GST registered businesses may claim GST incurred before registering for GST and also before incorporation provided certain conditions are met.

Claiming GST Incurred Before GST Registration

Complete the  Pre-registration GST: Checklist for Self-Review of Eligibility of Claim (Excel, 1.14MB) to assess your eligibility to make a claim on GST incurred on business purchases made before your GST registration ("Pre-registration GST"). You do not need to submit the completed checklist to us but you must maintain it as part of your records.

This checklist also includes a calculator feature to help you compute the amount of Pre-registration GST claimable. If you are unfamiliar with the pre-registration GST rules, we strongly encourage you to use the calculator feature within the checklist to determine the amount of pre-registration GST claimable.

For more information on the Pre-registration GST rules, refer to the e-Tax guide " GST: Pre-registration Claims on Goods and Services for Businesses Registered for GST on or after 1 July 2015" (PDF, 419KB).

Conditions for Claiming Pre-registration GST

To claim pre-registration GST, you have to satisfy both the general rules for input tax claims and the pre-registration GST rules.

General Rules for Input Tax Claims

To claim pre-registration GST, you must satisfy the following general input tax rules:

  1. The goods or services must have been supplied to you. For imported goods, the goods must have been imported by you;
  2. The goods or services are used or to be used for the purpose of your business;
  3. Local purchases must be supported by valid tax invoices addressed to you, or simplified tax invoices at the time of claiming the input tax;
  4. Imports must be supported by import permits which show you as the importer of the goods;
  5. The goods or services must be used for the making of taxable supplies (i.e. standard-rated supplies and  zero-rated supplies) or out-of-scope supplies (e.g. third country sale of goods), which would be taxable supplies if made in Singapore, in the course or furtherance of your business;
  6. The input tax claims are not disallowed under Regulations 26 and 27 of the GST (General) Regulations; and
  7. You have taken reasonable steps to ascertain and concluded that the goods or services were not part of a Missing Trader Fraud arrangement and the conclusion is one that a reasonable person would have made.New

Pre-registration GST Incurred on Goods

In addition to satisfy the general input tax rules, you must satisfy all of the following conditions:

  1. For goods acquired within 6 months before the date of your GST registration, the goods are still held by your business at GST registration; and

Example 1: Trading stock

GST incurred on your trading goods is not claimable if the goods have been sold prior to your GST registration date.
  1. For goods acquired more than 6 months before the date of your GST registration, the goods have not been consumed (i.e. used) or supplied by your business before the date of your GST registration

Example 2: F&B and hotel accommodation

GST incurred on food and beverages consumed by your staff and hotel accommodation incurred by your staff before your GST registration are not claimable.

Pre-registration GST Incurred on Property Rental, Utilities and Services

In addition to satisfying the general input tax rules, you must satisfy all of the following conditions:

  1. The expenses are incurred by your business within 6 months before the date of your GST registration; and
  2. The expenses are not directly attributable to supplies made by your business before the date of your GST registration

Example 3: General administrative expenses

GST incurred on your office rental, utilities and maintenance services for your business premises are not directly attributable to supplies made before registration.

Apportionment of Pre-Registration GST

Pre-registration GST is allowable only to the extent that the goods or services acquired are used or to be used for taxable supplies made after GST registration. 

If some of the goods acquired within 6 months before your GST registration date have been sold, transferred or disposed of, you are required to apportion the GST incurred according to the actual units held at your registration date.

If the goods acquired by you more than 6 months before your GST registration date have been used to make supplies straddling your GST registration (i.e. supplies before and after GST registration) or have been partially consumed before your GST registration, you are required to apportion the GST incurred.

Similarly, if the services, property rental or utilities acquired by you are used to make supplies straddling your GST registration, you are required to apportion the GST incurred. Only the portion of GST that is attributable to the supplies made after registration is claimable.

For information on the various apportionment methods, refer to " GST: Pre-registration Claims on Goods and Services (For Businesses Registered for GST on or after 1 July 2015)" (PDF, 419KB).

Documents to Maintain to Claim Pre-registration GST

To claim Pre-registration GST incurred on goods, you are required to maintain a stock account showing:

  • quantities purchased;
  • quantities used in the making of other goods;
  • date of purchase; and
  • date and manner of subsequent disposal of both the quantities purchased and quantities used in the making of other goods.

For services, you are required to maintain a list showing:

  • description of services purchased;
  • date of purchase; and
  • date of disposal of the service (if any).

In addition, you are required to support your claims with evidence such as tax invoices, import permits, payment evidence, etc.

Claiming GST Incurred Before Incorporation

You can claim the GST incurred on goods and services purchased by an individual on your company's behalf before its incorporation and GST registration provided that certain conditions are satisfied.

Example 4

Pre-registration timeline

For your company to claim the GST incurred for such purchases:

  1. The purchases must have been intended for use by your company to make taxable supplies after GST registration. If so, the purchases by the individual would be treated as business purchases by your company; and
  1. The purchases (treated as purchases by the company) must satisfy all the conditions for claiming pre-registration GST.

To claim the GST incurred prior to the incorporation of your company, please write-in to IRAS for approval with your confirmation that all the above-mentioned conditions are satisfied. Upon approval, your company may claim the GST incurred in your first GST return.

Determining when GST is Incurred

The time at which GST is incurred is determined according to your supplier's time of supply.