This article will walk you through everything you need to know about Singapore’s import GST, including the regulations, calculation methods, import procedures, and essential practices for successful importing.
What is the Goods & Services Tax (GST) in Singapore
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a value-added tax (VAT) levied on Singapore’s supply of goods and services. Import GST is charged when goods are brought into the country and are meant to be consumed locally. This tax is set at a rate of 8%, and it is calculated based on the initial cost of the goods when they entered the country, including:
- CIF Value: This is the total cost of the item, including insurance and shipping.
- Customs Duties: Any fees imposed by Singapore Customs.
- Extra Charges: Any additional costs for bringing the goods or services to Singapore.
GST exemptions apply to various categories, such as the provision of most financial services, the distribution of digital payment tokens, the sale and leasing of residential properties, and the import and local distribution of investment-grade precious metals. Furthermore, exported goods and international services are subject to a zero-rated tax rate.
GST Regulations for Importing into Singapore
Understanding the key regulations to navigate Singapore’s Import GST successfully is essential. Here are the key points you need to be aware of:
Rate of GST in Singapore
Singapore’s current Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate is 8%. If you’re a business registered for GST, you need to add an 8% tax to the price of your goods and services when you sell them in Singapore unless the sale qualifies for a zero-rated or exempt status as per GST regulations.
GST on Imported Low-Value Goods (LVG)
Singapore introduced a new rule that requires consumers to pay Goods and Services Tax (GST) on low-value imported goods valued at S$400 or less bought from suppliers registered for GST. This change ensures that the GST treatment is consistent for all goods consumed in Singapore, whether locally purchased or imported overseas through air or post.
For goods brought into the country by sea or land and those exceeding S$400 when imported by air or post, the existing GST rules remain unchanged, and GST is payable at the point of importation.
This rule expansion also covers non-digital services from overseas providers registered for GST. Both digital and non-digital services that can be provided and received remotely, known as “remote services,” are now subject to GST.
Taxable and Non-Taxable Goods and Services
In Singapore, goods and services are taxable or non-taxable, each with its regulations. Here’s a detailed breakdown of what falls into these categories:
- Standard-Rated Supplies (8% GST):
- Goods: Most stuff you buy locally, like a TV from a store in Singapore.
- Sale of Imported Low-Value Goods: When you buy something from a foreign seller, like a tennis racket, for more than $330.
- Export of Goods: When you sell something to people outside Singapore, it gets shipped there.
- Zero-Rated Supplies (0% GST):
- Goods: Sales of some things, like products delivered from overseas to overseas.
- Services: Some services, mainly international services, like international flights.
- Exempt Supplies (GST not applicable):
- Goods: Renting or selling unfurnished homes.
- Goods: Special metals trading.
- Goods: Private deals that don’t get taxed.
- Out-of-Scope Supplies (0% GST):
- Services: Financial services, like issuing debt securities.
- Services: Trading digital payment tokens like Bitcoin for regular money.
- Goods: More private deals that are exempt from tax.
GST Registration Process
Registering for Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Singapore is a pivotal step for businesses. This comprehensive guide outlines the key steps and important details to ensure a smooth registration process.
Step 1: Choose Your GST Type
Before diving into the GST registration process, it’s essential to understand the type of registration that applies to your business.
Step 2: Learn the Basics
Take an easy e-learning course to understand how GST works. It will help you handle everyday situations, file GST returns, and follow tax rules. We recommend this for everyone applying for GST.
Step 3: Apply Online
Submit your GST registration application on our website: mytax.iras.gov.sg.
You can follow these steps to log in to Singapore myTax Portal:
- Step 1: Authorise users for GST filing
- Step 2: File your GST return on myTax Portal
- Step 3: Save a copy of the acknowledgement page and make payment
Here are some key points to remember:
- Get Permission: Ensure you’re authorised through Corppass to access our services online.
- Prepare Documents: Have your documents ready in digital format (PDF).
- Voluntary Registration: If registering voluntarily, you must sign up for GIRO for GST payments. After applying online, mail the completed GIRO form to 55 Newton Road, Singapore 307987.
Step 4: Wait for Approval
We usually take about ten working days to process your application. We might ask for more info or documents. If your application isn’t complete, it might be considered withdrawn.
Step 5: Get Confirmation
If your registration is successful, we’ll send you a letter with your:
- GST registration number (use it on your invoices)
- Effective registration date (start charging GST from this date)
You can also see the letter online on mytax.iras.gov.sg.
The registration date will be backdated if you’re late for compulsory registration. You’ll be registered within two weeks from the approval date for voluntary registration, and there won’t be any backdating.
Or you can refer to this guide when accessing myTax Portal for businesses.
GST Payment Methods
When it comes to paying your Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Singapore, you have several convenient options, such as:
- Giro for GST
- PayNow QR
- AXS e-Station or AXS m-Station
- Internet Banking Bill Payment
- Internet Banking Fund Transfer
- Telegraphic Transfer
For more detailed information, visit the Singapore Inland Revenue Authority Website here.
GST Due Date and Extension
The due dates for GST returns and payments are crucial to ensure compliance with your tax obligations. These dates are determined based on the accounting period covered by the return. Here’s a breakdown of the key dates:
Without GIRO Plan:
- For Jan – Mar: File and pay by April 30.
- For Apr-Jun: File and pay by July 31.
- For Jul – Sept: File and pay by October 31.
- For Oct-Dec: File and pay by January 31.
With GIRO Plan for GST Payment:
- For Jan – Mar: File by April 30, and payment will be deducted on May 15.
- For Apr-Jun: File by July 31, and payment will be deducted on August 15.
