9 Dec 2011
GST-registered companies that undertake Assisted Compliance Assurance Programme (ACAP) from 1 April 2012 can look forward to a second tranche of co-funding by IRAS.
IRAS is pleased to announce an additional $5 million budget to co-fund GST-registered businesses 50% of the fees incurred in undertaking ACAP. This is in addition to the original budget of $5 million set aside by IRAS when ACAP was first launched in April 2011.
As part of its efforts to facilitate and raise voluntary compliance among GST-registered businesses, IRAS introduced ACAP, a holistic solution for companies to proactively self-manage their GST risks and treat tax risk management as part of their corporate governance framework.
Companies that undertake ACAP within the 5-year period from 5 April 2011 to 4 April 2016 and attain ACAP status will be offered two attractive incentives, namely, 50% co-funding of ACAP fees capped at $50,000; and a one-time waiver of penalties for voluntary disclosures of past GST errors.
IRAS is the first tax administration in the world to introduce such comprehensive GST compliance guidance that comes with attractive incentives.
The ACAP status also allows businesses to enjoy benefits such as 3 to 5 years of exemption from time-consuming & costly GST audits, faster GST refunds, speedier resolution of GST issues and automatic renewal of GST schemes. ACAP helps companies to proactively manage their tax risks and ensure that consistently robust internal controls are in place to detect tax errors early and on a timely basis. In the long run, a structure and a visible function that is properly set up to evaluate the impact of GST on the business transactions will ensure the completeness and accuracy of GST reporting. In turn, a reduced risk of GST non-compliance will ultimately allow a business to reap productivity gains – savings in both time and money.
Since its launch in April 2011, IRAS has received overwhelming response to ACAP, resulting in the first $5 million budget fully taken up. The high ACAP take-up by nearly 160 companies has far exceeded the original target of attracting 100 companies over 5 years. This signals a positive shift in compliance behavior, as businesses start to take a more proactive approach to strengthen tax risk management for good corporate governance.
The additional ACAP funding signals IRAS’ continued commitment during the initial phase of ACAP implementation to support companies in enhancing their tax risk management and strengthening GST internal controls. To avail ACAP co-funding incentive to companies that require more time to prepare for ACAP, the additional $5 million budget will be spread over from 1 Apr 2012 to 4 Apr 2016.
IRAS believes that this co-funding support will help change corporates’ governance outlook on voluntary tax compliance. For it is only with robust GST controls and tax risk management framework that exposure to GST risks is minimized, resulting in lower compliance costs in the long run.
As the ultimate responsibility for tax compliance rests with companies, the ACAP co-funding will not continue indefinitely.
The “GST Guide on Assisted Compliance Assurance Programme” which explains the requirements of the ACAP and the details on the ACAP incentives are available on IRAS website at www.iras.gov.sg. For enquiries on ACAP, please call the GST Helpline at 1800 356 8633 or email to email@example.com.
Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore