Navigating the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Singapore

Navigating GST in Singapore

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a value-added tax that is applied to most goods and services in Singapore. The current GST rate in Singapore is 8%, and businesses with an annual taxable turnover of more than SGD 1 million are required to register for GST.


Navigating the GST system in Singapore can be complex and time-consuming, which is why businesses may choose to engage a tax agent or a tax specialist in Singapore to help.


Navigating GST in Singapore


In this blog, we will explore what businesses need to know about the GST in Singapore and how tax agents and specialists can help.


GST Registration

As mentioned earlier, businesses with an annual taxable turnover of more than SGD 1 million are required to register for GST. However, businesses with a lower turnover can choose to voluntarily register for GST. 


Once registered, businesses must charge GST on their taxable supplies and can claim back the GST incurred on their business expenses. Engaging a tax agent in Singapore can help businesses navigate the GST registration process and ensure that they comply with the requirements.


GST Returns

Registered businesses must file their GST returns on a regular basis, usually on a quarterly basis. The GST return must include details of all taxable supplies made and received during the reporting period. 


Additionally, businesses must reconcile their GST accounts, adjust for any errors or omissions, and pay any GST owed to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). Engaging a tax advisor in Singapore can help businesses ensure that their GST returns are accurate and filed on time.


Input Tax Claims

Businesses can claim back the GST they have incurred on their business expenses as input tax. However, there are specific rules and restrictions around input tax claims, and businesses must keep accurate records of their expenses to support their claims. 


Engaging a tax agent or specialist in Singapore can help businesses navigate the input tax claim process and ensure that their claims are accurate and compliant.


GST Exemptions and Zero-rating

Certain goods and services are exempt from GST, while others are zero-rated. Exempt supplies are not subject to GST, while zero-rated supplies are still subject to GST but at a 0% rate. It is important for businesses to understand the GST exemptions and zero-rating rules as they can impact the GST charged on their supplies and the input tax they can claim back. 


Engaging a tax specialist in Singapore can help businesses understand these rules and ensure that they comply with them.


GST Audits and Investigations

The IRAS conducts regular GST audits and investigations to ensure that businesses are complying with the GST requirements. Businesses that fail to comply with the requirements may face penalties, fines, or even legal action.

 

Engaging a tax agent or tax expert in Singapore can help businesses prepare for and respond to GST audits and investigations, ensuring that they comply with the requirements and avoid any penalties.


Recommended post: Most frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to GST in Singapore


Conclusion:

In conclusion, navigating the GST system in Singapore can be complex and time-consuming. Businesses may choose to engage a tax agent or specialist in Singapore to help them comply with the requirements and ensure that their GST returns are accurate and filed on time. 

By working with professional GST experts in this field, businesses can free up time and resources to focus on growing their business while also avoiding any potential penalties or fines.

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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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