Your services are considered international services, which are zero-rated (i.e. GST is charged at 0%), if they fall within the provisions under Section 21(3) of the GST Act.  Depending on the nature of your services, you may be required to determine your customer's belonging status (i.e. whether the customer is a local or an overseas entity) before your supply of services can be zero-rated.

International services

You can zero-rate your supply of services (i.e. charge GST at 0%) only if it falls within the description of international services under Section 21(3) of the GST Act.  
It is important to note that not all services provided to overseas customers can be zero-rated.

Find out more information about international services in this extract of Section 21 of the GST Act (PDF, 203KB).

Types of international services

Advertising services

No Type of services Qualifying criteria to zero-rate GST Act Examples & relevant e-Tax guides
1(a) Media sales Supplies made prior to 1 Jan 2022
 
Place of circulation is substantially outside Singapore.
 
Supplies made on or after 1 Jan 2022New!
 
Services are supplied under a contract with an overseas person and directly benefit either an overseas person or a GST-registered person in Singapore.
S21(3)(u)
 
For supplies made on or after 1 Jan 2022 – Pending amendments
Webpage on Advertising services
 
GST: Guide for Advertising Industry (PDF, 577KB)
1(b), (c), (d) Media planning,
Creative and production sales,
Brand public relations
Services are provided contractually to an overseas person and directly benefiting:
 
1. an overseas person who is outside Singapore when the services are performed, or
 
2. a GST-registered person who belongs in Singapore
S21(3)(j) Webpage on Advertising services
 
GST: Guide for Advertising Industry (PDF, 577KB)
1(e) Event organising Event is held wholly outside Singapore; or
prescribed services are provided contractually to an overseas person wholly in his business capacity and directly benefiting:
 
1. an overseas person who is outside Singapore when the services are performed, or
 
2. a GST-registered person who belongs in Singapore
S21(3)(i);S21(3)(k) Webpage on Advertising services
 
GST: Guide for Advertising Industry (PDF, 577KB)
 
GST: Exhibition, Convention and Ancillary Services (PDF, 662KB)

Co-location services (for computer server equipment)

NoType of servicesQualifying criteria to zero-rateGST ActExamples & relevant e-Tax guides

2

Co-location service in Singapore of computer server equipment (i.e. providing a physical environment for the operation of computer server equipment)

Services supplied:

  1. under a contract with an overseas person; and
  2. directly benefit:
    a. an overseas person or

    b. a GST-registered person who belongs in Singapore

    The services supplied must relate to computer server equipment that belongs to the persons referred to in (a) and (b) above.

S21(3)(s)

GST Treatment of Web-Hosting Services and Server Co-location Services (PDF, 703KB)

International transport (for goods and passengers)

The following table provides details on types of services which will be regarded as international transport of goods and passengers:

NoTypes of servicesQualifying criteria to zero-rateGST ActExamples relevant e-Tax guides

3

International transport of passengers

Passengers must be transported:

  1. from Singapore to a place outside Singapore;
  2. from a place outside Singapore to Singapore; or
  3. from a place outside Singapore to another place outside Singapore.

This includes the transport of passengers by sea from a place in Singapore to a place in Singapore where the transport is substantially outside Singapore (i.e. the transport is primarily in international waters and any travel in Singapore waters is only for the purpose of departing to or returning from international waters).

S21(3)(a)

You are a local travel agent. Your customer buys a single air ticket for flights from Singapore to Japan and then to Los Angeles.

You may charge GST at 0% on the air tickets because it is a contract for international transport.

"Cruise-to-nowhere" packages, (i.e. cruises in international waters which do not dock at any port outside Singapore) also qualify for zero-rating.

GST: Travel Industry (PDF, 197KB)

4

International transport of goods; and any transport of goods within Singapore (including handling, loading and unloading), being part of the international transport supplied by the same person or agent.