- For Jul – Sept: File by October 31, and payment will be deducted on November 15.
- For Oct-Dec: File by January 31, and payment will be deducted on February 15.
Special Accounting Periods:
- If you have a particular GST accounting period, file within one month from the period’s end.
After filing, check your acknowledgement page for payment instructions.
Suspension of GST on Imports
You may be eligible for GST exemption on imported goods if you fall under the following schemes:
- Major Exporter Scheme (MES)
- Zero GST / Licensed Warehouse Scheme
- Approved Third Party Logistics Company (3PL) Scheme
- Approved Contract Manufacturer and Trader (ACMT) Scheme
- Approved Refiner and Consolidator Scheme (ARCS)
- Import GST Deferment Scheme (IGDS)
- Goods temporarily removed from Zero-GST or Licensed Warehouse for auctions and exhibitions.
- Free Trade Zones and Transshipments
- GST treatment related to overseas goods stored in Free Trade Zone
- GST treatment related to local goods stored in Free Trade Zone
For more details about Singapore GST Importation, visit the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore Website or their GST Importation Guide here. Also, you can refer to their customs website for more comprehensive details about Singapore customs duties.
Computation of Singapore GST on Imported Goods
Import Goods and Services Tax (GST) is imposed on the taxable value, encompassing the comprehensive cost, insurance, freight (CIF), customs duty (where applicable), as well as associated commissions and incidental charges.
The initial price of the goods is $10,000.00. Added to this is the cost of freight and insurance, which amounts to $2,000.00, resulting in a CIF value of $12,000.00. When customs duty is applied at $3,600.00, the total taxable value becomes $15,600.00. Subsequently, an 8% GST of $1,248.00 is levied on this taxable value.
Singapore Import Procedure and Requirements
If you want to import goods into Singapore, here’s a straightforward guide to help you through the process:
Step 1: Register for UEN and Activate Customs Account
Before engaging in import or export activities or obtaining permits and certificates, you must register with the Unique Entity Number (UEN) issuance agency, typically the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). After obtaining your UEN, activate your Customs Account to kickstart the import process.
Step 2: Check if Your Goods are Controlled
Before importing goods to Singapore, check if government authorities regulate them. You can search using the item’s description, Harmonized System (HS), or product code. If your item is handled, contact the relevant authority for licensing info. If you need clarification on the HS code, you can get an official classification for S$75, which is helpful in Singapore.
Step 3: Apply for Inter-Bank GIRO
Maintaining an Interbank GIRO (IBG) with Singapore Customs is essential. It facilitates payments of duties, taxes, fees, penalties, and other charges directly from your bank account to Singapore Customs. Complete the Application for Inter-Bank GIRO form and submit it to the provided address. You can also authorise your Declaring Agent to use your IBG for payments one day after your IBG application’s approval.
Step 4: Furnish Security
Certain import transactions, such as those involving dutiable goods, temporary imports for approved purposes, or licensed premises like warehouses and excise factories, require you to provide security. This security can be a Banker’s Guarantee, a Finance Company Guarantee, or an Insurance Bond. Consult the relevant guidelines for more details.
Step 5: Obtain Customs Import Permit
You have two options for obtaining customs permits, including appoint a Declaring Agent or obtain permits directly for yourself or your clients. If you choose the latter, you must register as a Declaring Agent and apply for a TradeNet user ID. All permit applications must be submitted via TradeNet, accessible through approved software vendors or the Government Front-End Application. Moreover, it’s essential to be aware of possible service fees imposed by Declaring Agents and discuss these with your chosen agent.
Step 6: Prepare Documents for Cargo Clearance
To get your cargo cleared, you need the correct documents. There are two types of cargo: containers and regular cargo.
- For Containerised Cargo:
- No Printed Permit: Usually, you don’t need a printed customs permit for containerised cargo.
- Exceptions: If you import by air or land, you will need the customs permit and supporting docs for verification.
- For Conventional Cargo:
- Present Permit: You must show the customs permit and supporting docs to checkpoint officers during clearance.
Step 7: Retain your Trade Documents
It’s essential to retain important documents connected to buying, importing, selling, or exporting goods for a minimum of five years from the date when your permit application is approved. You can keep these records in physical or digital formats and should have them easily accessible for inspection by Singapore Customs upon their request.
Singapore Exempt Imports
Imported Investment Precious Metals (IPM) in Singapore enjoy a GST exemption. IPM falls under the exempted import category, meaning that importers are not required to pay GST on importation.
However, it is essential to obtain an Exemption Permit through TradeNet® when importing IPM. You are not obligated to include the value of IPM-exempt imports in your GST returns. It is essential to maintain the necessary documentation, including import permits, purchase orders, invoices, and delivery notes to substantiate these transactions.
How Luwjistik Helps
Luwjistik offers a cutting-edge logistics platform solution to streamline operations and foster collaboration among businesses and a network of service providers. It encompasses an all-in-one platform that simplifies your decision-making process regarding import tax calculations, ensuring a seamless clearance process.
Discover how Luwjistik can be of assistance:
- Marketplace Access
- This tool serves as your gateway to a network of trusted partners, which includes customs brokers in 22 countries. You can select customs brokerage services that aid in import tax determination and gain access to their expertise for precise tax classifications, trade regulations, and tax calculations.
- L-Freight Tool
- This tool simplifies customs processes through document submission and tracking, guaranteeing accurate and transparent customs declarations, which minimises the chances of import tax errors. Real-time shipment tracking, including customs clearance status.
- Node Calculator
- This comprehensive tool aims to help businesses navigate import taxes and enhance supply chain operations. It dissects costs at every stage of the supply chain, offering transparency and enabling well-informed decision-making.