Penalty for failing to register for GST

It was reported recently that Chong Wee Keng, a renovation contractor who owned a sole proprietorship, D’Esprit Design & Renovations, has to pay a total of $504,500.80 in back-dated taxes and penalty for failing to register for Goods and Services Tax (GST). In addition, he has to pay a fine of $4,500.

IRAS runs regular audit programs across various industries to check the level of tax compliance of the businesses. Using data analytics tools, IRAS is able to cross-check data and detect anomalies. This case was uncovered through one such audit program.

It is compulsory for businesses with an annual turnover of more than $1 million to register for GST. Businesses should regularly assess if they need to register for GST. If the turnover for the past four quarters or expected turnover for the next 12 months exceeds $1 million, businesses are legally required to notify the Comptroller of GST of their liability to be registered for GST within 30 days of the end of the fourth quarter.

GST-registered businesses can charge GST on their sales and offset this with the GST they pay on their purchases before accounting for the net difference to IRAS.

Businesses failing to register for GST even though they are required to do so by law can be fined up to $10,000 and pay a penalty equal to 10% of the tax due from the date on which the business is required to register for GST. The business’ effective date of GST registration will be back-dated to the day that its liability to register arose. Consequently, the business will have to pay the outstanding GST on all its past transactions since the effective date of registration, even if this amount was not collected from its customers.

To avoid any tax penalties, hire a professional GST expert in Singapore


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ACRA Cancels Registration of Filing Agent and Qualified Individual for AML/CFT Breaches

The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) had cancelled the registrations of filing agent (RFA) and qualified individual (RQI) on 18 January 2024. The registrations were cancelled in view of breaches of anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) controls under the ACRA (Filing Agents and Qualified Individuals) Regulations 2015 (the “ACRA Regulations”).

Some of the basic AMT/CFT controls that a RFA and RQI are required to exercise are as follows:

(a) perform additional customer due diligence measures when a customer is not physically present during onboarding;

(b) inquiring if there exists any beneficial owner in relation to some of its customers; and

(c) perform risk assessments i

RQIs and RFAs provide corporate secretarial services for business entities, such as helping customers to incorporate companies, file annual returns and fulfil other filing requirements under the Companies Act 1967 or other Acts under ACRA’s purview. RQIs and RFAs are required to perform customer due diligence measures in accordance with the ACRA Regulations, and conduct their business in such a manner as to guard against the facilitation of money laundering and the financing of terrorism. RQIs and RFAs must also satisfy statutory requirements such as being fit and proper persons, to be registered or continue to be registered.

RQIs and RFAs who breach their statutory obligations may be subject to enforcement actions, such as financial penalties of up to $10,000 or $25,000 per breach respectively or have their registrations with ACRA suspended or cancelled.

Therefore, RQIs and RFAs play an important role in helping to detect and combat illicit activities.

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