Gifts and Samples

Businesses may provide gifts and samples to their clients or prospective customers in the course of their business activities. Goods that you give away free are treated as a supply that you make to the recipient.

Claiming Input Tax for Purchase of Gifts

You may incur GST when you purchase the gifts from GST-registered suppliers or import the gifts into Singapore. You can claim the GST incurred on the gifts as input tax, provided that all the conditions for claiming input tax are met.

Accounting for Output Tax on Gifts

When you give away gifts for free (for example, to your customer or your staff), you will need to account for output tax based on the Open Market Value (OMV) of the gifts if:

  1. The cost of the gift is more than $200 (exclusive of GST amount); and
  2. You had claimed input tax on the purchase or import of the gifts. If you had imported the gifts with GST suspended under a GST scheme such as the Major Exporter Scheme (MES), input tax is regarded as claimed.

Accounting of output tax is not required if:
a. The value of your gift (excluding GST) is $200 or less, or
b. You chose not to claim input tax when you purchase or import the gift.

You gave away Christmas hampers (cost $300 + GST $21). The first hamper was delivered on 20 Dec 2017 and another on 23 Dec 2017 to the same customer, as part of festive celebrations.

If you claimed input tax of $21 on the hampers, you will need to account for output GST of $21 (7% of $300), since the cost of the hampers was more than $200.

If you chose not to claim input tax on the hampers, no output tax needs to be accounted when the hampers are given to your customer.

You gave away Christmas hampers. The first hamper (cost $150 + GST $10.50) was delivered on 20 Dec 2017 to Customer A and a second hamper (cost $150 + GST $10.50) was delivered to Customer B on 23 Dec 2017, as part of festive celebrations.

Even if you had claimed input tax of $21 on the hampers, you are not required to account for output GST since the cost of each hamper given to the two different customers was not more than $200.

To account for output tax, you can either:

  1. Pay for the output GST yourself. The recipient of the gift cannot claim the GST as his input tax.
  2. Have the recipient of the gift pay the output GST. The recipient will be able to claim the GST paid as his input tax if he can satisfy the conditions for input tax claim.

Tax Certificate

Unlike normal transactions, you should not issue a tax invoice to the recipient of the gift.  Instead, you may issue a tax certificate to the recipient if:

  1. The recipient is GST-registered; and
  2. The recipient pays for the output tax.

The tax certificate, similar to the tax invoice, can be used by the recipient to support his input tax claims.

The tax certificate should include the following:

  1. The words "Tax Certificate";
  2. Description of the goods and deemed GST amount based on the open market value of the goods; and
  3. The statement "Deemed GST on this supply is paid by the recipient."

Samples

GST is not chargeable on commercial samples if the samples are:

  1. Given to an actual or potential customer; and
  2. They come in a form not normally available for public sale (They should be easily distinguished from actual products available for sale and marked with words such as "Not for sale" or "Sample only").

If these conditions are not met, you are treated as making a supply to the recipient. You may therefore need to account for output tax on these goods given away for free. Please refer to gifts for the GST treatment.

Catalogues that are given free to customers to promote sales can be treated as commercial samples. You do not need to charge and account for GST when you give these away.

  • If I (the giver) purchased goods to be given away as gifts, can I claim the GST incurred on the purchase?

    The input GST can be claimed if you can satisfy all the conditions for input tax claim.
  • If I am entitled to claim the input tax incurred on the purchase of goods but choose not to, do I need to account for output tax when the goods are given away for free?

    No, you are not required to account for output tax based on the open market value of the goods.
  • If the recipient of the gifts is not paying for the deemed GST output tax, do I (the giver) need to issue him with a tax certificate?

    No, you are not required to issue a tax certificate to the recipient of the gifts.
  • If I give a $300 gift voucher to my customer, do I need to account for output tax?

    No, you are not required to account for output tax on cash vouchers that are given for free.
  • If my customer buys a good of a certain value, he will get another one for free. Is the free good considered a gift or part of the sales? Do I have to account for GST on the free good given?

    The free good is treated as being sold in a package. You will need to account for GST on the price paid by the consumers.

    For example, if you sell a good for $100 and you give away a second one for free, you will be treated as selling two items at the price of $100. In this case, GST is accountable on the total consideration received for the 2 goods, i.e. 7% x $100 = $7.00.

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