Reverse Charge and Overseas Vendor registration
Exempt from registration
Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a consumption tax that gets levied on:
The current GST rate in Singapore is 7%. GST-registered businesses are obligated to charge and account for GST at 7% on all sales of goods and services in Singapore unless the sale can be zero-rated or exempted under law.
GST charged on imported goods is collected by Singapore Customs.
GST charged on goods and services is collected by the Singapore’s governing tax office, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).
If you’ve never heard of the term ‘GST’ before, you might be based in a country that doesn’t have it, or in a country that calls it “VAT” or “Value Added Tax”.
It’s important to note that GST registration can be compulsory or voluntary in Singapore. In other words: not all companies need to register for GST.
If your company doesn’t meet the criteria for compulsory GST registration, you can still choose to register for GST voluntarily in order to leverage some of the economic benefits this can bring to your organisation.
If you’re new to GST and the impact it can have on your business, make sure you understand the benefits and drawbacks of being a GST-registered entity before you dive into the registration process.
You’ll need to fully comply with all of the responsibilities that come with GST registration. Failure to do this may result in penalties or imprisonment.
In Singapore, GST registration falls into two categories: compulsory registration and voluntary registration. Because GST is a self-assessed tax, it’s up to you to assess your business’s liability to be registered.
The quickest way to assess your company’s GST liability is to think about it like this:
If your company’s taxable turnover exceeds—or will exceed—S$1 million in a calendar year, then it is required to register for GST.
However, because Singapore recently switched its taxable turnover calculating period from quarterly to calendar year, you’ll need to read the fine print to determine how you calculate your company’s taxable turnover.
Use the instructions below to determine if your business is subject to compulsory GST registration or exempt from GST registration.
In the case that you are exempt from GST registration, we’ve also included some resources to help you decide if voluntary registration would be advantageous for your business.
Compulsory GST registration is when your company is required by Singapore law to register for GST—typically when it exceeds or will exceed S$1 million in taxable turnover during a set period.
Here’s how to calculate your taxable turnover, to determine if you are required to register for GST.
If you’re certain that your company’s taxable turnover will exceed S$1 million in the next 12 months, you will have to register for GST.
Keep in mind—there must be certainty that your taxable turnover will exceed this threshold. And you’ll need to prove the certainty of your forecasted turnover with supporting documentation, such as:
It’s important to note that you are not required to register for GST if there is no certainty in your forecast. For example, you made a forecast based on market assessment, business plans or sales targets.
Due to new regulation concerning GST on imported services, which came into effect on 1 January, 2020, your business may also be liable:
Ask your account to outline your company’s liability, here, especially if you work with overseas suppliers.
You will not be required to register for GST if:
Note that even if your business is exempt from GST registration, you’ll still need to monitor your taxable turnover and GST liability at the end of each calendar year.
Voluntary GST registration is when a GST-exempt company elects to register for GST in Singapore, even though they aren’t required to by law.
You can voluntarily register for GST if your business satisfies any of the following criteria:
If you do not have firm intentions or plans to carry out any of the above transactions, you should not apply for GST registration.
In addition to the benefits of GST registration we’ve already outlined above, there are some additional perks to voluntary registration that may be good for your business. Whether these apply to your situation depends entirely on the nature of your business and its client base.
Here are two examples where voluntary GST registration would likely benefit a company in Singapore.
Example 1: When your turnover may exceed the S$1 million threshold
When your turnover is near but below the S$1 million threshold for compulsory registration, registering voluntarily means that you will not need to monitor your turnover constantly.
Example 2: If you predominantly (or exclusively) sell to customers overseas
If your company exports goods or services to overseas customers, as a GST-registered entity you would charge GST at 0% for these sales (provided they qualify as zero-rated supplies).
As these sales are zero-rated, there is no impact on your selling price after GST registration—so your customers won’t be annoyed by a pricing hike. And because your company is GST registered, it would be able to claim the GST incurred on any purchases where it paid GST in Singapore.
Once your business is GST-registered, it will be obliged to oversee a long list of GST-related responsibilities. We strongly recommend you work with an accountant or tax professional before voluntarily registering up for GST.
Is your company subject to compulsory GST registration? Or are you applying voluntarily?
If you’re unsure, speak to your accountant before registering for GST in Singapore. The GST registration process differs slightly depending on the type of registration and nature of your business, so it’s important that you get this right the first time around.
For voluntary registration, your company director/ sole-proprietor/ partner/ trustee/ preparer of GST returns must complete two e-Learning courses:
You are not required to take these courses if:
All applications for GST registration in Singapore must be submitted via myTax Portal.
Things to keep in mind:
Typically the IRAS takes 10 working days to process a GST application.
During this processing period, you may be asked to provide additional documentation.
Provided your application is successful, the IRAS will send a letter to your registered address to confirm that your business has been GST-registered.
This confirmation letter will give you the following details:
You can also find a copy of this notification letter by logging in to myTax Portal and selecting “Notices/Letters”.
