How Does Singapore GST Assisted Self-Help Kit Work?

How Does Singapore GST Assisted Self-Help Kit Work?

If your business is required to file for Goods and Services Tax (GST), the GST Assisted Self-Help Kit (ASK) is useful for all GST-registered businesses. It is a program designed by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) to help businesses in determining the accuracy of every company’s GST filings. The GST ASK may be implemented voluntarily or as required by the IRAS.

While it is not uncommon to have errors in GST reporting, miscomputations and incorrect recording may happen, which can significantly affect your business operations since you will attract the government to perform audit checks on your business, taking valuable time for you efficiently do business with your customers. So, it’s best to implement a GST ASK review or hire outsourced accounting services in Singapore to avoid any problems in the long run.

How Does ASK Work?

The kit is comprised of three main stages to help businesses assess and ascertain the errors they have committed in the prior GST reports. This allows companies to realise their GST errors early, optimise business reporting procedures for future submission, and avoid being penalised.

The main stages of the ASK program include:

Stage 1: Identifying Good GST Practices

To enhance the accuracy of this self-reviewing program, the company will be prompted to assess their internal processes based on four key aspects: people, record-keeping, internal controls and systems.

To complete this stage, the company must answer a questionnaire aiming to identify the business’ GST practices.

Stage 2: Before the GST Review: Pre-Filing Checklist

The second stage involves many thorough questions for the company to determine if certain items, business processes, etc are in place. A pre-filing checklist is available at the User Guide for Assisted Self-Help Kit. This step is useful, especially for companies that are filing their first GST returns. It is also highly recommended for businesses that have new business arrangements or personnel handling the GST filing.

The pre-filing checklist has four to six sub-sets of questions to be reviewed and reflected, according to the company’s actual scenario. Once completed, it can be of great use in understanding the accuracy level of the GST filings.

Stage 3: GST ASK Annual Review

Businesses that have filed a GST return will undergo a strict and rigorous review of the GST returns filed for all the past periods since the entity first became GST-registered.

You can seek GST ASK annual review guides or consult different professionals and firms offering accounting services in Singapore to make the whole process simple. And the good thing is that the IRAS provides a guide for businesses to conduct this annual review.

The GST ASK review should be conducted by your in-house staff. It could also be performed by an external party, such as:

After the review is completed; they must report any errors that were found and learned during the assessment to the IRAS.

During the annual review, the two types of errors that will be discovered are as follows:

Transactional Errors

These are due to the wrong application of GST treatment or a lack of adequate evidence to back the transaction records.

GST Reporting Errors

Unlike transactional errors, GST reporting errors relate to the inaccuracies committed during the preparation of GST reporting. The erroneous data can be a result of using incorrect data, claiming disallowed input tax, and GST adjustments for certain scenarios.

What Are the Main Benefits of Conducting the ASK?

If your company fully submits itself to the GST ASK annual review, you can enjoy a lot of benefits, including:

  • A better understanding of the GST requirements;
  • Accurate reporting of future GST returns;
  • Lower risk of incurring penalties on avoidable errors;
  • Quick identification of GST errors for early reporting to IRAS, under the voluntary disclosure program;
  • Administrative concessions for common errors reported through the participation of ASK Annual Review; and
  • Streamlined application or renewal of GST Schemes (like Import GST Deferment Scheme, Approved Third Party Logistics Company Scheme, Major Exporter Scheme, etc.)

While the GST ASK is not mandatory, a company’s voluntary participation in the program can significantly help them maximize resources. If there are any errors committed in the process of filing their GST returns, they will enjoy lower penalties if proven that the mistakes made were not made on purpose or to avoid taxes.

What Can We Do at Mighty Glory Corporate Solutions?

Whether you want to get your business started, or your company needs to carry out the annual review, Mighty Glory Corporate Solutions can work closely with your company throughout all the stages of the GST ASK processes.

We will enhance your business’ GST compliance level by carefully reviewing the existing procedures and giving recommendations on areas that can be improved. Our experienced team of professionals can support you from the GST pre-registration to conducting the mandatory ASK review for the specific GST Scheme application or renewal.

If you’re interested in our services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We can also give you a customized quotation.