To qualify as international transport, the goods must be transported:

  1. from Singapore to a place outside Singapore;
  2. from a place outside Singapore to Singapore; or
  3. from a place outside Singapore to another place outside Singapore.

This includes the international transport of goods by sea from a place in Singapore to a place in Singapore where the transport is substantially outside Singapore (i.e. the transport is primarily in international waters and any travel in Singapore waters is only for the purpose of departing to or returning from international waters).

Zero-rating also applies to the domestic transport of goods within Singapore if it is supplied as part of the international transport of goods, and it is supplied by the same supplier. The supplier does not need to perform the domestic transport activities himself, but must be contracted by the customer to provide both the international and domestic leg of the transport services.

Zero-rating does not extend to any domestic transport services provided to passengers.

S21(3)(a);
S21(3)(b)

You provide transport services from a warehouse in Singapore to the airport and then out of Singapore.

You may zero-rate the total value of transport services (including the local transport costs) since you are providing both the domestic transport as part of the international transport services.

GST Guide for the Logistics Service Industry (PDF, 816KB)

5

  1. Insuring or arranging for insurance for international transport; or
  2. Arranging for international transport.

Services must be in relation to the international transport of passengers or goods.

S21(3)(c)

Premiums / commissions for the following types of insurance:

  1. Marine cargo, Marine hull
  2. Aviation cargo, aviation hull
  3. Travel insurance (which is identifiable with journeys involving carriage of passengers or goods toor from Singapore)

GST Guide for the Logistics Service Industry (PDF, 816KB)

GST: Guide for the Insurance Industry (Fifth Edition) (PDF, 655KB)

Lease or hire of transport

NoType of servicesQualifying criteria to zero-rateGST ActExamples & relevant e-Tax guides

6

Lease or hire of any type of transport for use outside Singapore throughout the period of lease

The transport is:

  1. exported by the lessor to such a place; or
  2. already outside Singapore at the time of the supply.

S21(3)(d)

You may zero-rate your leasing services if you lease trucks for use in Johor.

Services performed completely overseas

NoTypes of services

Qualifying criteria to zero-rate

GST ActExamples & relevant e-Tax guides

7

  1. Cultural, artistic, sporting, educational (all forms of instruction), or entertainment services;
  2. Exhibition or convention services; or
  3. Other services supplementary to those listed above. This includes work done in organising the performance or event outside Singapore.

 

     

    Services must be performed completely outside Singapore.

    S21(3)(i)

    An event management company charges a fee for organising a concert in Malaysia.

    A management course entirely conducted in Beijing, China.

    GST: Exhibition, Convention and Ancillary Services (PDF, 662KB)

    Services supplied to overseas person

    No

    Type of services

    Qualifying criteria to zero-rate

    GST Act

    Examples & relevant e-Tax guides

    12

    Services supplied to overseas person

     The services must be provided contractually to an overseas person and directly benefiting: 

    1.  an overseas person who is outside Singapore when the services are performed, or
    2.  a GST-registered person who belongs in Singapore. 

    Services must not relate to land or goods in Singapore, other than goods referred to in S21(3)(g).

    The overseas person must not be in Singapore at the time the services are performed.

    Services must also not include media sales under S21(3)(u) (such services may qualify for zero-rating under S21(3)(u)).

    S21(3)(j)

    You provide market research services on 'price of medical services' for an overseas company.

    13

    Services within the list of services prescribed under the Second Schedule of the GST (International Services) Order:

    1. Services of engineers, accountants, lawyers and other similar consultancy services;
    2. Data processing and provision of information.
    3. The testing of a sample of goods that are taken from or form part of:
      • goods outside Singapore at the time the services are performed, or
      • goods for export outside Singapore;
    4. Handling, storage and transport services relating to the import and export of goods;
    5. Exhibition or convention services;
    6. Training or retraining for any business or employment;
    7. Services supplementary to, including the organising services  (e) and (f) above.

      The prescribed services above do not include any services relating to accommodation and entertainment.

