GST Assisted Self-help Kit (ASK)
* The GST Assisted Self-help Kit (ASK) is a detailed self-assessment compliance package for businesses to review their GST submissions and identify errors to qualify for the Voluntary Disclosure Programme in IRAS. The Assisted Self-help Kit (ASK) is optional for GST-registered traders but mandatory for those applying for or renewing 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) and the Approved Marine Fuel Scheme (AMFT).
The majority of our clients apply for or renew their certification under the MES and IGDS, followed by A3PLCS. Our clients are in the business of trading, freight forwarders, jewellery, shipping, general import and export with logistics warehousing.
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.
The GST Assisted Self-help Kit (ASK) review process consists of the following three sections:
1. Assisted Self-help Kit (ASK) annual review templates
The Assisted Self-help Kit (ASK) Annual Review is recommended for all GST-registered businesses. This section allows businesses to perform a consistent review of previous GST returns to detect any errors before submission.
Template 1-7 is a series of macro controlled excel template provided by IRAS included in the GST Assisted Self-Help Kit (ASK) Annual Review kit. Each template within the ASK serves a specific purpose, such as template 1 is for reviewing your financial statements or management accounts for the same financial year, template 2 is for checking your standard-rated supplies and output tax, template 3 is for checking your zero-rated supplies, template 4 is for checking your exempt supplies, template 6 is for checking your input tax and refunds claimed, and template 7 is for checking your imports with GST suspended (e.g. under MES) or with GST Deferred (under IGDS).
2. GST practices checklist
This section particularly benefits businesses newly registered to GST or businesses planning to register for GST. GST practices provide a checklist to help you to implement internal processes covering Record-Keeping, People, Risk Management, Internal Controls and Systems to ensure complete GST compliance.
3. Pre-filing checklist
The Pre-filing checklist benefits businesses filing their GST returns for the first time. The Pre-filing checklist section of the GST Assisted Self-help Kit (ASK) review consists of several questions and answers that help businesses perform accurate GST returns before submission.
Our scope of work includes:
- Liaising with relevant finance personnel to understand the major business transaction flows, the Accounts Receivable (“AR”) process, the Accounts Payable (“AP”) process and GST return preparation process, etc.
- Reviewing The Company’s completion of IRAS-prescribed templates 1 to 7.
- Reviewing the GST F5 declarations, including reviewing the template (1 to 7) filled in by the client.
- Selecting relevant GST F5 returns for sampling testing, covering the GST returns for the four quarters of the financial year ended on or before 31 December.
- Perform checks on the relevant supporting documents for the sample transactions chosen for the selected GST return. The company shall retrieve source documents for such purpose.
- Reviewing and comparing the financial statements for the relevant financial year against the GST quarterly declarations.
- Reviewing Form F10: Application for Major Exporter Scheme (MES) to be prepared by the company. If it is a renewal, we will review the Form R1: Application for Renewal of Major Exporter Scheme (MES) to be prepared by the company.
- Reviewing Form F22: Application for Import GST Deferment Scheme (IGDS) to be prepared by the company. If it is a renewal, Checklist for Self-Review of eligibility for IGDS to be prepared by the company and other relevant checklists issued by IRAS.
- Advising on the following deliverables to IRAS: ASK Declaration Form on Completing Annual Review, ASK disclosure of Errors template, and ASK declaration form on ASK Administrative concessions, if any.
- In the event of errors uncovered, we will assist the company in filling out the Error Disclosure form for penalty waivers and liaising with IRAS.
- Signing off using Arrangement Two of the IRAS ASK Declaration Form to be submitted to IRAS. No written report from the reviewer on the findings are required to be submitted to IRAS under Arrangement two.
Benefits of adopting GST Assisted Self-help Kit review
The benefits of adopting the GST Assisted Self-help Kit (ASK) review include:
- An independent and objective review of GST submissions.
- Better understanding of the GST essential requirements on record-keeping and proper filing.
- Reduces the risks of penalties by IRAS for common errors made by GST-registered businesses.
- Waiver of potential hefty penalties through Voluntary Error Disclosures during the GST Assisted Self-help Kit (ASK) review.
- Enjoy the tax benefits of eligible GST schemes.
Our achievements include:-
Major Exporter Scheme (MES)
Notable clients include Realtek, Nittsu Shoji (Singapore) Pte Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nippon Express Co. Ltd, Japan, EOP21, Winston Engineering Corporation, Vim Ocean and Hashima (S) Pte Ltd.
Import GST Deferment Scheme (IGDS)
We successfully obtained certification for Kim Siang Jewellery, TR Formac and MMS Technologies Pte Ltd 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 the MFT, a scheme where approved businesses are not required to pay GST when purchasing approved marine fuel oil locally.
Local & International Tax Compliance and Planning
Our firm is experienced in local and international tax issues, including mergers and acquisitions, reverse charge, private equity transactions, overseas vendor registration, contentious tax controversies, indirect VAT/custom taxes, cross-border international tax planning including family office set-up, Variable Capital Company, investment tax structures, withholding tax implications, FATCA compliance and providing advice on EDB and government tax incentives.
Staying updated on regulatory changes is crucial to avoid financial penalties and reputational damage. At Max Lewis Consultants, we assist with tax compliance in corporate tax, GST, international tax, and personal tax filing for foreign expatriates in Singapore. Beyond compliance, we proactively identify tax risks and explore planning opportunities. Our services include preparing tax returns, handling IRAS negotiations and correspondence, and providing corporate tax advisory in Singapore.
