding tax compliance
  • Assisting clients with corporate tax planning locally and internationally to maximize tax efficiency
  • Assisting clients in the review and application of grants, local tax incentives and advance tax rulings
  • Assisting clients with tax investigations and/or tax audit issues
  • Representing clients on tax objections and disputes
  • Reviewing corporate tax matters for due diligence purpose
  • Assisting clients with Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) compliance work

Our in-house expert has strong private sector experience spans domestic and international taxation, corporate tax, withholding tax, goods and services tax, property tax, stamp duties and personal income tax. He has also represented clients in exchange of information cases with IRAS. He has achieved successful settlements for clients in investigation and audit cases, following private negotiations with IRAS for taxpayers in difficulties.

Our achievements include:-

Successfully appeal to IRAS to avoid forfeiture of tax losses amounting to $11 million due to amalgamation between two related entities under the umbrella of a main board listed company.

Successfully advised a client on effective tax restructuring for a planned REIT IPO raising $15 million.

Advised clients on Reverse Charge and Overseas Vendor Registration since 1 January 2020.

Successfully advised on withholding tax implications for many cross-border transactions.

Successfully appeal under the Voluntary Disclosure Program for past errors amounting to millions.

* the above source is adapted from IRAS website

We have a team of highly qualified in-house experts:

Our in-house expert is an Accredited Tax Advisor (Income Tax and GST), who can assist you with the fuss-free application for or renewal of the MES/IGDS/A3PLCS/ACMT and the assurance of quick turnaround time.

Our in-house expert holds the following qualifications:

  • Masters of International Taxation (New South Wales);
  • Chartered Tax Adviser (Australia), Tax Institute of Australia;
  • Fellow of the Taxation Institute of Hong Kong (TIHK);
  • Member of the Tax Executive Institute (TEI), USA;
  • Advanced Diploma in International Tax, Chartered Institute of Taxation;
  • Advanced Professional Certificate in International Taxation (APCIT).

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1 Scotts Road, #24-10, Shaw Centre
Singapore 228208

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