    The services must be provided contractually to an overseas country wholly in his business capacity, and directly benefitting:

    1. an overseas person in his business capacity, or
    2. a GST-registered person who belongs in Singapore. 

    For services (a) and (b) stated in the prescribed list, the services must not relate directly to any land or goods situated in Singapore, other than goods for export.

    For services (a) to (d) where such services are performed in respect of goods for export, a requirement to establish that there is a definite and immediate intention for the goods to be exported applies similarly as under S21(3)(g) (see above on goods for export that are supplied to an overseas person).

    Unlike S21(3)(j) above, your overseas customer can be in Singapore to receive these services.

    S21(3)(k)

    Example for (a) and (b):

    You provide consultancy services on 'feasibility of conducting business in Singapore' to your overseas customer.
    Example for (d):

    If you supply transport and handling services to an overseas customer from the point of import (e.g. Free Trade Zone) to the warehouse where the goods are consigned, your transport and handling services can be zero-rated.

    GST Guide for the Logistics Service Industry (PDF, 816KB)

    GST: Exhibition, Convention and Ancillary Services (PDF, 662KB)

    Example for (f) and (g):

    You provide training (excluding formal education courses such as diploma, graduate and post-graduate courses) in Singapore for participants from all over the world (including Singapore). You may zero-rate your training services to overseas companies for their overseas staff.

    Services performed on goods stored in a warehouse under the Specialised Warehouse Scheme

    No

    Types of services

    Qualifying criteria to zero-rate

    GST Act

    Examples & relevant e-Tax guides

    21

    The qualifying services are:

    1. storage services;
    2. goods management services;
    3. services of holding an auction or exhibition of the goods;
    4. broking services and other similar services;
    5. conservation and restoration services;
    6. valuation services; and
    7. insurance services.

    It includes services performed on goods during the period in which the goods are temporarily removed from a warehouse under the SWS (for repair, maintenance or for an auction, exhibition or other similar event), and returned to any warehouse under SWS after the event.

    The qualifying services must be supplied contractually to an overseas person, and directly benefitting:

    1. an overseas person, or
    2. a GST-registered person who belongs in Singapore.

     

    The services must be performed on qualifying goods stored in a warehouse under the Specialised Warehouse Scheme (SWS) :

    1. a work of art;
    2. an antique;
    3. an artefact;
    4. a collector's item;
    5. a precious metal (gold, silver, platinum, palladium);
    6. a precious stone (diamond, ruby, sapphire, emerald);
    7. jewellery; or
    8. wine

    according to the Ninth Schedule of the GST (International Services) Order.

    For more information, refer to paragraph (y) in the extract of Section 21 of the GST Act (203KB).

    S21(3)(y)

    Specialised Warehouse Scheme and Zero-rating of Supplies (PDF, 409KB)

    The e-Tax guide also contains information on the zero-rating of a supply of storage space in a warehouse under SWS (e.g. the provision of 'private storage units'). This is regarded as a supply of goods, instead of storage services, for GST purposes.

    Telecommunication services

    No

    Type of services

    Qualifying criteria to zero-rate

    GST Act

    Examples & relevant e-Tax guides

    24

    Certain services comprising the provision of telecommunications.

    The services are prescribed in the Fifth Schedule of GST (International Services) Order. Please refer to paragraph (q) in the extract of Section 21 of the GST Act (203KB).

    Services must comprise telecommunications transmitted:

    1. into and out of Singapore; or
    2. outside Singapore.

    S21(3)(q)

    You are a telecommunications company and provide auto roaming service and international calls.
    Zero-rating Telecommunication and Related Services under Section 21(3)(q) (PDF, 202KB)

    Trust services

    No

    Types of services

    Qualifying criteria to zero-rate

    GST Act

    Examples & relevant e-Tax guides

    25

    Trust services in relation to a foreign trust

    Services must be supplied by:

    1. a trustee of the foreign trust (including a trust company providing services in its capacity as trustee of the foreign trust); or
    2. a trust company to a trustee of the foreign trust

    The services must not include services provided directly in connection with land or goods situated in Singapore or services provided to the trustee by any agent (other than a trust company).

