1 April 2014

Company fined more than half a million for failing to register for GST

A sports and concerts event promoter was ordered to pay about S$786,000 in taxes and penalties plus a court fine of S$7,000 for failing to inform the Comptroller of Goods and Services Tax (GST) of its liability to register for GST.   

Under Singapore law, a business with annual taxable turnover exceeding S$1 million must register for GST. A GST-registered business is required to charge GST on its sales and can offset the GST it pays on its purchases before it accounts for the net difference to IRAS.

Businesses are required to regularly assess whether they are required to be registered for GST, and must register for GST the moment they see that taxable turnover for the past four quarters has exceeded than S$1 million, or when the business’ taxable turnover for the next 12 months is expected to exceed S$1 million. Businesses need to register for GST within 30 days of the date on which their liability to register for GST arises.

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore's (IRAS') investigations revealed that the company's taxable turnover exceeded S$1 million for the four quarters ending 30 June 2004, 30 September 2004, 31 December 2004 and 31 March 2005. It failed to inform the Comptroller of GST of its liability to register for GST within 30 days of the end of 31 Mar 2005, that is, by 30 Apr 2005. 

IRAS reminds businesses to follow GST registration rules by closely monitoring their taxable turnover at the end of each quarter and ensuring that they promptly register for GST when their turnover exceeds S$1 million per year. Regular audit programmes are carried out by IRAS to identify cases liable for compulsory GST registration. 

Businesses failing to register for GST even though they are required to do so by law can be fined up to S$10,000 and pay a penalty equal to 10% of the tax due from the date on which the business is required to register for GST. The business’ effective date of GST registration will be back-dated to the day that its liability to register arose. Consequently, the business will have to pay the outstanding GST on all its past transactions since the effective date of registration, even if this amount was not collected from its customers.

Businesses or individuals are encouraged to immediately disclose any past tax mistakes. IRAS will treat such disclosures as mitigating factors when considering action to be taken. Those who wish to disclose past mistakes, reveal evaded taxes, or report malpractices that might indicate tax evasion, can write to IRAS, or email ifd@iras.gov.sg.