Singapore

When do NPOs need to register for GST?

Goods and Services Tax ("GST") is a transaction-based tax that applies to goods and services supplied by a taxable person in Singapore. If a not-for-profit organisation’s (Public Character) receipts that are taxable for GST perspectives exceed or are expected to exceed S$1 million within a 12-month period, you will have to consider GST registration.   

NPOs generally receive funding to support their cause through donations, grants, sponsorships, subventions, income from heavily funded programmes, and rental income investment income. How then does an NPO be best assessed whether or not it needs to be GST registered? 
For NPOs that are not sure whether or not they fall under the GST registration purview, below is a quick reference and easy identification to help-minimise possible penalties and the effort to file for back-dated GST return(s):  

Non-GST registration items (non-exhaustive) 

  • Outright grants without the needs to meet certain obligations (e.g. advertising the donor’s products and/or services)
  • Receipt of goods from donors with no benefits conferred. The subsequent sale of such goods by NPOs to raise funds will fall under the GST registration basket 
  • Grants received from the National Council of Social Services (“NCSS”), such as the Community Silver Trust Fund, the Silver Volunteer Fund, and the Skill Development Fund 
  • Bare rental or sales income of residential property 
  • Dividend income from shares  
  • Interest income and proceeds from investments 

GST registration items (non-exhaustive)

  • Solicited donations and fund-raising incomes (e.g. sale of tickets or coupons for charity dinner and events)
  • Incomes derived from subsidised charitable activities offered by NPOs (e.g. services/programmes including those that are partially subsidised by the government) 
  • Sundry income, miscellaneous income, and income including:
    1. Rental of training rooms, offices or commercial buildings
    2. Recovery of expenses from employees through payroll deduction (e.g. season parking fees, co-shared insurance, medical, etc.)
    3. Proceeds from sale of fixed assets (e.g. laptop, computer, furniture)
    4. Sale of scrap 
    5. Granting of rights to operate carparks 
  • Services covered under the Reverse Charge Regime   (from  1 January 2020)1

1 : (a) If the NPO procures services which are within the scope of reverse charge from overseas suppliers exceeding S$1 million in a 12-month period; AND

(b) Not entitled to full input tax claims if he were GST registered

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Headed by NPO Practice Industry Lead Woo E-Sah and supported by Director of Business Development and Marketing Irene Yap, we partner closely with our NPO clients to manage their GST risks (including assessment of their GST registration requirement) so that they can focus on their core function and to protect their potential cash outflow as penalties. The IRAS’ Voluntary Disclosure Programme ("VDP") allows NPOs to voluntarily disclose and connect with the tax authority with minimum impact on their operations. Our team of GST specialists also offers advisory and compliance support to minimise GST risks.  
 

Contact Us 

Woo E-Sah, Partner & Industry Lead 
NPO Practice and Healthcare 
T +65 6594 7843    
eswoo@rsmsingapore.sg

Team of GST professionals

Richard Ong, Partner & Head
Accredited Tax Advisor (GST)
T +65 6594 7821 
richardong@rsmsingapore.sg

Huang Yanlin, Director
Accredited Tax Advisor (GST)
T +65 6715 1142
huangyanlin@rsmsingapore.sg 

Lee Meow Ling, Senior Manager
Accredited Tax Advisor (GST)
T +65 6715 1143
leemeowling@rsmsingapore.sg