    S21(3)(r)

    Belonging status of customers

    Under certain zero-rating provisions e.g. sections 21(3) (j), (k) and (s), you need to determine the belonging status of the customer that you contract with, i.e. whether your customer belongs to a country outside Singapore, before you can zero-rate your services. Your customer can be either an individual or a business. 

    Customer is an individual

    Your customer will be treated as belonging in Singapore if his usual place of residence is in Singapore during the period of service. For GST purposes, an individual should have only one usual place of residence at any point in time.

    The "usual place of residence" means:

    • The individual stays in that country voluntarily and for a settled purpose (e.g. to pursue a course of study or employment)
    • The individual's stay in that country has some degree of continuity apart from temporary or occasional absence, and is part of the regular and habitual pattern of his life

    Residential address as proxy

    The Comptroller of GST may regard the residential address of an individual as his "usual place of residence". If your customer has a Singapore residential address, he will, for GST purposes, be regarded as belonging in Singapore.

    More than one residential address

    Where an individual stays overseas to study or work and he has more than one residential address, the Comptroller of GST may regard the individual as belonging overseas when all of the following conditions are satisfied:

    1. He is absent from Singapore for a continuous period of at least one year. Any temporary return to Singapore for vacation or other reasonable purposes is acceptable.
    2. He stays at a fixed place in the overseas country.
    3. Where he is working overseas, his overseas assignment must not be related to his employment in Singapore. For example, an individual sent to work overseas by his local employer will not satisfy this condition and he will be treated as belonging in Singapore.

    If your customer meets all these conditions, he is treated as belonging overseas for the entire duration of his overseas stay.

    Customer is a business

    Your customer will be treated as belonging in Singapore when:
    1. It has a business establishment or some fixed establishment in Singapore and nowhere else.
    2. It is legally constituted in Singapore (e.g. company incorporated in Singapore) and has no business or fixed establishment in any other country.
    3. It has establishments both in Singapore and outside of Singapore but the contracted services are most directly used or to be used at the establishment in Singapore.

    Business establishment

    Your customer will be treated as having a business establishment in Singapore if:

    1. his main seat of economic activity is in Singapore;
    2. he carries on his business through a branch in Singapore; or
    3. he carries on his business through an agency in Singapore.

    The main seat of economic activity refers to the place where the essential decisions concerning the general management of the company are made and where the functions of its central administration are carried out. It usually refers to the head office, headquarters or principal place of business.

    Fixed establishment

    A fixed establishment is an establishment, other than the business establishment, that has both the technical and human resources necessary to provide or receive services on a permanent basis.

    Example
    Company A is incorporated in Japan. It has no branch in Singapore. However, it has an office and staff in Singapore to help provide support services to its Singapore customers. This office and staff are considered a fixed establishment in Singapore.

    FAQs

    I provide medical services to a foreign individual in Singapore. Can I zero-rate my services since the individual is an overseas person?

    No. Under section 21(3)(j), the services must be provided to an overseas person who is not in Singapore at the time the services are performed. Not all services provided to an overseas person can be zero-rated.

    I am engaged by a local company to perform my consultancy services overseas. My services are performed completely outside Singapore. Can I zero-rate my services?

    Services performed completely outside Singapore may only be zero-rated if it falls within the list of services described in section 21(3)(i). Consultancy services do not fall within the list of services. Hence, you should standard-rate your consultancy services.

    Exceptions:

    1. If your services are directly in connection with land or building located outside Singapore, you may zero-rate your services under section 21(3)(e).
    2. If your services are directly in connection with goods located outside Singapore at the time services are performed, you may zero-rate your services under section 21(3)(f).