Our wide spectrum of corporate tax advisory in Singapore includes assisting clients with the following:
- Preparing and filing company income tax returns and tax computations for clients
- Withholding tax compliance
- Corporate tax planning locally and internationally to maximise tax efficiency
- Reviewing and applying for grants, local tax incentives and advance tax rulings
- Tax investigations and/or tax audit issues
- Representations on tax objections and disputes
- Reviewing corporate tax matters for due diligence purpose
- Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) compliance work
Our in-house expert has in-depth experience in the private sector, including domestic and international taxation, withholding tax, corporate tax, property tax, goods and services tax, stamp duties and personal income tax. He has also represented clients in exchange of information cases with IRAS and successfully negotiated settlements for clients facing investigations and audits.
Our achievements include:-
Most Trusted Goods and Tax Advisory Firm at APAC Insider Business Awards 2023
In accordance with the APAC Business Awards 2023, Max Lewis attained the award for Most Trusted Goods and Tax Advisory Firm in South East Asia. It awards the most deserving businesses and individuals who have demonstrated resilience and growth amid the pandemic period, securing the position as a true business leader throughout the region. Known as a distinguished long-running awards programme, the APAC Business Awards identifies and values companies and individuals that stand out from the rest. This award strengthens Max Lewis Consultants’ position as a leading goods and tax advisory firm in Singapore and South East Asia.
Goods & Services Tax Consultancy Firm of the Year
Max Lewis Consultants received the award from Corporate LiveWire, a worldwide platform that keeps the corporate world informed about current events and advancements. The award recognises the company for providing exceptional goods & services tax services across different industries and delivering exceptional results in the corporate sphere.
The Corporate LiveWire Global Awards acknowledges the achievements of outstanding business individuals and firms who have accomplished remarkable results, placed an emphasis on customer service, and implemented innovative methods to showcase exceptional business performance. All nominees were evaluated based on the impact of their processes, products, or ideas on their respective industries.
A successful appeal to IRAS to avoid forfeiture of tax losses that amount to $11 million due to amalgamation between two related entities under the umbrella of a main board listed company.
Shared our expertise on withholding tax implications for many cross-border transactions.
Provided advice to clients on Reverse Charge and Overseas Vendor Registration since 1 January 2020.
Assisted a client on effective tax restructuring for a planned REIT IPO raising $15 million.
Successfully appeal under the Voluntary Disclosure Program for past errors amounting to millions.
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 Assisted Self-help Kit in lieu of ACAP.
* 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) with 30 years of experience from public accounting firms and commerce sector, 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);
- Advanced Professional Certificate in Transfer Pricing I (APCITP-I).
What is a GST ASK review?
Businesses filing GST for the first time or have just registered for GST can self-assess their GST submissions with GST Assisted Self-Help Kit (ASK) to identify past GST errors and improve their GST filings. Self-help kits can be adopted by GST-registered traders voluntarily. Additionally, conducting ASK is a mandatory requirement when applying for or renewing Major Exporter Scheme (MES), Import GST Deferment Scheme (IGDS), Approved Third Party Logistics Company Scheme (A3PLCS) or any of the GST schemes.
When can one file their GST return?
GST returns are due one month after the end of the accounting period covered by the return. GIRO deductions are made on the 15th of the month following the due date for GST payments if you are on the GIRO plan.
However, please take note that late GST returns and payments will result in penalties. Therefore, it is important that a GST-registered business needs to monitor its transactions and plan its resources to submit its GST returns on time.
What are the benefits of adopting GST ASK?
The benefits of GST-registered businesses adopting GST ASK are:
- Ensure GST submissions are accurate.
- Find previous GST errors beforehand so you can disclose them to IRAS timely and receive lowered or zero penalties.
- Satisfy requirements for application or renewal of GST schemes like MES, IGDS or A3PLCS.
- Understand the GST filing and record-keeping requirements.
- Reduce the risk of incurring penalties for errors.
- Receive administrative concessions for common errors communicated during the annual review of ASK.
What documents are needed for the ASK annual review?
The key documents needed for an ASK annual review are as follows:
- a) GST ASK templates which can be found on the IRAS website.
- b) GST F5 monthly or quarterly declarations.
- b) Purchases and Sales listings for the selected financial period under review.
- c) Source accounting documents and records supporting all GST declarations for the period under review.
- d) Annual Financial Statements or latest Management Accounts for the financial year under review.
What are some examples of errors encountered in ASK reviews?
Some common errors include:
- Exempt supplies did not include realised exchange losses or gains and proceeds from the issuance of shares.
- Insufficient documents maintained to support zero-rating of supplies.
- There was no GST charged on the disposition of fixed assets, such as motor vehicles.
- Incorrectly reporting supplies that are out of scope as zero-rated supplies.
- GST was not charged on the sale of scraps or by-products.
- Claiming GST input tax on disallowed items like upkeep of motor vehicle expenses and medical expenses.
Failure to apply the correct GST treatment and to file accurate GST returns can result in significant penalties and possible jail sentences for serious cases. The GST laws and regulations must be understood by the preparer, and the reviewer (if any) of GST returns should keep abreast of GST developments in addition to training its personnel.
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