How To Register Your Company For GST in Singapore?

If you are a business owner in Singapore, you must have at least heard of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). GST translates into the Goods and Services Tax in full, a broad based consumption tax that is a lot similar to the Value Added Tax (VAT) imposed in most European Union countries on imported goods and on final sale of specific goods whose value has been added through production.

GST in Singapore

GST registration in Singapore can be either voluntary or compulsory. For compulsory registration, the business is required by the law to register for this tax. Some businesses are however exempt from registration though the business owners may choose to register under voluntary registration and take advantage of the many benefits that come with The Goods and Services Tax.
Registration for GST is pretty straightforward though there are steps that need to be taken to complete the registration process. Below is a detailed guide on all the processes that are involved in the GST registration process.

1. Determining the type of registration

As discussed above, a business owner needs to know whether to apply for compulsory or voluntary registration. Any business that has or is likely to have an annual turnover of over S$1 million from taxable goods and services is required to apply under compulsory registration. Businesses that deal with goods and services that are exempt from GST such as those selling and leasing of residential properties or those offering financial services may apply for voluntary registration if they fulfill any of the following requirements;
- Supplies made by the business are taxable
- Business offers financial services that are classified under international services in Section 21(3) of the GST Act
- The business makes out of scope supplies. These are mainly supplies that were sold without entering Singapore and goods that are on transit.

2. Taking up a GST e-learning course.

This is a requirement for only the business owners that are applying for voluntary registration. One member of the company is required to take an e-learning course and complete the required quiz.

3. Making and submitting the GST registration

The next course of action after determining the type of registration and taking the e-learning course for voluntary registration should be making the GST registration. The registration can be either completed online using the myTax portal or done by manually filling in the GST registration forms. For the online application, a user guide is provided on the steps that should be taken for the registration to be successful. There are a number of documents that should accompany the registration forms.These documents depend on the type of business and will vary from one type of business to another.
Business owners applying under voluntary registration need to be in the GIRO plan. A GIRO application form should therefore be submitted together with the GST registration form. A notification of liability and clear details for all partners are required for partnerships to complete the registration process. The same applies for joint ventures where two or more people come together to establish a business. A joint venture needs to be registered with ACRA as a legal entity. If the venture is not registered with ACRA.

GST in Singapore

The following conditions need to be fulfilled for the application to be successful
- The joint venture members should be carrying out a business in common
- All business members should participate in the business
- One member should be appointed to act as administrator responsible for making the GST payment among other GST related requirements on behalf of other members
- The joint venture should be an organized entity governed by a constitution that dictates its mode of operation. There should be records of contracts, partnership agreements and deeds among other legally binding documents.
GST registration is not just for business entities that are based in Singapore. Oversees entities are also liable for GST registration. When registering for GST for oversees entities it is a requirement for the applicant to appoint a local agent otherwise known as a section 33(1) agent. The appointed agent works on behalf of the applicant to ensure that the application is completed and successful. An appointed letter should be given to the appointed agent. All other rules and regulations governing registration of local businesses also apply for oversees entities.
Once the registration process is completed and all relevant documents gathered, the application is then submitted for processing.

4. Applications processing

After submitting the GST application either online or to the nearest customs office, the applicant has to wait for the registration to be processed. The waiting period is relatively shorter for compulsory registration when compared to voluntary registration and may be anything between 2 to 5 days. Application processing for voluntary registration generally takes longer but will rarely take more than two weeks. The waiting period may however be much longer especially where required supporting documents are not submitted on time. Applicants should therefore ensure that they submit all the relevant documents together with the GST registration forms.

5. Registration notification

If the application is successful, an approval letter is issued. The letter contains the business GST Registration Number and the date when the registration should be completed. The date in most cases falls within three weeks after the approval letter is issued. The time allowance before the effective registration date provides enough time for business owners to update their point of sale systems, update all invoices, and train and prepare staff for the changes that are expected once the business or company is GST registered.

After successful registration the following GST requirements should be adhered to

- All GST supplies made and received by the business should be properly accounted for
- GST returns should be submitted
- A tax invoice for every supply should be issued unless otherwise stated
- Tax should be paid not later than the last day of the following month after the taxable month
- Custom officials should be notified within 30 days if a GST registered business ceases its operations
The steps discussed above contain all the requirements needed for successful GST registration. If you need of the above points clarified, consult your local custom officials for further guidance on the same.

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