Do I need to register for GST

For a brief overview on GST registration, you may refer to the brochures for sole-proprietors (PDF, 383KB), partnerships (PDF, 381KB) and companies (PDF, 382KB).

Compulsory registration

You must register for GST if your taxable turnover is:

  1. Under the retrospective view, more than $1 million at the end of the calendar year, or
  2. Under the prospective view, expected to be more than $1 million in the next 12 months  

Taxable turnover refers to the total value of all taxable supplies made in Singapore  in the course or furtherance of businesses, which include:

  1. standard-rated supplies (e.g. local supply of goods or services), and
  2. zero-rated supplies (e.g. export of goods or supply of international services ),

but exclude:

  1. exempt supplies (including exempt supplies that fall within the definition of international services, e.g. financial services provided to overseas persons, and are thus zero-rated),
  2. out-of-scope supplies, and
  3. sale of capital assets (e.g. sale of machinery, equipment, office building and furniture).

If you are not liable for GST registration, you may choose to register voluntarily after careful consideration. 

You may also be liable for GST registration under the Reverse charge and Overseas vendor registration regime. For more information, please refer to the section on Reverse charge and overseas vendor registration below.

All currency/ monetary amounts stated in this webpage refer to Singapore dollars.

 

Retrospective view

 

On or After 1 Jan 2019

If your taxable turnover at the end of the calendar year is more than $1 million, you must register for GST by 30 Jan. You will be registered for GST on 1 Mar.

You are encouraged to use the  GST Registration Calculator (from 2019) to assist you in determining your GST registration liability.

 

Calendar year with taxable turnover exceeding $1 million Due date to apply for GST registrationEffective date of registration
 1 Jan to 31 Dec 20X1 30 Jan 20X21 Mar 20X2

 

Prior to 1 Jan 2019

If your taxable turnover at the end of the calendar quarter (i.e. 3 months ending Mar, Jun, Sep or Dec) and the past 3 quarters is more than $1 million, you must register for GST within 30 days from the date your liability to register arose. You will be registered on the first day of the third month following the end of the calendar quarter.

You are encouraged to use the GST Registration Calculator (prior to 2019) to assist you in determining your GST registration liability.

 

Taxable turnover exceeding $1 millionDue date to apply for GST registrationEffective date of registration
1 Apr to 31 Mar 20X130 Apr 20X11 Jun 20X1
1 Jul to 30 Jun 20X130 Jul 20X11 Sep 20X1
1 Oct to 30 Sep 20X130 Oct 20X11 Dec 20X1
1 Jan to 31 Dec 20X130 Jan 20X2 1 Mar 20X2

 

Prospective view

 

At any point in time, if you can reasonably expect your taxable turnover to be more than $1 million in the next 12 months, you must register for GST within 30 days from the date of your forecast and you will be registered on the 31st day from the forecast date.  

 

You must have supporting documents to support your forecast value of $1 million. For example:

  • Signed contracts or agreements
  • Accepted quotations or confirmed purchase orders from customers
  • Invoices to customers with fixed monthly fee charged
  • Income statements showing that past 12-month period was already close to $1 million and that annual turnover is on an increasing trend

On the other hand, you are not required to register for GST if there is no certainty in your forecast. For example, you made a forecast based on market assessment, business plans or sales targets.

 

Date of forecastDue date to apply for GST registration Effective date of registration
Contract or agreement with more than $1 million value signed on 1 Jul 20X131 Jul 20X1 1 Aug 20X1
Quotation with more than $1 million value accepted by customer on 2 Sep 20X12 Oct 20X1 3 Oct 20X1
Past 12-month turnover as at 31 Dec 20X1 was $900,000. As turnover has increased by 15% on year-to-year basis, turnover for next 12 months projected to be more than $1 million on 15 Jan 20X2. 14 Feb 20X215 Feb 20X2

 

Exception

 

You will not be required to register for GST if:

 

  a. Your taxable turnover is derived wholly or mainly from zero-rated supplies and you apply for exemption from registration.

  b. You are liable for GST registration under the retrospective view but not under the prospective view and the following conditions are met: 

  • You are certain that your taxable turnover for the next 12 months will not exceed S$1 million

  • The taxable turnover is projected to be lower due to specific circumstances(e.g. large-scale downsizing of business)

  • You have supporting documentation to substantiate your projection

 You must nonetheless continue to monitor your taxable turnover at the end of the next calendar year. 

