As per Singaporean legislation, individuals and companies are required to file annual income tax returns to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). Companies that apply for GST are given a GST registration number for identification purposes. GST registered companies may then file tax claims for business expenses as well as submit quarterly GST returns to IRAS.
Goods and Services Tax or GST is a broad-based consumption tax charged in addition to the price of imported goods, as well as a wide-ranging category of goods and services in Singapore. It is more commonly known as the Value-Added Tax (VAT) in overseas developed countries such as Japan or Korea.
Applying for GST Registration
A non-GST registered company in Singapore must first choose whether to apply for compulsory or voluntary GST Registration. Compulsory registration is required if the value of the company’s annual taxable sales exceeds SGD 1 million. On the other hand, companies that do not fulfil this requirement may opt to apply for GST registration on a voluntary basis.
IRAS requires directors, sole proprietors or partners of companies under the voluntary GST registration category to complete two e-learning courses, titled Registering for GST and Overview of GST. An exam will be given at the end of each course and relevant parties must pass the quiz to proceed to the next registration step. Applicants may be considered exempt from taking these e-learning courses if they fall under the following criteria:
- They have prior experience in managing GST register businesses
- The representative assigned to preparing the company’s GST returns is an Accredited Tax Advisor (ATA) or an Accredited Tax Practitioner (ATP)
- The company or business is applying to be registered under the Overseas Vendor Simplified Pay-Only Registration Regime
GST Registration Supporting Documents
Companies must submit their GST registration applications online through the IRAS website’s myTax Portal. Applicants need to log in with their CorpPass ID to access the registration page and attach required supporting documents such as their ACRA Bizfile, Certificate of Incorporation and GIRO application forms for businesses registering on a voluntary basis. For proof of sales amount, applicants must submit their company’s GST Registration Calculator for the past 2 years, one copy of their latest Income Statement and signed contracts for proof of future sales or invoices issued to customers. A comprehensive list of other supporting document requirements is also included in the IRAS website.
GST Registration Application Processing and Approval
After ensuring soft copies of the applicant’s supporting documents are complete and on hand, submission will take about 20 minutes via the tax portal. It can take up to 2 business days to process applications for companies under the compulsory registration category and 10 business days to process voluntary registration applications. Companies that are successful in their GST registration applications will then be provided with an official notification letter by IRAS stating their GST Registration number and effective date of GST registration. The company’s GST registration number is important for printing on invoices, credit notes and receipts. The effective date of GST registration specifies the start date where the company may charge GST for taxable sales.
Administrative deadlines and penalties for non-compliance
Should a Singapore company become liable for GST registration after meeting all the criteria for compulsory registration mentioned above, it must proceed to apply for GST registration within 30 days. If the company is late in its registration, IRAS will impose a fine of up to SGD 10,000 and a penalty of 10% of GST owing. Other consequences include paying for GST of sales that were made even if GST was not collected.
Consulting a qualified tax professional may be a good option to clear any doubts regarding the GST registration process and to guide you for being GST compliant in Singapore.