For more details and information, call us at (+65) 6677 4258 or send us a message by completing the inquiry form.

Overview of GST Reverse Charge

Overview of GST Reverse Charge

In Budget 2018, two regimes to levy GST on imported services, are announced to be implemented from 1 January 2020 onwards, namely Reverse Charge regime for Business-to-Business (“B2B”) supplies and Overseas Vendor Registration regime for Business-to-Consumer (“B2C”) supplies.

Reverse Charge Regime subjects the B2B procurement of imported services to input tax or GST. The current GST rule only requires input taxes to be applied on services procured from local GST-registered persons. The Reverse Charge (RC) regime stipulates the transfer of GST obligation to the buyers of imported services intended for business use.

The advent of technological advancements initiated the influx of virtual business solutions. This offered an option for Singapore businesses to procure service from outside of the country. The goal of the changes is to level the GST treatment for services procured locally and those obtained overseas.


Company A obtains payroll services in Singapore from Payroll Company who is based in Singapore, and marketing services from an online marketing solutions provider.

In the current GST rule, Payroll Company has to report the GST on the payroll services in its GST return, while no GST is chargeable for the marketing services.

With the RC regime, Payroll Company will shoulder the GST for the payroll services, while Company A will be accountable for the GST on the marketing services.

Who are subjected to RC?

The following are covered by the changes in the RC regime;

  • A GST-registered entity who is
    1. A business not entitled to claim input tax in full;
    2. An organization who carries out non-business activities (such as charities or welfare groups who offer free or subsidised services, and investment holding companies which derive dividend income) and receives non-business receipts, is not entitled to claim input tax in full; or
    3. A fully taxable person who chooses to apply RC.
  • A Non-GST registered business
    1. Whose total value of imported services, procured within a 12-month period, exceeds the S$1 million threshold; and
    2. Who is not entitled to claim input tax in full even if it was GST-registered.

Exceptions to the Rule

By announcing these changes in the announcement in Budget 2018, this move gave the affected businesses about 22 months, providing ample time to prepare. Once the law takes into effect, no extension will be granted to anyone who might attempt to request for leniency. However, there are exceptions to the rule:

  1. Businesses that create and provide non-taxable goods and services may qualify for partial GST claims. Products and services include but not limited to:
    • Tax-exempt supplies under the 4th Schedule of the GST Act.
    • Zero-rating supplies under Section 21(3) of the GST Act.
    • Non-taxable government services under the Non-Taxable Government Supplies Order of the GST Act.
  2. Businesses that provide free or subsidized products and services.
  3. Regulations 28 of the GST General Regulations or the De Minimis Rule is not satisfied.
  4. RC is not applicable to supplies that have been previously taxed in Singapore.


Singapore Corporation engages Foreign Services to conduct a market research for $20,000. Foreign Services will outsource the job to Local Research Firm for $15,000. After the completion of the project, GST computation is as follows;

Local Research Firm will bill Foreign Services $15,000 plus the 7% GST of $1,050 to get a total of $16,050.

Foreign Services will bill Singapore Corporation $20,000. Singapore Corporation will account for 7% GST on $5,000 as the $15,000 has already been taxed. GST charged to Singapore Corporation for this transaction is $350.

Which transactions are affected?

Although the law was announced as early as 2018, the blanket implementation of the rule is on 1 January 2020. RC will apply to all transactions of the affected services paid or delivered, whichever is earlier, on or after the implementation date.

  1. General Rule – The earlier of when the invoice in respect of the supply is issued and when the payment is made.
  2. Consistent Application – Businesses may also account for RC at the earlier of when the invoice in respect of the supply is posted and when the payment is made, if all GST returns are prepared on the same basis.
  3. RC Business Applying RC At The End of Longer Periods – The day immediately after the last day of the longer period. If the accounting period end on 30th June, the time of supply is 1st July.
  4. Special Rules
    • Intra-GST group and interbranch transactions – The earliest of when the invoice in respect of the supply is issued, when the payment is made, and 12 months after the basic tax point. This rule done not apply to continuous supply of services.
    • Transactions straddling the registration – Services performed before registration can be (a) excluded from RC or (b) the time of supply set to the service date or when the service was rendered.
    • Transactions straddling the de-registration – Services performed before de-registration are subject to RC, with the time of supply set to the day immediately before the de-registration takes effect.
    • As an administrative concession, GST-registered businesses who are unable to accurately determine if they will be partially exempted from year to year, they may elect to apply RC only at the end of the longer period.

