• Singapore Goods and Services Tax - Major Exporter Scheme
Article:

Singapore Goods and Services Tax - Major Exporter Scheme

22 January 2020

Eu Chin Sien , Executive Director, Goods & Services Tax |

If your business involves imports and exports of goods substantially, are you already taking advantage of the cash flow benefit under the Major Exporter Scheme (MES)?

Where your company is already enjoying the import GST suspension under your MES status which is due to expire, you will receive an invitation letter from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) to apply for renewal of your MES (unless you have participated in the Assisted Compliance Assurance Programme (ACAP) where the MES status will be auto-renewed). Generally, the invite would be at least nine months prior to the expiry of the MES status.

To renew the MES status, the company must:-

  • continue to satisfy the qualifying conditions for MES (see below);
  • perform a self-review using the Assisted Self-Help Kit (ASK) methodology; and
  • submit the renewal application Form R1 (application for Renewal of MES) and the certified* ASK declaration form “ASK: Declaration Form on Completing Annual Review & Voluntary Disclosure of Errors” to IRAS at least five months before the MES expiry date.

*The completed ASK declaration form must be certified by a tax professional (external or in-house who has been accredited by the Singapore Institute of Accredited Tax Professionals (SIATP) as an Accredited Tax Advisor (GST) or Accredited Tax Practitioner (GST).

If the requisite documents are not received by IRAS by the due date, the MES status will be cancelled and the company will have to pay GST on the imports. As it generally takes a few months to complete the ASK review, you may wish to start preparing for the ASK review early.

 

Overview and benefits of MES

MES is a scheme where GST is suspended upon the importation of non-dutiable goods into Singapore. It is designed to alleviate the cash flow of GST-registered businesses that import and export goods substantially.

Companies in the business of import and export of goods currently not under the MES may wish to consider to apply for this scheme.

To qualify for MES, the company must:-

  • be GST-registered;
  • be active and financially solvent;
  • import goods for the purpose of the business;
  • make zero-rated supplies that account for more than 50% of the total supplies or the value of zero-rated supplies is more than S$10 million for a 12-month period;
  • maintain good internal controls and proper accounting records;
  • maintain good compliance records with Singapore Customs and IRAS; and
  • be able to comply with other such conditions as the Comptroller of GST may impose from time to time.

To apply for MES, the company must:- 

  • satisfy the qualifying conditions;
  • perform a self-review using the ASK methodology;
  • submit the application form F10 (application for MES) and the certified* ASK declaration form “ASK: Declaration Form on Completing Annual Review & Voluntary Disclosure of Errors”; and
  • submit a Letter of Confirmation & Undertaking where it imports or will import goods belonging to third parties, if applicable.

*The completed ASK declaration form must be certified by a tax professional (external or in-house who has been accredited by the Singapore Institute of Accredited Tax Professionals (SIATP) as an Accredited Tax Advisor (GST) or Accredited Tax Practitioner (GST).

Our team of GST specialists would be pleased to assist with a preliminary discussion of the IRAS’ requirements. Please do not hesitate to contact any of the following members:

Manager DID Email
Mr Jackson Cai 6828 9180 jacksoncai@bdo.com.sg
Ms Jan See 6829 9637 jansee@bdo.com.sg
Mr Derek Chua 6289 9636 derekchua@bdo.com.sg
Ms Ng Shy Zing 6828 9116 shyzing@bdo.com.sg