print friendly version
Text Size  A  A  A

For GST-registered businesses

A general principle on zero-rating your supply of goods (i.e. charge GST at 0%) is that you must, at the point of supply (based on the time of supply rules), be certain that:

  • the goods supplied will be or has been exported, and 
  • you have or will have the required documents to support zero-rating. The required documents can be found in GST: A Guide on Exports (840KB).

On this page:
Direct Export
Indirect Export
Documents to support zero-rating
60-Day rule
Hand-Carried Export Scheme
Supplies related to aircrafts and ships (Budget 2010 Changes)

Direct Export

A direct export situation occurs when you (the supplier) have custody of the goods to be exported and control over the export arrangement. Examples of direct export scenarios include:

  • You export the goods via your freight forwarder/handling agent/postal or courier company and invoice your overseas customer.
  • You export the goods via your freight forwarder/handling agent upon instruction of your local customer and invoice your local customer.
  • Your goods are consolidated by your freight forwarder/handling agent before the goods are exported and you invoice your overseas customer.

Please refer to the GST: A Guide on Exports (840KB) for other direct export scenarios and required documents to support zero-rating for each scenario.

 
Back to Top  

 

Indirect Export

If you do not have custody of the goods to be exported or control over the export arrangement, you must treat the sale as a local supply and charge GST accordingly.

Exceptions

You can zero-rate the supply of goods when you are, at the time of supply, certain that all the goods will be exported. Examples include:

  • You invoice your overseas customer and deliver the goods to the freight forwarder/handling agent appointed by your overseas customer.
  • You invoice the overseas customer and instruct your local supplier to deliver the goods to the overseas customer.

Please refer to GST: A Guide on Exports (840KB) for other indirect export scenarios and required documents to support zero-rating for each scenario.

 
Back to Top  

 

Documents to support zero-rating

To zero-rate your exports, you are required to maintain the relevant export evidence. In general, the following documents need to be maintained:

Transaction documents

  • Purchase order from your customer
  • Your sales invoice to your customer
  • Your delivery note/packing list endorsed by the freight forwarder/handling agent with:
    (i) a statement stating that “goods delivered are for export”
    (ii) name, address and GST registration no. (if applicable) of the freight forwarder/handling agent
    (iii) date of collection of goods
  • Insurance documents (if applicable) with details of the shipment
  • Evidence of payment received from your customer
  • Written instructions from your customer to deliver the goods to his freight forwarder/handling agent (for indirect exports)
  • Any other documents specified by the Comptroller in the GST: A Guide on Exports (840KB)

Transport documents

  • For exports via sea or air:
    • Bill of lading/airway bill/cargo manifest/mate’s receipt or subsidiary export certificate/note of shipment issued by freight forwarder/handling agent
  • For exports via land:
    • Export permit or subsidiary export certificate/note of shipment issued by freight forwarder/handling agent
  • Any other documents specified by the Comptroller in the GST: A Guide on Exports (840KB)

 
Back to Top  

 

60-Day Rule

You have up to 60 days from the time of supply to export the goods and collate the required export documents.

In the event that you fail to export the goods and to obtain all the required documents within the 60-day period, you are required to standard-rate the transaction and account for GST based on the prevailing rate on the supply made.

There are some exceptions to the 60-day rule. You can refer to the GST: A Guide on Exports (840KB) for more information.

 
Back to Top  

 

Hand-Carried Export Scheme

Hand-Carried Export Scheme (HCES) is applicable if you wish to zero-rate your supply to overseas customer for goods that are hand-carried out of Singapore via Changi International Airport.

For more information, please refer to Hand-Carried Exports Scheme.

 
Back to Top  

 

Supplies related to aircrafts and ships (Budget 2010 Changes)

The Minister for Finance, in his 2010 Budget Statement, announced GST changes to the supplies to aircrafts and ships.  

Supplies to aircrafts

With effect from 1 Jul 2010, you may zero-rate supplies of stores, fuel and merchandise (for sale by retail to persons on the aircraft) to all aircraft. An aircraft refers to one which is:

  • not used or intended to be used for recreation or pleasure; or
  • if it is used or intended to be used for recreation or pleasure, it should be wholly used or intended to be wholly used for international travel
    a) from a place outside Singapore to another place outside Singapore; or
    b) from a place in Singapore to a place outside Singapore; or
    c) from a place outside Singapore to a place in Singapore.

Accordingly, the aircraft does not need to be on a flight to or from a destination outside Singapore in order for you to zero-rate your supply of stores or merchandise for sale by retail.

For more information on the change, please refer to the e-Tax guide on GST Guide for the Aerospace Industry (928KB).

Supplies to ships

With effect from 1 Jul 2010, you may zero-rate a supply relating to goods (whether by sale or lease) where the Comptroller is satisfied that the goods are:

(i) for use as stores or fuel on a ship;
(ii) for installation on a ship or a ship under construction;
(iii) for use in the maintenance or operation of a ship; or
(iv) for sale by retail as merchandise to persons carried on a ship.

For the purposes of applying zero-rating, 'ship' refers to one which falls within the meaning of ship in section 21(4)(a) of the GST Act.

This means that zero-rating is not restricted to only stores and merchandise for sale by retail. It also means that the ship does not need to be on a voyage to or from a destination outside Singapore in order for you to zero-rate your supply of goods. With respect to lease of goods, it no longer needs to be supplied to an overseas person.

For more information on the change, please refer to the e-Tax guide on GST Guide for the Marine Industry - 2010 Budget Changes (489KB).

 
Back to Top  

 


FAQs

You may issue a tax invoice or other document to notify an obligation to pay (e.g. commercial invoice) for your zero-rated supplies.

If you choose to issue a tax invoice, you are required to indicate that GST is charged at 0% on the tax invoice.


For exports of goods via land and under the Hand-Carried Export Scheme, the export permit is a required document to support zero-rating.  For details on import and export documentation procedure, please refer to the Singapore Customs website .


You must standard-rate the supply and account for GST based on the prevailing rate.


You should obtain a duplicate copy from the issuer of the documents. The replacement document must be marked “COPY – For GST purposes” and be dated and authenticated by an official of the issuing company.



You are required to charge GST on the local sales made to your customer. This is because when goods are delivered to your local customer or collected by the customer himself, you cannot be certain that the goods supplied will be exported at the time of supply. Even though you might be able to obtain the required export evidence subsequently, you cannot zero-rate the supply of goods to your customer. 


As you do not have custody of the goods nor control over the export arrangement, you should charge GST on the supply of goods.  However, if you are certain that all the goods will be exported at the time of supply, you can zero-rate your supply to Y. You must also maintain all the export evidence required for your relevant scenario in GST: A Guide on Exports (556KB).


To zero-rate, you must maintain the required export evidence listed in:

Zero-rating will be allowed regardless whether the person who hand-carries the goods out of Singapore is your overseas customer, yourself or any other person appointed by you or your overseas customer.



 

Rate this page
Strongly Disagree                 Strongly Agree
Information is easy to understand.  
Information is useful.
Information is easy to find.

Suggestions to improve this page:
  
Please email us if you would like us to respond to your enquiries.

Last Updated on 1 August 2014


© 2014 Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore. All Rights Reserved.