December 5, 2022
Singapore passes Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill 2022
On 7 November 2022, the Singapore Parliament passed the Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill.1 This Alert highlights the key amendments to the Goods and Services Tax Act.
Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate change
The current rate of GST will increase from 7% to 8% as of 1 January 2023 and from 8% to 9% as of 1 January 2024.
Clarification of transitional rules for supplies spanning GST rate change
The transitional rules set forth the GST treatment and rate applicable for supplies spanning a change in GST treatment or rate. The amendments seek to provide greater clarity in the application of the rules, particularly for more unique supplies made, such as supplies which span both a change in GST rate and the effective date of GST registration of a business.
Update in the GST treatment of travel arranging services
From 1 January 2023, the GST treatment for a supply of travel arranging services will be based on where the person who contracts for the service and where the person who directly benefits from the service belong (rather than factors such as the location of the accommodation, or whether the transportation being arranged is international in nature which do not reflect the place of consumption of those services).
For example, where the services pertain to the arrangement of international transport, such services will only qualify for zero-rating if they are:
Refinement of rules for taxing Low Value Goods (LVG) and imported services under Overseas Vendor Registration (OVR) and Reverse Charge (RC) regimes
The amendments serve to provide certainty on the rules under the OVR and RC regimes, prevent double taxation and ease the compliance burden of businesses.
From 1 January 2023, overseas businesses that exceed SGD1 million in global turnover and provide SGD100,000 in remote services to Singapore consumers (individuals and businesses which are not GST registered) will be required to register for GST under the OVR regime and charge 8% GST on their supplies of remote services. Also, overseas suppliers of LVG (meeting the same SGD1 million global turnover and SGD100,000 supply of LVG to Singapore consumer threshold) will need to register for GST under the OVR regime and charge 8% on their supplies. LVG are goods imported by post or air with a value of up to SGD400. A GST-registered business who is subject to RC will need to take into account remote services and LVG when determining its RC GST liability.
Provision of criminal sanctions to counter Missing Trader Fraud (MTF) schemes
To provide strong deterrence against MTF schemes, criminal sanctions based on a two-tiered approach will be introduced from 1 January 2023. The first tier applies to MTF masterminds, co-conspirators and syndicate members who participate in such schemes, and it carries a maximum imprisonment term of 10 years and/or maximum fine of SGD500,000 (increased from maximum imprisonment of seven years). The second tier applies to current or former sole-proprietors, partners or directors of business entities who incorporate entities that are used by syndicates in MTF schemes. Such offenses carry a maximum imprisonment term of one year and a maximum fine of SGD50,000.
The Comptroller of GST is empowered to extend the filing deadline of GST returns where necessary, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic. A similar amendment was passed earlier under the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2022 to empower the Comptroller to extend all filing deadlines relating to the Income Tax and Property Tax Acts.
For additional information with respect to this Alert, please contact the following:
Ernst & Young Corporate Advisors, Pte., Ltd., Indirect Tax, Singapore
1 Link to the Bill: Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill – Singapore Statutes Online (agc.gov.sg)