The Advance Ruling System

To provide greater clarity and certainty to taxpayers, the Comptroller of GST (CGST) operates an advance ruling system.

The system provides written interpretation on how specific provisions of the GST Act apply to a particular business arrangement or a specific transaction.

The advice or clarification given under the advance ruling system is legally binding on the CGST.

Who Should Apply

As a rule of thumb, it is the supplier's responsibility to ask for an advance ruling on the taxability of his supply of goods or services. The supplier and his customer may also submit a joint application.

If you are under GST Group registration, the application can be made by any member of the GST Group.

How to Apply

To apply for a ruling, you must submit to the CGST, the following at least 1 month before the filing deadline of the relevant GST return:

  1. GST F19: Application for GST Advance Ruling (136KB) form;
  2. An application fee of $620 (inclusive of GST), or $660 (inclusive of GST) for applications made on or after 1 May 2019; and
  3. A written ruling request providing:
    1. A comprehensive description of the proposed arrangement;
    2. Issue(s) to be considered;
    3. Propositions of the law that relate to the issues raised in the request including the relevant sections of the GST Act;
    4. Any outcome of and reference to the ruling issued on a previous request made on the same or a similar arrangement; and
    5. A draft ruling.

 

Express Advance Ruling

Express advance ruling application (additional fees apply) must be submitted at least 10 working days before the filing deadline of the relevant GST return.

Fees for Advance Ruling

You are required to pay the following fees in Singapore dollars:

  1. Application Fee

    $620 (inclusive of GST), or $660 (inclusive of GST) for applications made on or after 1 May 2019, is payable upon application. The fee is non-refundable even if we reject your ruling request.
  2. Further Time-Based Fee

    An hourly rate of $155 (inclusive of GST), or $165 (inclusive of GST) for applications made on or after 1 May 2019, for each hour or part-thereof subsequent to the first four hours taken to provide the ruling.
  3. Reimbursement Fee

    Any fees paid by us in obtaining external professional advice and any costs and reasonable disbursements incurred in relation to the ruling. We will seek your agreement before seeking any external professional advice. 
  4. Additional Fee

    In the exceptional circumstance where we have agreed to give priority to your application, you will be charged a total fee of:
    1. Three times the aggregate of the application fee and the further time-based fee where the application is received by the CGST 10 to 14 working days before the filing deadline; or
    2. Two times the aggregate of the application fee and the further time-based fee where the application is received by the CGST 15 working days to less than 1 month before the filing deadline.

For applications made on or after 1 May 2019

To facilitate timely collection of fees, you are required to pay the amounts estimated for the Further Time-Based Fee and Additional Fee, if any, upon your acceptance of the terms under which the ruling is to be issued.

When the ruling is issued to you or when the application is withdrawn, where the actual fees are more than the estimated fees paid, IRAS will issue an invoice to collect the difference. Payment must be made within 30 days from the date of IRAS' invoice. Where the actual fees are less than the estimated fees paid, IRAS will refund you the difference within 15 working days after IRAS informs you of the actual fees, provided that the following information required for a refund via interbank transfer has been given to IRAS:

 Name of Payee 
 Bank Account Number
 Bank / Branch Code
 Bank Swift Code

 

When the CGST Will Not Rule or May Decline to Rule

The CGST will not rule or may decline to rule when:

  1. The matter on which the ruling is sought:
    1. Involves the interpretation of a foreign law;
    2. Requires the CGST to form an opinion as to a generally accepted accounting principle or a commercial practice; or
    3. Is subject to an objection or appeal, whether in relation to you or any other person.
  2. The correctness of the ruling depends on the making of assumptions. The assumptions can be in respect of a future event or any other matter.
  3. An assessment (excluding an assessment of any estimated tax) relating to you, the arrangement and a period to which the proposed ruling would apply, has been made, unless the application is received by the CGST before the date of assessment is made.
  4. The CGST has embarked on an audit or investigation on how any provision of the GST Act applies to you or other similar arrangements.
  5. In the CGST's opinion, you are not seriously contemplating the arrangement for which the ruling is sought or that the application is frivolous or vexatious.
  6. You have not provided, within the specified timeframe, sufficient information in spite of the CGST's request for additional information.

For the full list of circumstances under which the CGST will not or may decline to rule, please refer to the "Important Notes to Application for GST Advance Ruling" in the GST F19: Application for GST Advance Ruling (136KB).

After Submitting an Application

To evaluate your ruling request, we may write to you or your tax agent for additional information relating to the proposed arrangement. We will only be able to process your ruling request when you have submitted the additional information.