Mighty Glory Corporate Solutions provides accounting and tax services, bookkeeping, payroll services, and more corporate solutions in SingaporeConnect with us today to know more about the Reverse Charge Regime and how it may affect your business. We look forward to helping you identify your business needs and provide customized, efficient and holistic solutions.

GST Implication From Customer Accounting

GST Implication From Customer Accounting

Starting from 1 January 2019, customer accounting for prescribed goods is mandatory required under the GST regulations. This is applicable to the supplies of certain prescribed goods acquired by a GST-registered customer intended for business use, provided that it is (a) a local sale of prescribed goods with a GST-exclusive value of over S$10,000 and (b) not an excepted supply.

Customer accounting transfers the responsibility of GST accounting from the seller (or supplier) to the buyer (or customer). The changes are aimed to counter non-reporting and other fraud schemes where the supplier or seller absconds with the collected GST.

Under the Customer Accounting (CA) scheme, the sellers are not allowed to charge and collect GST from their customers. They are, however, required to issue a customer tax invoice that reflects the customer’s GST registration number and a statement to inform the customer of his/her GST accountability, and the application of CA in that purchase. The seller will also have to report the transaction in his GST returns.

What are the Prescribed Goods?

The application of CA is limited to the prescribed goods, which include but are not limited to the following:

  • Mobile Phones – Examples include smartphones, Blackberry, or tablets that can transmit and receive calls and messages over a cellular network. The purchase of a mobile phone is, however, excluded from customer accounting if it comes with a post-paid mobile subscription plan by a local telecommunication service provider. Satellite phones, walkie-talkies, smartwatches, mobile landlines, phones over 17.5 cm in screen size, and smartphone accessories such as chargers, screen protectors, and batteries are not included in the CA scheme.
  • Memory Cards – This category includes memory sticks, Secure Digital (SD) cards and CompactFlash. The exclusions are solid state drive (SSD), thumb drive, dual in-line memory module (DIMM), random access memory (RAM), portable external hard disk, hard disk drive (HDD), and other smart cards with embedded chips such as ATMs, SIM cards, and credit cards.
  • Off-the-Shelf Software – The software included in this category are those that are not specifically customized for the customer. Such software is stored in a CD or similar storage device; or the product can be accessed through a product or license key, activating or other similar code which is provided as part of the purchase. Prescribed goods for CA include software sold in physical boxed packaging like anti-virus, accounting, gaming, design tools, etc. Pre-installed software is not prescribed for CA. Software back-ups stored in CD or similar storage device, Xbox Live, software downloadable from the internet (whose key or code for access is provided via email), and PlayStation Plus are examples of software not qualified for CA.

‘Excepted Goods’ which are not subject to CA, are the supplies of goods made under:

  • Gross Margin Scheme – The computation of GST is based on the gross margin, not the full value, of the goods supplied. This scheme is applicable if (1) the primary business activity is dealing with used goods and (2) the second-handed goods are purchased free of GST.
  • Approved Third Party Logistics (3PL) Company Scheme – Under certain conditions, no import duty or GST is applicable on the supplies of goods from the overseas customers of these approved logistics companies.
  • Approved Refiner and Consolidator Scheme – Either the approved refiner or consolidator can enjoy the certain GST benefits, which are specially designed to ease cash flow and relieve indirect taxability on refining activities for investment precious metals (IPM).
  • A deemed taxability arising from the transfer or disposal of goods at no cost.

When to Apply Customer Accounting

To apply CA, the following conditions must be met;

  • The customer must be a GST-registered person;
  • The purchase of prescribed goods is conducted in the ordinary course of a business; and
  • The value of the prescribed goods exceeds S$10,000.

Connect with us today to learn more about customer accounting and how this may affect and/or apply to your business. We look forward to helping you identify your business and personal needs, and providing you with efficient and holistic solutions.

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