Over 95% of GST refunds paid out within 7 days

21 Feb 2020

We thank Mr Manmohan Singh for his feedback in his letter (Give SMEs more help in this tough climate, Feb 15). The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) pays out more than 95 per cent of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) refund claims within seven days of receipt of the GST returns.


However, it may withhold refund for a small number of GST refund claims suspected to be incorrect or fraudulent, pending the audit and investigation outcome. Iras has to safeguard revenue for the state that is meant to fund public services. It has been stepping up efforts to audit and investigate businesses suspected to be involved in missing trader fraud. Fraudsters would extract cash from the GST system by making fictitious refund claims through an elaborate network of conspirators.


Such audits and investigations take time. Extensive verifications are required with third parties across the entire supply chain to establish the fraudulent links. Suspects can be uncooperative and may also obstruct investigations by refusing to hand over evidence. Relevant data on Iras’ audits and investigations are published at data.gov.sg. Businesses may request Iras to review or take their appeals through the Goods and Services Tax Board of Review, an independent tribunal, for dispute resolution.


Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat, has announced the Stabilisation and Support Package in his Budget Speech. The package provides measures, including a new Jobs Support Scheme and enhancements to the Wage Credit Scheme, to help enterprises cope with the current economic challenges. We thank Mr Singh for the opportunity to clarify.


Kelly Wee (Ms)
Director (Corporate Communications)
Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore