Singapore exporters are generally entitled to Zero Rate their exports and claim their Input GST refund. However, due care and diligence needs to be applied throughout the sale and export process with a close eye on the documents required. While the exhaustive list of requirements for Exports can be found on the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) website HERE, below are some of the salient documentation requirements that exporters should be aware of.
The onus is on the supplier who zero-rates his exports of goods to support his GST declarations with export evidence.
Commercial transaction documents
- customer’s order,
- sale invoice,
- delivery note,
- packing list,
- insurance documents, and
- payment received); and
Commercial transport documents
- bill of lading,
- air waybill,
- export permit,
- any other documents specified by the Comptroller
Other Documents in Lieu
- Mate’s Receipt
- Subsidiary Export Certificate
- Note of Shipment
Details required in a Subsidiary Export Certificate
(a) The words “Subsidiary Export Certificate”;
(b) Serial number of the certificate;
(c) Export permit number, including the date of departure;
(d) Exporter’s/ Supplier’s name and address; GST: Guide on Exports 3
(e) Air waybill/ bill of lading number/ vehicle number (for export by land);
(f) Description and quantity of goods;
(g) Mode of export (e.g. air/ sea/ land); and
(h) Name and signature of authorized person (not necessary if the certificate is computer generated).
In instances where the freight forwarder or handling agent issuing the Subsidiary Export Certificate is different from the freight forwarder or handling agent who is acting on behalf of the local supplier, the certificate must also include:
- Name, address, and GST registration number (if applicable) of the freight forwarder or handling agent acting for the local supplier.
Details required in a Note of Shipment
A tax invoice/ invoice/ delivery note/ packing list from the exporter (i.e. the local supplier) may act as a Note of Shipment, provided it states the following information.
(a) Freight forwarder’s or handling agent’s name, address, and GST registration number (if applicable), with the signature and designation of the person who issues it;
(b) Details of goods received from exporter. A copy of tax invoice/ invoice or delivery note can be attached instead of repeating these details. In such instance, the Note of Shipment must make clear reference to the document attached (e.g. to document the reference number and date);
(c) The words, “For Export Only”; and
(d) Details of shipment as follows: (i) Name of exporter/ supplier; (ii) Flight number/ vessel number/ vehicle number (for export by land); and (iii) Air waybill/ bill of lading number.
Often times, if the local exporter asks the local supplier to deliver goods out of Singapore, a purchase order or equivalent from the exporter to the supplier may also be required with written instructions that clearly indicate “goods purchased are to be exported” and the packing list should contain a statement “Goods delivered are for export”. Export Permit, Insurance documents are additional documents that may also be required along-with freight forwarder Name, address and GST registration number AND details of the Transport Documents including Bills of Lading / Airway Bill / vehicle number shipment / vessel.
To avoid audits, scrutiny and delays of your GST input tax refund, we recommend exports to be aware of the GST regulations and incorporate the requirements into your Standard Operating Procedures early on.
Source – Inland Revenue of Singapore (IRAS) website – Export e-Tax Guide (Seventh Edition).