To assist GST-registered businesses to comply with tax obligations, IRAS has designed a suite of GST initiatives to facilitate your voluntary compliance.
a. Assisted Compliance Assurance Programme (ACAP)
Assisted Compliance Assurance Programme (ACAP)
, launched on 5 Apr 2011, provides a holistic framework for businesses to proactively self-manage their GST risks and treat tax risk management as part of their corporate governance framework.
IRAS is the first tax administration in the world to incentivise businesses to undertake ACAP by setting aside a total of $10 million budget to co-fund GST-registered businesses 50% of the cost (capped at $50,000) of engaging an external consultant to validate their GST control framework.
Businesses that have obtained ACAP status will enjoy benefits such as 3 to 5 years of exemption from time-consuming and costly GST audits, faster GST refunds, speedier resolution of GST issues and automatic renewal of GST schemes.
b. Assisted Self-help Kit (ASK)
Assisted Self-help Kit (ASK)
is a comprehensive self-assessment compliance package to help businesses review correctness of GST submission and discover past GST errors early to qualify for IRAS’ Voluntary Disclosure Programme
. ASK is available to all GST-registered businesses.
What is the difference between ASK and ACAP?
Both ASK and ACAP are assisted initiatives designed to encourage GST compliance, but each has its own target businesses and focus. Their key differences are:Table 1
|1. Target businesses
All GST-registered businesses, regardless of turnover, may adopt ASK on a voluntary basis. IRAS may also require businesses to adopt ASK for specified purposes e.g. in applying for GST schemes as specified.
For GST-registered businesses that:
(i) place importance on tax risk management as part of their corporate governance; and
(ii) establish robust GST controls at three levels: Entity, Transaction and GST Reporting.
Participation in ACAP is entirely voluntary, depending on your readiness and needs.
||ASK focuses on 3 key aspects of ensuring GST compliance:
(i) Internal processes to properly handle GST reporting of transactions;
(ii) Accurate filing of GST returns by conducting pre-filing check; and
(iii) Annual review of past returns filed in each financial year (ASK Annual Review).
ACAP focuses on conducting a holistic review of the effectiveness of the GST Control Framework to manage GST risks and secure on-going GST compliance.
The review approach differs from ASK Annual Review. This is illustrated in Table 2.
• Cultivates discipline to adopt at least the essential requirements in getting ready to be GST compliant.
• Provides assurance on the correctness of the current and past GST submissions.
|Provides assurance of GST compliance to the stakeholders of the businesses on a sustainable long term basis by incorporating the following elements in its tax risk framework:
(i) Risk Identification;
(ii) Corrective Measures;
(iii) Preventive Measures;and
(iv) Monitoring Mechanism.
The distinguishing differences between ASK Annual Review and ACAP are:Table 2
||ASK Annual Review
Detects errors early for GST returns filed in the past financial year.
Ensures effectiveness of GST controls and accuracy of GST reporting for a 12-month period.
|2. Review approach
• Step-by-step process based on GST ASK Annual Review Guide (975KB).
• Focuses on verifying transactions reported in the GST returns regardless of the internal controls.
• Risk-based review of GST controls based on GST ACAP Review Guidance (923KB).
• Wider scope than ASK Annual Review as it focuses on:
(i) extensive reviews on internal controls that impact GST compliance; and
(ii) verifying transactions to ensure accuracy of GST reporting.
|3. Personnel involved in review
(i) In-house GST personnel or accounting staff; or
(ii) External tax advisory firms; or
(iii) an individual accredited with the Singapore Institute of Accredited Tax Professionals (SIATP) as an Accredited Tax Advisor (GST) [ ATA (GST) ] or Accredited Tax Practitioner (GST) [ ATP (GST) ].^
For the purpose of application for or renewal of GST schemes where ASK is specified as a pre-requisite, the ‘ASK’ Annual Review must either be performed by:
(i) an individual accredited with SIATP as ATA (GST) or ATP(GST); or
(ii) the GST-registered business and certified by an individual accredited with SIATP as ATA (GST) or ATP (GST), and in adherence to the certification procedures set out in the GST ASK Annual Review Guide (975KB).
^ The ATA (GST) or ATP (GST) may either be an in-house staff or external party. For more information on accreditation, please visit www.siatp.org.sg
(i) CPA firm or its tax affiliate where the team lead is an Accredited Tax Advisor (GST) of SIATP;
(ii) Internal audit team where the team member is an Accredited Tax Practitioner (GST) or Accredited Tax Advisor (GST) of SIATP; or
(iii) A joint team comprising both (i) and (ii).