Chapter 1

What is GST?

You’ve probably heard about GST before – it stands for goods and services tax and is added onto prices in Singapore.

A small business owner holding up a price tag

How can GST affect my business?

If you’re a business, you may be required to register for and collect GST. That means you:

  • may need to add GST to your prices
  • will need to send that extra money to IRAS
  • can claim back any GST that you’re charged on business supplies

How much is GST?

  • 8% is the GST rate for most goods and services
  • 0% is the GST rate for exported goods
  • 0% is the rate for international services (such as an air ticket from Singapore to Thailand)

GST exemptions

Some goods and services are exempt from GST, such as financial services, digital payment tokens, sale and lease of residential properties, and precious metals bought as an investment. Other things are considered out of scope (they sit outside the tax system).

You should never charge GST on exempt goods or services.

How does GST work?

The GST on any item is designed to be paid by the consumer in the end, rather than by the businesses involved in its supply. Take this example:

An infographic on how GST works

GST on imports

You have to pay GST on most imported goods, whether for domestic consumption, sale or re-export, regardless of whether the importer is GST registered or not.

GST on exports

You don’t have to charge GST on exports. That includes products you sell on the internet to overseas customers.


Xero does not provide accounting, tax, business or legal advice. This guide has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the content provided.

GST Guide For Business

Making a start with GST? Don’t worry. It’s a little extra admin, but this guide will help you get sorted.

  1. What is GST?

    You’ve probably heard about GST before – it stands for goods and services tax and is added onto prices in Singapore.

  2. Registering for GST

    Find out if your business needs to register for GST. If so, learn how to do it and find out what happens next.

  3. Calculating GST and issuing tax invoices

    If you’re a GST-registered business you must add GST to your prices. You also need to issue GST invoices. Find out how.

  4. Claiming back GST

    GST-registered businesses can claim back the GST they pay on business expenses. Learn when and how.

  5. Working out your GST refund or payment

    Working out GST is simple maths. Keeping track of all your transactions is the tricky part. Let’s learn the process.

  6. GST returns and due dates

    GST-registered businesses must declare how much they’ve collected and paid. You do this by filing GST returns (GST F5).

  7. Tools and guides for your business

    Now you know the ins and outs of GST, but it can be tough to keep on top of it all. Xero’s got the resources to help.

Download the GST Guide for Business

Get your GST sorted. Fill out the form to receive this guide as a PDF.

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