Singapore Goods and Services Tax (GST)

Singapore Goods and Services Tax (GST)

Goods and Services Tax (GST): A broad-based consumption tax levied on the import of goods, as well as nearly all supplies of goods and services in Singapore. The only exceptions are for sales and leases of residential properties, and most financial services. GST is also known as Value-Added Tax (VAT) in many other countries.

GST Rate: The percentage at which GST is charged on goods and services. As of January 2023, the GST rate in Singapore is 9%, marking a recent increase from the previous rate of 7%.

GST-Registered Businesses: Companies that are required or have chosen to register for GST. Businesses with an annual turnover exceeding S$1 million must register for GST. These businesses are responsible for collecting GST on behalf of the government and filing regular GST returns.

Input Tax: The GST that a GST-registered business pays for goods and services purchased for its business needs. These businesses can claim input tax credits, allowing them to recover the GST paid on their business purchases.

Output Tax: The GST that a GST-registered business collects from its customers when it supplies goods and services.

Zero-Rated Supplies: Supplies of goods and services that are charged GST at the rate of 0%. This typically applies to exported goods and international services.

Exempt Supplies: Supplies that are exempt from GST. These include most financial services, the sale and lease of residential properties, and the importation and local supply of investment precious metals.

Place of Supply: Determines whether a supply is made in Singapore and if GST should be applied. For GST to be charged, the place of supply must be in Singapore.

Compulsory Registration: Businesses that have a taxable turnover exceeding S$1 million within the last 12 months must register for GST.

Voluntary Registration: Businesses with a taxable turnover of less than S$1 million may choose to register for GST voluntarily. This allows them to claim input tax credits, but they must remain registered for at least two years.

GST Filing: The process by which GST-registered businesses submit their GST returns to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). Returns are usually filed on a quarterly basis.

Historical GST Rates: Since its introduction in 1994 at a rate of 3%, Singapore’s GST rate has undergone several adjustments, reaching 9% in January 2023. This progression reflects the government’s tax policy adjustments over time.

Understanding the fundamentals of GST in Singapore is crucial for businesses and individuals engaged in taxable activities. By familiarizing themselves with these terms, stakeholders can navigate the GST framework more effectively, ensuring compliance and optimizing their tax positions.


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