To support your position that you are not liable to register under retrospective view, you must maintain: 

(a)   Documentary evidences to prove that the specified circumstances below apply to you; and

(b)   Detailed computation showing how the projected taxable turnover for the next 12 months will not exceed $1million.

 Specified circumstances Examples of supporting documents

 1

Expiry/termination of high-value sales contract from a major customer and you are unlikely to enter into new sales contracts in the next 12 months

  • Sales contracts with details of the commencement and expiry/termination dates  
  • Correspondence with customers on early termination of sales contract and evidence and payment of any early termination fees
  • Correspondence with customers showing that any new sales contracts entered into in the subsequent 12 months were unsolicited and unexpected

 2

Large-scale downsizing of business e.g. divestment of certain business lines, cessation of manufacturing activities, closure of retail shops/outlets, or relocation of business activities to overseas 

  • Notes of Board of Directors’ meeting/directors’ resolution (for corporate businesses) or management meetings (for non-corporate businesses) on decision   
  • Notification to employees or correspondence with third parties informing them of the divestment, cessation, closure or relocation
  • Termination of lease of property arising from down-sizing

 

 3

 

Revocation of business licence or termination of sales distribution rights

 
  • Notification from external parties on the revocation of licence or termination of rights   
  • Records showing past revenue brought in by activities that require the licence or rights

 

4

 

Cessation of all business activities or preparation to wind up, dissolve or strike-off business

 
  • Notes of Board of Directors’ meeting/directors’ resolution (for corporate businesses) or management meetings (for non-corporate businesses) on the decision   
  • ACRA business profile showing that the business has ceased, wound up, dissolved or struck-off  
  • Notification to employees, suppliers/customers or correspondence with third parties informing them of cessation, winding up, dissolving or striking-off of business
  • Termination of lease of property arising from cessation, winding up, dissolving or striking-off of business

Reverse charge and overseas vendor registration New!

 

You may also be liable for registration: 

  • under the reverse charge regime if your business procures services from overseas suppliers and your business is not entitled to full input tax credit even if it is GST-registered, or
  • under the overseas vendor registration regime if you are an overseas supplier or a local/ overseas electronic marketplace operator that provides digital services to individuals and businesses in Singapore that are not registered for GST.

For more information on the requirement to register for GST under these regimes, please refer to our webpage on  GST on Imported Services.

 

Late notification of liability for GST registration

 

There are serious consequences for late registration:

  1. Your date of registration will be backdated to the date you were liable for registration.
  2. You will have to account for and pay GST on your past sales starting from the effective date of registration, even if you did not collect any GST from your customers.
  3. You may face a fine of up to $10,000 and a penalty equal to 10% of the GST due. Prosecution action may apply.

If you submit an application for GST registration and voluntarily disclose that you are late in registration, we will generally waive the late notification fine and penalties. If you have difficulties paying the GST due on the backdated period, we may allow you to pay the GST due in instalments.

Computing your business turnover

The table below explains the different methods used to compute your business taxable turnover, depending on whether you are a sole-proprietorship, a partnership, or a private limited company.

 

Sole-Proprietorship (Individual)PartnershipCompany (e.g. Private Limited Company)

How do I compute business turnover?

Combine the turnover of: all your sole-proprietorship businesses, AND income derived from your trade, profession or vocation (e.g. a taxi driver, hawker, commission agent such as insurance agent or multi-level marketing agent, freelancer such as fitness instructor or book-keeper, accountant with own business practice, etc.)

Refer to example below for illustration.

Combine the turnover of all partnership businesses with the same composition of partners.

Please refer to example below for illustration.

Compute the turnover of that single company.

If your company (as a legal entity) owns sole-proprietorship businesses, you need to combine the turnover of

  • the company, and
  • all its sole-proprietorship businesses.

