Category Archives: Goods & Services Tax

Singapore GST – Guide on Exemption of Investment Precious Metals (IPM)

On 22 May 2018, IRAS issued the second edition of the e-Tax Guide on Exemption of Investment Precious Metals and the amendment to this e-Tax Guide includes the following:

  • Paragraph 4.7 of the e-Tax Guide has been updated to include the qualifying IPM coins
  • Paragraph 10.1 has been amended pertaining to the contact information.


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Singapore GST – Clarification on “Directly in Connection With” and “Directly Benefit”

IRAS has recently updated its e-Tax Guide on “Clarification on “Directly in Connection With” and “Directly Benefit”.   We highlight the major amendment to this  e-Tax Guide below:

  1.   An example was added to illustrate what constitutes a supply of service that is directly in connection with goods or land:
  • Fire insurance for a building. In the event of a fire, the policyholder is compensated for the damages to the building caused by the fire. The service provided by the insurance company protects the value of the building.
  • Interior design services for a specific property.

2.   The provision of a mortgage loan is considered a supply that is directly in connection with the land when the loan is provided specifically to enable the purchaser to own the property.

3.    Services supplied are regarded as directly in connection with goods or land only if:

(a) the goods or land exist at the time the services are performed. For example, the granting of a right to a patent (which is a supply of service) cannot be regarded as supplied directly in connection with goods manufactured using the patent as the goods do not yet exist when the patent is granted; and

(b)  the services relate to identifiable goods or land. Goods are identifiable by model, type or serial number whereas land is identifiable by address or legal description. Hence, if the services relate to goods or land in general, the services will not be regarded as directly in connection with any goods or land.

4.   Where a transaction comprises multiple supplies of services, each supply should be examined on its own to determine whether the supply of services is considered directly in connection with goods or lands.  If it is a single supply of services consisting of a number of service elements, the entire supply would be directly in connection with goods or land if the dominant service element is regarded as directly in connection with goods or land.

5.   A local beneficiary who wishes to avail himself of the administrative concession that allows him to claim the GST charged by the local supplier to the overseas customer as its input tax claim is required to self-assess and ensure the prescribed conditions are satisfied and it’s been clarified that the claim should be made within 5 years from the end of the prescribed accounting period in which the payment of the tax was made or the date when the invoice was issued, whichever is the later.

Contact if you have any questions regarding the above.


Singapore GST – Amendment to the e-Tax Guide on the Use of Business Premises by Third Party for Free

The IRAS has amended its e-Tax Guide on “GST: Guide on the Use of Business Premises by Third Party for Free” on 19 June 2017 by inserting the following example:

Free Occupation by Canteen Operator Engaged to Provide Canteen Catering Services 

A company has engaged a canteen operator to provide canteen catering services at its premises (i.e. in-house canteen) under a service agreement and pays a fee to the canteen operator in return for his services.  The contract does not grant or assign any lease or license or any right to occupy land to the canteen operator. The operating hours, type of food and drinks to be served in the canteen and the food pricing are generally fixed in the contract.  Where the operations of the company’s business make it necessary for the company to provide an in-house canteen to its employees and the canteen operator is merely occupying the canteen space for the purpose of providing his contracted services to the company, the company need not deem a supply on the free use of canteen space.

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Singapore GST – Public Consultation on the Draft GST e-Tax Guide on Customer Accounting for Prescribed Goods

On 24 April 2017, IRAS has initiated a public consultation exercise to seek feedback from its Draft e-Tax Guide on GST-registered businesses dealing in prescribed goods on the implementation of customer accounting, so as to facilitate a smooth transition into customer accounting come 1 Jan 2018.

What is GST customer accounting?

IRAS is planning to implement GST customer accounting from 1 January 2018 to better address non-compliance relating to transactions of the prescribed goods – mobile phones, memory cards, and off-the-shelf software if the GST-exclusive value of the sale exceeds $5,000 in a single invoice.

If a GST-registered trader makes a taxable supply to a GST-registered customer, it is the GST-registered customer who will account for the output tax on the supply on behalf of the supplier.  At the same time, the GST-registered customer will be bale to claim input tax on this purchase if it is for his business use and the making of his taxable supply.


De Minimis Threshold – $5,000

The new Customer accounting requirement is applicable only if the sales of the prescribed goods to a GST-registered customer for his business use exceeds the de minimis threshold of $5,000 in GST-exclusive value..  This means that if the sales do not exceed this threshold, the new Customer accounting requirement will not apply.

The GST-registered supplier should instead standard-rate the supply, account for the GST output tax and issue a tax invoice to his customer as before.

Discounts given on your sales

If a GST-registered supplier offers an unconditional discount on the price of the prescribed goods sold to his GST-registered customer, he should use the discounted GST-exclusive sale value to determine whether his supply exceeds the de minimis threshold of $5,000.

Where there is a contingent discount or delayed reduction in price, the pre-discount GST-exclusive value of the prescribed goods shown on the tax invoice should be used to determine whether the supply exceeds the de minimis threshold of $5,000. 8.2.3 Your supply of prescribed goods to the GST-registered customer will be subject to customer accounting if the discounted sale value or the pre-discount value shown on the tax invoice exceeds $5,000.

A single purchase order with multiple deliveries

For a single purchase order with multiple deliveries, if the GST-registered supplier issues only one tax invoice for all the deliveries, he will use the total GST-exclusive value of the prescribed goods shown in the tax invoice to determine whether the supply exceeds the de minimis threshold of $5,000.

On the other hand, if his normal commercial practice is to issue one tax invoice for each delivery made, such that multiple tax invoices are issued in respect of a single large purchase order, he should determine if customer accounting applies based on the GST-exclusive value on each of the invoices.  However, if he would like to apply customer accounting to all the invoices even though some/all will not exceed $5,000 individually, he can do so provided the GST-exclusive value of the prescribed goods in the single purchase order exceeds $5,000; and both his GST-registered customer and he agree for customer accounting to apply in this manner.

Combined sales of prescribed and non-prescribed goods

When a GST-registered supplier makes a sale consisting of both prescribed and non-prescribed goods to a GST-registered customer, he needs to determine whether the total GST-exclusive sale value of all the prescribed goods sold (whether or not they are of the same type/nature) exceeds $5,000.  The sale value of non-prescribed goods should not be included in this computation.  Upon exceeding the threshold, the GST-registered supplier should apply customer accounting to the sale of the prescribed goods only and not to the non-prescribed goods.

Returned goods

If as a result of the returned goods, the GST-exclusive sale value of the prescribed goods is reduced to $5,000 or below, the GST-registered supplier should issue a credit note to cancel the original sale made under customer accounting and re-issue a tax invoice showing the revised sale value with GST charged (i.e., without applying customer accounting).  He should also collect from his customer the GST chargeable on the revised sale value.

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Income Tax & GST – Chinese New Year Gifts to Employees

First of all, we wish all our readers a happy and prosperous Year of Rooster.

During this festive season, some employers have the practice of gifting red packets to their employees.  It is important for them to be aware of the related Singapore income tax and GST rules:

  • For Singapore income tax purposes, any gifts not exceeding $200 is considered not substantial in value and thus, the gifts to the employees do not constitute a taxable benefit.  However, if the gift exceeds this exemption threshold, the full value of the gifts is a taxable benefit to the employee.
  • For Singapore GST purposes, the Comptroller allows the employers to claim input tax incurred on the gifts for Chinese New Year to their employees (not to the employees’ family members).   On the other hand, the the cost of each gift exceeds $200, the employers will also be required to account for output tax.  Of course, the employers need not account for any output tax if they do not make any input tax claims.



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