Your supply of advertising service attracts GST unless it qualifies for zero-rating as an international service under section 21(3) of the GST Act. The GST treatment for advertising services is based on the nature of services.

Media Sales

E.g. Sale of airtime, advertising space and web media space in various media modes.

GST Treatment

Relevant section for zero-rating: Section 21(3)(u) of the GST Act

Prior to 1 Jan 2022, the GST treatment depends on the place of circulation of the advertisement:

Local circulation:

Standard-rate

Overseas circulation: Zero-rate
Mixed circulation:

 

If at least 51% of the total circulation of the same advertisement is overseas, the service may be zero-rated.

 

New! In Budget 2021, the Minister for Finance announced that the basis for determining whether zero-rating applies to a supply of media sales, will be changed from the place of circulation of the advertisement to the place where the customer and direct beneficiary of the service belong. The change is made in recognition of the growth in online advertising and the compliance difficulties faced by businesses in determining the place of circulation of advertisements especially for online media sales.

Contract with a local customer:

Standard-rate

Contract with an overseas customer:

Zero-rate if the service directly benefits either an overseas person or a GST-registered person in Singapore.

Otherwise, the service has to be standard-rated.

The revised GST treatment will apply to supplies of media sales made on or after 1 Jan 2022. For more information, please refer to GST: Guide for Advertising Industry.

Media Planning

E.g. Consultation and advisory services involving the choice of media, timing, frequency, etc. to optimise client's media investment.

GST Treatment

Relevant provision for zero-rating: Section 21(3)(j) of the GST Act.

GST treatment depends on the contracting and benefiting parties:

Contract with local client:

Standard-rate

Contract with overseas client:

Prior to 1 Jan 2020

Zero-rate if the service directly benefits overseas person(s).

Otherwise, the service has to be standard-rated.

 

With effect from 1 Jan 2020

Zero-rate if the service directly benefits overseas person(s) and/or local GST-registered person(s).

Otherwise, the service has to be standard-rated.

Creative & Production Sales

E.g. Services that involve designing and producing the advertising artwork.

GST Treatment

Relevant section for zero-rating: Section 21(3)(j) of the GST Act.

GST treatment depends on the contracting and benefiting parties:

Contract with local client:

Standard-rate

Contract with overseas client:

Prior to 1 Jan 2020

Zero-rate if the service directly benefits overseas person(s).

Otherwise, the service has to be standard-rated.

 

With effect from 1 Jan 2020

Zero-rate if the service directly benefits overseas person(s) and/or local GST-registered person(s).

Otherwise, the service has to be standard-rated.

Brand Public Relations

E.g. Public Relations consultation and management of reputation and relationships.

GST Treatment

Relevant section for zero-rating: Section 21(3)(j) of the GST Act.

GST treatment depends on the contracting and benefiting parties:

Contract with local client:

Standard-rate

Contract with overseas client:

Prior to 1 Jan 2020

Zero-rate if the service directly benefits overseas person(s).

Otherwise, the service has to be standard-rated.

 

With effect from 1 Jan 2020

Zero-rate if the service directly benefits overseas person(s) and/or local GST-registered person(s).

Otherwise, the service has to be standard-rated.

Events Organising

E.g. Organising exhibitions or conventions for promotional campaigns.

For exhibitions/conventions held in Singapore

Relevant section for zero-rating: Section 21(3)(k) of the GST Act.

Contract with local client wholly in its business capacity:

Standard-rate

Contract with overseas client wholly in its business capacity (overseas business entity):

Prior to 1 Jan 2020

Zero-rate, if the service directly benefits overseas person(s) in its business capacity.

Otherwise, the service has to be standard-rated.

 

With effect from 1 Jan 2020

Zero-rate, if the service directly benefits overseas person(s) in its business capacity and/or a local GST-registered person.

Otherwise, the service has to be standard-rated.

For exhibitions/conventions held Overseas

Relevant section for zero-rating: Section 21(3)(i) of the GST Act.

Contract with local client:

Zero-rate

Contract with overseas client:

Zero-rate

For more information, please refer to GST: Guide for Advertising Industry (PDF, 577KB) and GST: Exhibition, Convention and Ancillary Services (PDF, 662KB)

FAQs

What is the GST treatment for a supply of advertising space over the Internet?

This is a supply of online media space.

Prior to 1 Jan 2022

If there is no access restriction to the website or webpage, the supply can be zero-rated under section 21(3)(u) of the GST Act.

If the access is allowed only to Singapore viewers/browsers, the supply must be standard-rated.

New!With effect from 1 Jan 2022

The GST treatment for supplies of media sales (including the supply of web advertising space) made on or after 1 Jan 2022 will depend on the belonging status of the customer (i.e. contractual party) and the direct beneficiary.

If the local GST-registered supplier contracts with a local customer, he must standard-rate the supply of web advertising space.

If the local GST-registered supplier contracts with an overseas customer and the supply directly benefits either an overseas person or a GST-registered person in Singapore, he can zero-rate the supply of web advertising space to the overseas customer.

The scope of ‘digital services’ under the Overseas Vendor Registration regime will include Business-to-Consumer online media sales provided by overseas suppliers (e.g. media platforms like Ad Exchanges) to local consumers regardless of the place of circulation of the advertisement. The scope of imported services subject to reverse charge (RC) will similarly include any Business-to-Business media sales provided by overseas suppliers to RC businesses.

I am a local publisher of a magazine (hardcopy) which is circulated in Singapore and overseas. A customer places an advertisement in an issue of the magazine. Do I need to charge GST on my provision of advertising space to my customer?

Prior to 1 Jan 2022, the GST treatment of your supply of advertising space in your magazine will depend on the place of circulation of the magazine, regardless of whether the customer belongs in Singapore or overseas:

  • If at least 51% of the total circulation is outside Singapore, you can zero-rate the entire supply of advertising space to your customer under section 21(3)(u) of the GST Act.
  • If less than 51% of the circulation is outside Singapore, you must standard-rate the entire value of supply of advertising space to your customer.
  • The 51% rule of circulation applies only to magazine of the same language, version and edition for distribution to multiple countries. It is determined based on expected volume of the circulation in each country or average actual circulation if there is an established track record.  

New!With effect from 1 Jan 2022, the GST treatment for supplies of media sales (including the supply of advertising space in your magazine) will depend on the belonging status of the customer (i.e. contractual party) and the direct beneficiary.

If you contract with an overseas customer and your supply directly benefits either an overseas person or a GST-registered person in Singapore, your supply of advertising space to the overseas customer can be zero-rated. 

Conversely, if you contract with a local customer, the entire supply of advertising space will be standard-rated.

IRAS will publish more details on the change in GST treatment for media sales by July 2021.