How will my businesses be registered for GST?

All your businesses under your name will be registered in the name of the sole-proprietor (i.e. your name) irrespective of the turnover of each business.

This includes sole-proprietorship businesses which you may set up in the future.

Each partnership business that is required to register for GST will be separately registered under its own name.

Once your partnership is GST-registered, all businesses with the same composition of partners need to be GST-registered.

This includes businesses with the same composition of partners which you may set up in the future.

GST registration will be in the name of your company.

You have two sole-proprietorship businesses (Businesses A and B). You also drive a taxi on a part-time basis.

In the past 12 months:

  • Business A turnover is $500,000.
  • Business B turnover is $490,000.
  • Income derived from taxi driving is $30,000.

Example 1: Sole-Proprietorship
Business A tunrnover is $500,000
Business B turnover is $490,000
Income derived from taxi driving is $30,000

To compute your business turnover:

  1. Combine the turnover for Business A, Business B and the income derived from taxi driving.
  2. Total Turnover/Income: $500,000 + $490,000 + $30,000 = $1,020,000
  3. The combined turnover (including the income from the taxi driving) exceeds $1 million.
  4. You must register for GST immediately if you can reasonably expect your total turnover to be more than $1 million for the next 12 months.

Scenario 1:

You and Mary own two partnership businesses (Businesses C and D). You also own a partnership business (Business E) with John.

In the past 12 months:

  • Turnover of Business C is $200,000
  • Turnover of Business D is $300,000
  • Turnover of Business E is $600,000

Scenario 1: Partnership
In the past 12 months, you own two partnership businesses (Business C and D) with Mary. You also own a partnership business (Business E) with John.
Business C's turnover is $200,000
Business D's turnover is $300,000
Business E's turnover is $600,000

To compute your business turnover:

  1. Combine turnover of all partnership businesses with the same composition of partners.
  2. Combined Business Turnover of Business C and D (which you own with Mary) is $200,000 + $300,000 = $500,000, which is less than $1 million.
  3. You need not register Businesses C and D for GST if you expect combined Business Turnover to be less than $1 million for the next 12 months.

You should calculate the business turnover for Business E separately because you have a different business partner - John. In this case, as the Business Turnover of Business E is less than $1 million ($500,000). you do not need to register Business E for GST.

Scenario 2:

You and Mary own two partnership businesses (Businesses C and D).

In the past 12 months:

  • Turnover of Business C is $500,000
  • Turnover of Business D is $600,000

Scenario 2: 
In the past 12 months, you and Mary own two partnership businesses (business C and D)
Business C's turnover is $500,000
Business D's turnover is $600,000

To compute your business turnover:

  1. Combine turnover of all partnership businesses with the same composition of partners.
  2. Combined Business Turnover of Businesses C and D (which you own with Mary) is $500,000 + $600,000 = $1,100,000, which exceeds $1 million.
  3. You need to register your partnership Businesses C and D for GST immediately if you reasonably expect your business turnover to be more than $1 million for the next 12 months.
  4. Upon registration, each of your partnership businesses will be registered under their own individual GST registration number and you will need to file separate GST returns for them.

Scenario 3:

You and Mary own two partnership businesses (Businesses C and D). You, Mary, and John also own one partnership business (Business E).

In the past 12 months:

  • Turnover of Business C is $200,000
  • Turnover of Business D is $300,000
  • Turnover of Business E is $600,000

Scenario 3:
In the past 12 months, you and Mary own two partnership businesses (Businesses C and D). You, Mary, and John also own one partnership business (Business E).
Business C's turnover is $200,000
Business D's turnover is $300,000
Business E's turnover is $600,000

To compute your business turnover:

  1. Combine turnover of all partnership businesses with the same composition of partners.
  2. Combined Business Turnover of Businesses C and D (which you own with Mary) is $200,000 + $300,000 = $500,000, which is less than $1 million.
  3. You need not register Businesses C and D for GST if you expect your business turnover to be less than $1 million for the next 12 months.

You should calculate the business turnover for Business E separately, as the composition of partners of Business E (You, Mary and John) is different from that of Businesses C and D (You and Mary). 

