Business establishments in Singapore are expected to pay for the GST annually to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). If you are a startup company or plan to establish a business in this country, you would surely want to know what exactly GST is. So, let’s start by answering this question.
What is GST?
GST is Singapore’s equivalent of value-added tax in other countries, and it is an indirect levy or surcharge imposed by IRAS on any form of local consumption. The direct payers of this tax to IRAS are the companies or businesses operating in Singapore, while consumers who pay for goods and services are the indirect payers. As it goes, businesses will add the GST to the final price of their products and then pay it to the appropriate quarters as and when due. As of 2022, the GST rate in Singapore is 7%, but it will increase to 9% by 2024.
Undoubtedly, this particular levy serves as one of the revenue generators for governments everywhere, and no country (Singapore inclusive) will take it lightly. Registering for and paying the GST is mandatory for all liable businesses in Singapore. However, although it is compulsory for many, not all businesses are mandated to register for GST. Let’s check out those companies or businesses required to register.
Who Needs To Register For GST?
For some companies in Singapore, registration for GST is compulsory, but some others register for this tax voluntarily. What determines whether this registration and remittance will be mandatory or optional is the worth of the company’s taxable turnover within a timeframe.
GST registration is mandatory for companies whose taxable turnover in a calendar year exceeds S$ 1 million. This requirement demands that business owners monitor their own taxable turnovers yearly to avoid neglecting this rule. Companies with less than S$ 1 million taxable turnover can voluntarily register if they believe that they will be meeting the S$ 1 million threshold soon.
GST also applies to imported goods or services. As it goes, GST-registered companies that procure the services of overseas suppliers, especially on items that are not on the exemption list, are liable for GST on such imports. Similarly, overseas suppliers of Business-to-Consumer (B2C) services or products exceeding $100,000 are mandated to register for GST in Singapore.
If your business falls under any of the above categories, you will probably be asking the next question: “How do I register for GST in Singapore?” Let’s consider this process next.
GST Registration Process in Singapore
Step 1: Know What Registration Type Applies To Your Business
Registering for GST in Singapore begins with determining the type of registration that applies to your business. In this regard, you can either be applying retrospectively (your company has already reached $ 1 million in annual turnover) or prospectively (voluntary registration based on projections).
Step 2: Take The e-Learning Course
Business owners registering for GST are encouraged to complete the e-learning courses. However, only for companies that are registering voluntarily, it is a must to complete the course “Overview of GST” and pass the quiz. According to IRAS, this course is to familiarise business owners with the workings of GST, its returns process, compliance tips, and solutions to commonly encountered problems with the process.
Step 3: Apply Online
Applications for inclusion in the GST scheme are made online via the dedicated IRAS website. Companies registering must prepare to attach supporting documents to the application. Other details to note before proceeding to register online include:
Corppass registration and authorisation are necessary to access IRAS’s website for GST registration. That means that anyone registering on behalf of your company (tax agent or company owner) must have Corppass, or they would have to register for it.
The supporting documents must be in PDF format and must not exceed 223kb.
Voluntary registrants must register for GIRO for GST payment and refund. This registration comes after their online registration, and IRAS typically sends the application to banks responsible for informing applicants about the approval or otherwise of their GIRO. Upon completing the GIRO application form, they should mail it to 55 Newton Road, Singapore 307987.
Step 4: Get Notification of Effective Registration Date
IRAS will inform you via e-mail or SMS of your registration’s effective date and provide you with a GST registration number. This is the number to quote on receipts, invoices, and credit notes. IRAS often backdate effective registration dates for late registrants to the valid date they ought to have registered.
Apart from these simple registration procedures, some special registrations are also possible. Let’s take a look at them:
Several companies working together to produce one service or product can register for GST as one. In this arrangement, the group selects one of the participating companies to register on their behalf. This representative member fulfils all the requirements of GST registration earlier discussed on behalf of the others. One advantage of this registration is that goods exchanged among participating companies are not subject to GST.
Joint Venture GST Registration
The requirements for registering a Joint Venture (JV) depend on its registration status with ACRA. JVs registered with ACRA can proceed to register for GST because they already have a legal identity. However, non-registered JVs have to fulfil these conditions before they can be eligible for GST registration:
- Every member in the JV contributes to the production process.
- The business the JV is conducting is taxable.
- The JV is formally established as a distinct entity in Singapore, possessing all documents of establishment and a constitution spelling out each stakeholder’s roles, powers, and limitations.
Divisional GST Registration
Big businesses with several divisions operating as independent units of the parent company can register for GST on a divisional basis. IRAS understands that reconciling each division’s accounts into one can be cumbersome, and upon successful registration by the parent company, it issues separate GST numbers to each division. However, the parent company still bears the responsibility for default of each division where such arises.
GST registration for businesses in Singapore is straightforward once all necessary documents are available. But if you want to make it even simpler, you can engage Timcole to register your company as well as manage GST filing for you as and when required. Contact us today!