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Should I Register My Company for GST in Singapore?

30 Nov 2023  ·  Grof Writer
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Should I Register My Company for GST in Singapore?
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Many businesses are worried about having to register for GST in Singapore once they make more than 1 million Singapore dollars. This rule applies if your business already made over $1 million at the end of the calendar year (retrospective view) or if you expect to make that much in the coming 12 months (prospective view).

What does GST (Goods and Services Tax) really mean for your business? If you make less than $1 million, do you have to register? Registering for GST in Singapore is not just about following the rules. It also helps your business in other ways. For example, it can make your business look more trustworthy to other companies and clients. We’re here to guide you through these questions with clear, easy-to-understand information, helping you make smart choices about GST in Singapore for your business.

Understanding GST in Singapore: What is it?

Let’s address the elephant in the room: what is GST?

GST (Goods and Services Tax) is a tax charged on the import of goods in Singapore, covering all taxable supplies — from computer software to raw materials. Introduced in 1994, it allows companies to cheapen their purchases while retaining more profit from their sales.

This process is to be handled by the IRAS — the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore. You will need to register for GST if your business makes over 1 million Singapore dollars from selling taxable goods and services. However, if your enterprise is smaller, you can also sign up voluntarily.

When is GST Registration Mandatory?

GST registration in Singapore becomes mandatory for businesses in Singapore when their annual taxable turnovers exceed S$1 million from the sale of taxable goods and services. However, even if your company is smaller, you can still choose to register voluntarily. There are several key reasons why voluntary registration can benefit your business.

Benefits of Registration Voluntary for GST in Singapore

1. Recovering Input Tax from Suppliers

One significant advantage of voluntary GST registration is the ability to recover the Goods and Services Tax paid on purchases from GST-registered suppliers. If your suppliers are GST-registered, you can reclaim the GST amount you paid for goods or services. For example, if you paid S$8 of GST on a S$100 purchase, you could recoup the exact S$8 back, resulting in cost savings for your business.

2. Selling to GST-Registered Customers

Registering for GST in Singapore also allows you to sell to GST-registered customers at higher prices. GST-registered customers can recover the GST incurred, which means they can withstand higher prices. By including GST in your sale prices, you can increase your revenue and profit margins. However, it is essential to consider your customer base. If most of your customers are end consumers who are not GST-registered, raising prices may not be feasible without impacting your competitiveness.

3. International Sales and GST in Singapore

If your business engages in the export of goods and services, registering for GST in Singapore can be advantageous. The export of goods and services is zero-rated for GST purposes, meaning you do not need to charge GST to overseas customers. However, you can still claim the GST incurred on supplies from GST-registered suppliers. This allows you to maximise your input tax credit and improve your overall cash flow.

4. Enhanced Business Credibility

Voluntary GST registration can also enhance your business credibility. By registering for GST in Singapore, you create the impression that your company has a significant annual taxable turnover. This increased credibility can instil confidence in suppliers and potential customers, potentially leading to more business opportunities.

Qualifying for Voluntary GST Registration

To qualify for voluntary GST registration, your business must meet specific requirements outlined by the Singapore government. These requirements include:

  • Selling taxable goods or services
  • Making out-of-scope supplies
  • Providing exempt supplies of international services
  • Procuring international services or importing low-value goods

If your business meets these criteria, you will need to complete an online course called the “Overview of GST” before submitting your GST registration. However, certain exceptions apply. For instance, you may be exempt from the course if you have prior experience managing a GST-registered business or if your employee who prepares GST returns is an Accredited Tax Advisor or Practitioner.

Registration Process for GST in Singapore

Once you have determined that your business qualifies for voluntary GST registration, you can proceed with the registration process. The process will depend on your business’s registration type and constitution. Here are the general steps to register for GST in Singapore:

  1. Determine the type of GST registration that applies to your business.
  2. Complete the e-learning course on GST registration and overview.
  3. Submit your application for GST registration.
  4. Allow time for the processing of your application.
  5. Receive a notification of the effective date of registration.

It’s important to note that compulsory GST registration follows a more streamlined process, requiring only the attachment of a GST document checklist. Additionally, to access digital GST services, you must be authorised in Corppass.

After a Successful GST Application

Once your GST registration is approved, you will receive a confirmation letter from the IRAS. This letter will include your GST registration number and the effective date of registration. The effective date determines when you can start billing and collecting GST on taxable goods and services. Make sure to include the GST registration number on your company invoices, credit notes, and receipts.

Compliance and Responsibilities

After registering for GST in Singapore, your business must fulfil certain responsibilities and comply with IRAS regulations. These include:

  • Using GIRO for GST payments and refunds.
  • Ensuring that your company has taxable supplies within two years of registration if it did not have any at the time of registration.
  • Meeting IRAS compliance requirements and any newly updated conditions.

To avoid penalties and disqualification, it is crucial to maintain accurate bookkeeping practices and stay on top of your GST obligations. Consider outsourcing your accounting needs to ensure proper compliance and avoid unnecessary stress.

Consultation Services for GST in Singapore

Understanding the intricacies of GST registration and compliance can be a complex task for businesses. This is where professional consultation services become invaluable. Such services provide businesses with customised advice, helping them assess their eligibility for GST registration and understand its specific implications and benefits for their operations. Experienced consultants offer thorough support throughout the GST registration process, including evaluating the financial impact and ensuring compliance.

Moreover, these services can aid businesses in refining their financial strategies, pricing methods, and market positioning in the context of GST. Through expert consultation, businesses can demystify the complexities of GST, address any concerns, and make decisions that align with their long-term financial objectives and operational capabilities. Professional advice can be a game-changer, equipping businesses to confidently and strategically manage GST registration.

Conclusion

In summary, voluntary GST registration in Singapore has its perks for your business. It’s not just about getting back some of the taxes you’ve paid; it’s also about smoother dealings with GST-registered clients and a nice little boost in how credible your business appears.

However, it’s important to remember that this isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Take a good look at where your business stands, and consider getting advice from experts who really know the ins and outs of Singapore’s tax laws. This will help you make a decision that’s best for your business.

And if you find yourself needing a bit more guidance on GST registration, or if managing your business finances feels overwhelming, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Grof. Our team is well-equipped to help you with these decisions and support your journey to financial success.

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