  1. Application is Accepted

    We will inform you of the estimated completion time and the estimated fees payable.

    Generally, the CGST will complete and issue the ruling within 1 month from the date of receipt of complete information (complex request may require longer time).

    You will be required to confirm in writing your acceptance of the terms, otherwise the application would be treated as withdrawn. For an application made on or after 1 May 2019, you will also have to pay the estimated Further Time-Based Fee and Additional Fee, if any, upon your acceptance of the terms.

  2. Application is Not Accepted

    If your application for advance ruling is not accepted, we will inform you of the non-acceptance and the reason(s). The application fee of $620 (or $660 for applications made on or after 1 May 2019) will not be refunded.

Withdrawing a Ruling Request

You can withdraw your ruling request at any time before the ruling is issued. The withdrawal must be made in writing. The application fee of $620 (or $660 for applications made or after 1 May 2019) will not be refunded.

When you withdraw the ruling request after the acceptance of the terms, you will have to pay the following fees chargeable up to the time of receipt of your withdrawal:

  1. Application fee;
  2. Time-based fee;
  3. Reimbursement fee (if any); and
  4. Additional fee (if applicable).

For details on the various types of fees, please refer to Fees for advance ruling.

Disagreeing with the Advance Ruling

An advance ruling once issued is final.

Written Declaration

If you decide not to comply with the ruling when accounting for transaction(s) subject to the advance ruling in your GST return(s), you have to disclose to the CGST in writing that you have not complied with the ruling and provide the following information:

  1. Date and reference number of the ruling obtained;
  2. Period covered by the GST return(s) affected by the ruling;
  3. Reason(s) for not complying with the ruling; and
  4. Explain and quantify the difference(s) between the amount(s) reported in the affected GST return(s) and the amount(s) that should have been reported had you complied with the ruling.

Revision of / Appeal Against Tax Assessment

Where you have not complied with the ruling in completing your return, the CGST may disagree with the return filed and raise an assessment accordingly.

You may appeal against the assessment raised in accordance with the objection provisions in section 51 of the GST Act.

Publishing of GST Advance Rulings

To enhance taxpayers' understanding of IRAS' interpretation and application of tax laws in specific scenarios, we will be publishing a summary of advance rulings applied for on or after 1 May 2019, in the manner outlined below.

Publications of Rulings

We will publish a summary of the ruling (i.e. a summary of the background, facts and issues as well as the ruling given) on IRAS' website in respect of advance ruling applications made on or after 1 May 2019, if you have given your consent for the publication of a summary of the ruling in Section E of the advance ruling application form. You do not need to give consent if the subject of your ruling request relates to whether a transaction qualifies as a Transfer of Business As A Going Concern (TOGC) under the GST (Excluded Transactions) Order as rulings on TOGC will not be published.

The summary of the ruling will be published in a form that does not set out the identity of the applicant, the arrangement or any other parties to the arrangement in the ruling, date of transactions or transaction values. Please refer to this example (138KB) of a published summary of a ruling.

Timeline for publication of advance ruling (wef 1 May 2019)

A summary of the ruling will be published on our website at least 6 months after the ruling has been issued.

Prior to publication, we will provide you with a draft copy of the summary of the ruling for your comments within 2 months from the date of the ruling letter. You should review the draft summary carefully and inform the CGST of any proposed edits (with reasons) within 6 weeks. We will consider any comments and proposed changes made by you before the publication of the summary. No fee is chargeable for the time spent by CGST in preparing the summary of the ruling for publication.

The expected timeline for the publication of advance ruling is as follows:

  ActivityTimeline 
 1The CGST issues ruling to applicant 
 2The CGST sends first draft summary of ruling to applicant for review and agreementWithin 2 months from date of ruling letter 
 3Applicant to reply to the CGST with proposed edits and reasons for the edits, or confirmation that no edit is required[1]Within 6 weeks from the date the CGST sends the first summary[2][3] 
 4The CGST sends second draft summary of ruling to applicant for review and agreementWithin 6 weeks from the receipt of applicant's reply on the first summary 
 5Applicant to reply to the CGST with proposed edits and reasons for the edits, or confirmation that no edit is required Within 6 weeks from the date the CGST sends the second summary[2][3] 
 6The CGST publishes the summary of ruling on IRAS' websiteAt least 6 months after the ruling is issued to the applicant 

[1] If no edit is required, proceed to activity no. 6.

[2] If a reply is not received by the timeline mentioned, the CGST may proceed to publish the ruling summary on IRAS' website after 6 months from the date of the ruling.

[3] The CGST may consider requests for extension of time to reply on the summary on a case-by-case basis.

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