Importing goods to Singapore and GST
If you are importing goods into Singapore, you need to understand the potential Singapore Goods and Sales Tax GST (similar to Value Added Tax) implications. Failure to so will leave you potentially exposed to delays in delivery, lost VAT payments or fines.
There are two potential routes for foreign companies importing goods which help you manage your Singapore GST obligation. One is a non-resident Singapore GST registration; the other forming a Singapore company.
Non-resident Singapore GST registration
To avoid forming a local company, and reduce your compliance administrative and cost burdens, you can trade like the EU VAT non-resident regime. For importing, and clearing the goods, you will require:
Tax Identity Number from the tax office. This will require you to appoint a local fiscal representative (accountant or lawyer). They can record all transactions, GST paid and due, and submit quarterly GST returns on your behalf.
Unique Entity Number for customs clearance. To avoid forming a local establishment, you can use your freight handler’s number
Form a local Singapore branch
If you are a frequent, high-volume importer, then you may wish to consider forming a local branch. This will enable you to obtain your own Unique Entity Number for GST reporting. You do not need to hire local staff; instead use a local accountant to act as the mandatory local 2x Directors.