You are the director of company F which is operating a trading business selling goods in Singapore. You are also the director of company G, which is in the business of renting of commercial properties.

In the past 12 months:

  • Turnover of Company F is $1,100,000
  • Turnover of Company G is $500,000

To compute your business turnover:

  1. The turnover of Company F exceeds $1 million.
  2. Company F must register for GST immediately if it reasonably expects its total turnover to be more than $1 million for the next 12 months.
  3. The turnover of Company G is $500,000. Company G need not register for GST if it expects its total turnover to be less than $1 million for the next 12 months. 
  • I run a property trading business in partnership with someone else. Do I need to include the proceeds from the sales of commercial properties that were held in the name of the partners as bare trustees of the partnership, when computing my partnership’s taxable turnover for GST registration purpose?

    Yes, you have to include the proceeds from the sale of these commercial properties when computing your partnership's taxable turnover for GST registration purpose.

    As your partnership is in the business of trading in properties, the properties held by the partners as bare trustees of the partnership are not capital assets of the business. The sales of commercial properties by the bare trustees are the taxable supplies made by your partnership. 

  • If I am late in my GST registration, can the requirement for backdating the effective GST registration date and payment of backdated tax be waived?

    No. GST is a self-assessed tax. Businesses are responsible to monitor their sales and register for GST once the annual taxable turnover exceeds S$1 million.

    However, if you voluntarily disclose that you are late when you submit your GST registration after the due date, late notification fines and penalties will generally be waived. 

     

  • If my effective date of registration is backdated due to late notification, can I recover the GST on the past sales from customers?

    It depends on the terms of agreement with your customer. If your customer agrees to pay the GST for the backdated period, you may issue a credit note to cancel the original invoice and issue a tax invoice with GST to your customer.

    If you have issued more than one invoice to the same customer, as an administrative concession, you may issue a tax invoice to your customer, stating the invoice numbers of all the original invoices and showing only the GST amount. The credit note and new tax invoice should state the date when the credit note and new tax invoice are issued.

    If your customers who are GST-registered and satisfy the input tax claiming conditions, they may claim the GST paid to you as their input tax.

  • I acquired a business that is GST-registered, can I continue to use the GST registration number of the business?

    You are not allowed to use the same GST registration number.

    You must cancel the GST registration of the business that you acquired, as it would have ceased to exist.

    If you are liable for GST registration after the acquisition or change in business constitution, you must apply for GST registration.

     

  • I have changed my business constitution, (e.g. converted from partnership to company, from sole-proprietorship to partnership, or vice versa), can I continue to use the same GST registration number?

    You are not allowed to use the GST registration number of the old business constitution.

    You must cancel the GST registration of old business constitution, as it would have ceased to exist.

    If you are liable for GST registration after change in business constitution, you must apply for GST registration.

     

  • When I acquire a business, do I have to register for GST as a result of the acquisition?

    If you acquired a business, you have to include the taxable turnover of that business to determine your liability to register for GST.

    If you are liable for GST registration after the acquisition, you must submit an application for GST registration within 30 days from the date of transfer of the acquired business. Your effective date of GST registration will be the date of transfer.

    However, if you are certain at the time of transfer of business that your taxable turnover for the next 12 months will not exceed $1 million, you will not be required to register for GST.

     

  • If I am a director, do I need to register for GST?

    If you are an executive director, you are not liable to register for GST since you are providing the directorship services in the course of your employment. 

    If you are a non-executive director, you may be liable to register for GST if:

    -You are the supplier of the directorship services; and

    -You provide the directorship services in the course or furtherance of a business. The business tests can be used to determine whether you are carrying on a business with the provision of the directorship services.

       

    • Can I split my business into multiple entities (each with taxable turnover not exceeding $1 million) to avoid registering for GST?

      If we determine that the purpose or effect of splitting the business into multiple entities is to avoid GST registration, we may disregard such an arrangement and register your entire business for GST with effect from the date you are liable for GST registration. 

      You will then need to account for GST on all past transactions made from that date of registration, even though you may not have collected GST from your customers.