Upon meeting the criteria for compulsory registration, Singapore companies must apply for GST registration within 30 days. If the company is late in its registration, the IRAS will impose a fine of up to S$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.
It’s rare that a business will need to cancel GST registration. In Singapore, you can cancel your GST registration if any of the following circumstances arise:
You must apply for cancellation via MyTaxPortal within 30 days from the date of cessation.
Note that when your GST registration is cancelled, you will need to account for GST on business assets held on the last day of registration if GST was previously claimed on their purchase and the total market value of these business assets is more than $10,000.
These assets include inventories, fixed assets, non-residential properties and goods imported under the various GST schemes.
A company is legally required to comply with its GST responsibilities from its effective date of GST registration.
Once your business is GST-registered, here’s an overview of the tasks you (or your accountant) will need to oversee to ensure your company remains compliant with Singapore’s GST legislation.
You’ll need to charge and account for 7% GST on the supply of goods and services made in Singapore (standard-rated supplies; different rules apply to relevant supplies).
You can choose to add GST as an additional charge, on top of your regular pricing. Or you can choose to absorb the GST by treating the price as ‘GST inclusive’.
Your GST returns must be submitted via e-Filing within one month from the end of each accounting period. You’ll need to use myTax Portal to eFile.
Even if you haven’t made any GST transactions during the reporting period, you are still required to submit a "NIL" GST return.
If you file late or don’t file at all, you may incur penalties. In the case that you do not pay these penalties, you may face an imprisonment term of up to six months.
c. Pay your GST dues on time
In addition to eFiling your returns, you’ll also need to pay the government the GST taxes you owe. GST owed must be paid within one month from the end of each accounting period.
You will incur penalties for non-payment or late payment of your GST dues. A 5% penalty will be levied on the amount of GST owing unpaid by the due date. An additional penalty of 2% per month on tax remaining unpaid after 60 days from the due date of the prescribed accounting period (subject to a maximum of 50% of the outstanding tax) may also be imposed.
Singapore legislation requires GST registered traders to show and quote GST-inclusive pricing on all prices displayed, advertised, published, and quoted (verbally and in writing). Failure to comply with Singapore’s GST pricing regulation may result in penalties of up to S$5,000.
You are also required to issue tax invoices and customer accounting tax invoices for your standard-rated supplies. If the total amount payable for your supply (including GST) does not exceed $1,000, you may issue a simplified tax invoice.
Your GST Registration Number should be reflected on all your tax invoices, simplified tax invoices, and receipts.
You need to keep all business and accounting records for at least five years, in compliance with Singapore’s recordkeeping requirements.
If your business circumstances change, you’ll need to notify Singapore’s Comptroller within 30 days. These changes include:
If you know what you’re doing, it’s definitely possible to DIY your company’s GST registration in Singapore. But the process is long and detailed, and it can take you away from other important tasks in your business.
If you’d prefer to outsource your company’s GST registration to a pro, get in touch to discuss how we can help.
Lanturn offers cloud corporate secretary services to companies in Singapore. In addition to quick and painless GST registration, our experts can also take care of your company’s tax, accounting, payroll, and other compliance tasks. Get in touch to discuss how we can help.
No. A company is only required to register (compulsory registration) for GST and collect GST if its annual turnover exceeds S$1 million in a calendar year. If a company does not meet this threshold, it may voluntarily become a GST-registered entity (voluntary registration) with IRAS.
If your company is liable for compulsory registration, you are required to apply for GST registration within 30 days from the date your liability to register arose.
GST Accounting Period
Filing and Payment Due Date
Jan - Mar
Apr - Jun
Jul - Sep
Oct - Dec
Your GST return and payment are both due one month after the end of the accounting period covered by the return. If you have been granted special GST accounting periods, the due date to submit your returns is one month from the last date of the special accounting period.
If you fail to file your GST return by the due date, the IRAS may take the following actions:
A late submission penalty of S$200 is imposed immediately once a GST return is not filed by its due date. A penalty of S$200 will continue to be imposed for every completed month that the GST F5/F8 return is outstanding, up to a maximum of $10,000 for each outstanding F5/F8 return.
Learn more about GST-related penalties (and how to pay or appeal them) here.
Yes. This is one of the advantages of GST registration. The GST charged by a company to its customers is its output tax; GST paid by the company to its suppliers is its input tax. The company can claim back the difference between its output and input tax.
No. Companies not registered for GST are not permitted to charge GST.
It depends on the nature of the business. GST-registration comes with a long list of responsibilities. Companies should weigh up the pros and cons of GST registration before signing up.
Yes. The IRAS has provided a long list of industry-specific GST guides that provide information on how GST in Singapore affects individual sectors.
Visit the following sections of the IRAS website to find the most up-to-date guide for your industry:
Yes, the IRAS has several GST assistance schemes to create a pro-business environment in Singapore. Follow the links to learn more about each scheme at the IRAS website.