Ministry of Finance
- Consultation Period:
- 06 Jul 2021 - 27 Jul 2021
1. The Ministry of Finance is proposing four amendments to the GST Act:
a. The first proposed amendment relates to the introduction of GST on (a) goods that are valued up to the current GST import relief threshold of S$400 (“low-value goods”) and are imported via air or post, and on (b) business-to-consumer (“B2C”) imported non-digital services. The second proposed amendment updates the GST treatment for supplies of media sales. These changes were announced in the 2021 Budget Statement on 16 February 2021.
b. The other two proposed amendments improve GST administration and the clarity of existing legislation.
2. The Ministry is seeking public feedback on the draft GST (Amendment) Bill 2021 which provides for these amendments.
SCOPE OF THE CONSULTATION
Budget 2021 amendments
3. The first two proposed amendments relate to the measures announced by Deputy Prime Minister and then-Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat, in the 2021 Budget Statement. We invite you to comment on the drafting of the proposed legislation.
a. Proposed amendment 1 introduces GST from 1 January 2023 on (a) low-value goods imported via air or post, and (b) B2C imported non-digital services such as live interaction with overseas providers of educational learning and telemedicine. Currently, these imported goods and services are not subject to GST.
The extension of GST to such imported low-value goods and B2C imported non-digital services complements the existing GST measures on business-to-business (“B2B”) imported services and B2C imported digital services that took effect from 1 January 2020. Together, they ensure a level playing field for our local businesses to be competitive. Overseas suppliers of goods and services will be subject to the same GST treatment as local suppliers. This change also keeps our GST system resilient in a growing digital economy.
b. Proposed amendment 2 updates the GST treatment for a supply of media sales1 , with the growth of online advertisement and other media sales. Under this updated GST treatment, from 1 January 2022, the GST treatment will be based on where the customer (i.e. the contractual customer) and where the direct beneficiary of the service belongs, rather than where the advertisement is circulated. If the customer of the service belongs outside Singapore and the direct beneficiary either belongs outside Singapore or is GST-registered in Singapore, the media sales will be zero-rated. Otherwise GST will be chargeable at the standard-rate.
Other proposed amendments
4. In addition, the draft Bill provides for two other proposed amendments that arose from periodic reviews of Singapore’s GST system, which seek to improve GST administration and the clarity of existing legislation. We invite you to comment on the proposed changes and the drafting of the proposed legislation, which will give effect to these policy changes.
a. Proposed amendment 3 updates the transitional rules for changes in GST treatment. Transitional rules determine whether an old or new GST treatment applies. These rules were last amended in 2011. The proposed update of the transitional rules mitigates uncertainty and potential gaming. These updated transitional rules, if passed, will apply such as when the GST treatment for the supply of media sales changes from 1 January 2022 (i.e. proposed amendment 2 at paragraph 3b).
b. Proposed amendment 4 seeks to make miscellaneous changes to the existing Overseas Vendor Registration2 regime and Reverse Charge3 regime to mitigate revenue risks, provide tax certainty, and ease compliance burden. Both regimes are used to impose GST on imported low-value goods, and/or imported B2B or B2C services.
5. The Annex provides a brief description of the proposed amendments to the GST Act. Please refer to the draft GST (Amendment) Bill 2021 and related subsidiary legislation for details.
6. We appreciate your support and participation. Respondents are requested to observe these guidelines:
a. Please identify yourself and the organisation you represent (if any) so that we may follow up with you to clarify your comments if needed.
b. Be clear and concise in your comments.
c. Focus your comments on how the proposed legislative amendments can be better written to make them clearer and to make compliance easier, or on how the non-Budget tax policy changes can be improved.
d. Use the prescribed template provided to organise your feedback.
e. As far as possible, please explain your points with illustrations, examples, data or alternative formulations of the proposed amendments.
7. This draft legislation is released only for the purpose of consultation and should therefore not be used for individual or business decisions as it does not represent the final legislation. All comments received during the consultation will be reviewed thoroughly and if accepted, will be incorporated in the Bill for introduction in Parliament.
PERIOD OF CONSULTATION
8. The draft GST (Amendment) Bill 2021 and related subsidiary legislation is available for public consultation from 6 to 27 July 2021. We regret that comments received after 27 July 2021 will not be considered.
9. We request that all interested parties submit your comments using the prescribed template, via email to email@example.com.
SUMMARY OF RESPONSE
10. We will publish a summary of the main comments received on the Ministry of Finance’s website, together with our responses, in September 2021. The identity of respondents will not be disclosed in the summary.
DOCUMENTS TO DOWNLOAD
11. For reference, please refer below to download the relevant documents for this public consultation
Other useful references:
You may obtain a copy of the GST Act at https://sso.agc.gov.sg.
1 Media sales refer to the sale of advertising space for hardcopy print and outdoor advertisements, the sale of advertising airtime for broadcasting via TV and radio, and the sale of media space for web advertising via email, internet or mobile devices.
2 Under the existing Overseas Vendor Registration regime, overseas suppliers and electronic marketplace operators which make significant sales of digital services to local consumers are required to register with IRAS for GST.
3 Under the existing reverse charge regime, GST-registered persons that make non-taxable supplies of goods or services such as exempt supplies (e.g. provision of certain financial services, and the sale and lease of residential properties) are required to account for GST to IRAS on their imports of services.