Keeping Records

GST-registered businesses must keep proper business and accounting records for a period of five 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 and 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)

Other Records to Support GST Declarations

You must also keep the source documents of all other business transactions which 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

Statements and 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)

Please use these template worksheets (66KB) to prepare your sale and purchase listings.

For more details, please refer to Record Keeping Guide for GST-registered Businesses (278KB).

Please ensure that all business and accounting records are maintained for a period of at least five years effective 1 Jan 2007.  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

If you wish to preserve your records in other forms (e.g. electronic media and imaging systems), you do not need to seek approval from the Comptroller of GST as long as you satisfy the requirements set out in the following guides.

For GST-registered businesses , please refer to Record Keeping Guide for GST-registered Businesses (278KB) for the record keeping requirements. The guide also covers requirements for keeping business records in electronic media and imaging systems. 

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

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 2015, please refer to the Simplified Record Keeping Requirements for Small Businesses (500KB). 

Please refer to the Record Keeping Checklist (64KB), which provides a summary of the different types of records required.

Record Keeping Self-Assessment Toolkit

IRAS has created a self-assessment toolkit to help businesses perform a self-review of their existing record keeping standards and to better understand the possible areas for improvement.

For GST-registered businesses, please download the toolkit (172KB).

For Non-GST registered businesses, please download the toolkit (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?

    There is no specific requirement for businesses to migrate the accounting transactions recorded in the existing accounting software to the new accounting software. However, after purchasing the new accounting software, businesses must continue to retain and be able to retrieve the accounting transactions that had been recorded in the existing software for at least five years from the Year of Assessment or end of the GST accounting period to which it relates. Other business documents associated with these transactional records, such as source documents, accounting records and schedules and bank statements, should be retained accordingly as well.  

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