A business starts with an idea but has to go through a number of statutory mandates to establish itself as a legal entity and that’s where we come in. We have spent innumerable years guiding our clients on matters concerning registration, licensing and incorporation that come under the purview of different local and international laws. While inception is one area of our expertise we stand by our clients as they grow and establish numerous subsidiaries under various jurisdictions. And such organizations with numerous entities under one umbrella seek our services to consolidate their financials and to get a framework for interpretation and analysis.
Registering as an employer with the Central Provident Fund (“CPF”) Board is one of the critical post-incorporation matters that you need to manage after your company is set up. You need to contribute to the CPF accounts of your employees who are Singaporeans or Singapore Permanent Residents. As soon as you intend to hire your first employee, you should embark on the application to e-submit your CPF contribution details. Upon approval by CPF Board, you will receive a welcome email and welcome letter containing your CPF Submission Number (“CSN”), Payment Advice (CPF91) and Direct Debit Authorization Form for payment via Direct Debit. Origins Corporate Services specializes in helping companies with the administrative process of filling up the required forms, making the necessary applications and setting up the online submission portal in preparation for your first CPF e-submission. Leave it to our experienced administrators to plow through the paperwork efficiently and freeing up your time for more strategic planning and business development.
When you kick-start a business, there will be numerous questions running through your mind on what needs to be done, what should be done and what must be done. We understand your anxieties as one of the most frequently asked questions we have from our budding entrepreneurs after they set up their companies is: “Do I need to register for GST?”.
What is GST:
Goods and Services Tax or GST is a broad-based consumption tax on the supply of almost all goods and services in Singapore by a taxable person in the course or furtherance of any business carried on by him and levied on the import of goods (collected by Singapore Customs) into Singapore. It is a misconception that GST registration is mandatory for company incorporation or business set-up. In fact, IRAS advises all businesses to consider carefully the costs and benefits of voluntary GST registration.
Must I register for GST – Compulsory registration:
It is compulsory for every Singapore business to register for GST if its annual taxable turnover is more than S$1 million or it can reasonably expect its taxable turnover in the next 12 months to be more than $1 million.
Taxable supplies include 1) goods and services supplied in Singapore, 2) goods and services supplied overseas and 3) any international services provided from Singapore. After registration, businesses must charge and account for GST at the prevailing rate, also known as output tax. Businesses can also claim the GST incurred on their goods and services purchased upon satisfaction of certain conditions. This is known as input tax.
However, if you assess that you are liable for GST registration but your taxable turnover is wholly or mainly from zero-rated supplies, you can choose to apply for exemption from GST registration.
Can I register for GST – Voluntary registration
You may register your business voluntarily for GST even if your annual turnover is less than S$1 million provided you satisfy the following criteria:
- You are carrying on a business and you are making or intend to make taxable supplies; or
- You make taxable supplies and your annual taxable turnover is less than S$1 million; or
- You make out-of-scope supplies (that is, you supply goods from a country outside Singapore to a country outside Singapore); or
- You make exempt supplies of financial services that qualify as international services or export of investment precious metals.
Voluntary GST registrants are required to complete two e-Learning courses – “Registering for GST” and “Overview of GST” – and pass the quiz. These e-learning courses are available on IRAS’ website (www.iras.gov.sg).
You have to remain GST registered for at least two (2) years upon successful voluntary registration. IRAS may request for a security deposit to be provided on a case-by-case basis.
Advantages of voluntary registration
You enjoy the benefit of claiming input tax incurred in the course of your businesses, subject to satisfaction of certain conditions, in particular when you make mostly zero-rated supplies (exports and international services).
What you should consider before voluntary registration:
Knowing your responsibilities and obligations of GST registration is important as this forms a major part of your compliance of being GST registered. IRAS has designed two e-learning courses “Registering for GST” and “Overview of GST” which you can access for free on its website. These courses serve to equip you as a business owner and GST preparers with basic knowledge of GST.
Consider your cash flows as you have to charge and account for the GST on your supplies although you may not have received the money from your customers on the sale. On the other hand, you can claim input tax on your purchases and expenses like rent, utilities, office supplies, fixed assets and so on, incurred in the course of your business.
You are also advised to engage an accountant or professional accounting firm who is experienced in accounting for GST and submitting the necessary quarterly filings to IRAS.
What is the current GST rate?
The prevailing GST rate is 7%.
When do I need to register for GST if I am liable for registration?
You must register for GST under either of the scenarios below:
|1)||Under the retrospective view, you have assessed that your annual taxable turnover exceeded S$1 million for the quarters ended March, June, September or December. You must register for GST within 30 days of the day of the last quarter which you had assessed your annual taxable turnover exceeded S$1 million; or|
|2)||Under the prospective view, you must register for GST within 30 days of the day which you can reasonably expect your taxable turnover in the next 12 months to be more than S$1 million. For example, signing of a sales contract worth S$1 million.|
Submitting your GST application
An application for GST can be made online via myTax Portal, submitting a paper application or engage a professional firm to prepare and apply on your behalf. You are also required to submit documents to support your GST registration depending on the nature of your business.
The processing times vary depending on the type of registration (voluntary or compulsory registrations) and application (online or manual).
|Processing time upon receipt of complete information and supporting documents|
|Online Applications||Paper Applications|
|Compulsory||2 working days||10 working days|
|Voluntary||10 working days||One month|
Origins Corporate Services has assisted many companies to register for GST successfully. Under our guidance you can be sure of:
- Meeting all regulatory and documentary requirements in a timely and accurate manner, thereby reducing the possibility of re-application and time delay arising out of incomplete submissions
- Rapid turnaround of all the required processes and retrieval of forms, saving you time on researching and doing the legwork for application
- Liaising with the Comptroller of GST on queries and clarification relating to your GST registration