Keeping records

GST-registered businesses must keep proper business and accounting records for at least 5 years to support GST declarations.

Types of records to keep

Income records

  • Tax invoices/simplified tax invoices issued, serially numbered receipts issued or cash register tapes to explain each sales transaction
  • Rental agreements signed by both landlord and tenant to explain your rental income
  • Credit notes for returned goods
  • Documents relating to your exports (e.g. bill of lading, air waybill, export permit)
  • Evidence that you have received payment (e.g. bank statement)

Purchase & business expense records

  • Invoices or receipts received to explain each purchase transaction or business expense
  • Documents relating to your imports (e.g. bill of lading, air waybill, import permit)
  • Payment vouchers on payment made to individuals/companies for services rendered and the relevant contracts/agreements on the provision of services
  • Rental agreements signed by both landlord and tenant to explain your rental expenses
  • Evidence that you have made payment for the purchases (e.g. bank statement)

Please refer to our instructional video for an overview of record keeping requirements for GST purposes.

Other records to support GST declarations

 

1. You must also keep the source documents of all other business transactions that affect the output tax and input tax reported in your GST return.

Some of these transactions include:

  • Use of business assets for private purpose
  • Disposal of business assets
  • Removal of goods from customs-licensed warehouse

2. Records of the steps taken to ascertain whether the supply made to you or by you was part of a Missing Trader Fraud arrangement.New

  • The risks assessed

  • The due diligence checks performed, including any checks designed to address the specific risks

  • The actions taken in response to the results from the checks

Statements & accounting schedules

To keep track of and summarise your records, you should also keep:

  • Bank statements of your business (separate bank accounts for personal and business purposes is recommended)
  • Stock lists to explain your trading stock on hand at the end of each accounting period
  • General ledgers to record your assets and liabilities, revenue and expenses
  • Statement of accounts such as Balance sheet and Profit and Loss Statements
  • Sale listings in the format below to explain your supplies
    keepingrecords1 (png)
  • Purchase listings in the format below to explain your purchases
    keepingrecords2 (png)

Use these templates (XLSX, 66KB) to prepare your sale and purchase listings.

For more details, please refer to our Record Keeping Guide for GST-registered Businesses (PDF, 254KB).

All business and accounting records are maintained for at least 5 years. Failure to do so may result in input GST claims being disallowed and/ or penalties.

    GST account

    A GST account is a summary of the totals of your input tax and output tax for each accounting period. You may wish to keep a GST account to facilitate your completion of the GST returns.

    Electronic records

    You do not need to seek approval from the Comptroller of GST to keep your records in other forms (e.g. electronic media and imaging systems), so long as you satisfy the requirements in the guides below.

    Learn more about the various requirements:  

    GST-registered businesses  

    Please refer to Record Keeping Guide for GST-registered Businesses (PDF, 254KB) for the record keeping requirements. The guide also covers requirements for keeping business records in electronic media and imaging systems. 

    Non-GST registered businesses 

    Please refer to Record Keeping Guide for Non GST-registered Businesses (PDF, 334KB) for the record keeping requirements. The guide also covers requirements for keeping business records in electronic media and imaging systems.

    Non-GST registered small businesses adopting simplified record keeping requirements

    For non-GST registered small businesses that satisfy the qualifying conditions to adopt simplified record keeping requirements from 1 Jan 2014 for Year of Assessment (YA) 2015, please refer to the Simplified Record Keeping Requirements for Small Businesses (PDF, 500KB). 

    For a summary of the different types of records required, refer to the Record Keeping Checklist (PDF, 64KB).

    Record keeping self-assessment toolkit

    Use our self-assessment toolkit to perform a self-review of your existing record keeping standards and to better understand the possible areas for improvement.

    For GST-registered businesses, please download the tool-kit (XLSX, 172KB).

    For Non-GST registered businesses, please download the tool-kit (XLSX, 30KB). 


    • What if I lose some of my records?

      If you are unable to provide sufficient documents to support your input tax claim, your input tax claim will be disallowed.

      If you lose the supporting documents to prove the export of your goods or provision of international services, you will have to treat your sale as a local supply and account for the 7% GST accordingly.

      In addition, penalties may be imposed for failure to maintain sufficient documents to support your GST declaration.

    • If my business purchases a new accounting software, do we need to migrate all the accounting transactions recorded in the existing accounting software to the new accounting software?

      You do not need to migrate the accounting transactions recorded in the existing accounting software to the new accounting software.

      However, you must retain accounting transactions recorded in the existing software for at least 5 years from the YA or end of the GST accounting period, and be able to retrieve them if requested by IRAS. Business documents associated with these transactional records, such as source documents, accounting records and schedules and bank statements must be retained as well.