Major Exporter Scheme

Additional Info

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The Major Exporter Scheme (MES) is administered by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). The scheme is designed to ease the cash flow of businesses that import and export goods substantially.

Under normal rules, the businesses have to pay GST upfront on importation and subsequently obtain a refund from IRAS after submission of their GST returns. This can create cash flow problems for businesses that export goods substantially as no GST is collected from the zero-rated supplies to set-off their initial cash outflow on importation.

If you are under the MES, you can import non-dutiable goods with GST suspended. With effect from 1 July 2006, you can also enjoy GST suspension on goods removed from a Zero GST warehouse.

When to Use Your MES Status

Your MES status can only be used when you:

  • import your own goods in the course or furtherance of your business; or
  • import goods belonging to your overseas principal for sale in Singapore or re-export on behalf of the overseas principal, in the course or furtherance of the business; or
  • import goods belonging to your overseas principal which will later be re-exported (e.g. back to your overseas principal) if the requirements for section 33A agent in the GST: Guide on Imports are satisfied. You can find a copy of the GST: Guide on Imports at www.iras.gov.sg.

If you import goods as described in (2) and (3) above, you need to ensure that:

  • Your overseas principal is not registered for GST.
  • You keep separate records for goods belonging to your overseas principal.
  • You have control over the custody and possession of the goods owned by your overseas principals at all times.
  • You treat any subsequent supply of goods as being made by you.
    • If you sell the goods locally, you should standard-rate the supply.
    • If you export the goods and maintain the required export evidence, you may zero-rate the supply.

For the types of export evidence to maintain under each export scenario, refer to GST: A Guide on Exports and GST: Guide on Hand-Carried Exports Scheme. Both guides are available at www.iras.gov.sg.

Application/Renewal of MES

Qualifying Conditions
• Your zero-rated supplies must account for more than 50 per cent of the total supplies, or the value of your zero-rated supplies is more than S$10 million for the past 12 months.
• You are required to maintain good internal controls and proper accounting records.
• You are required to maintain good compliance records with IRAS and Singapore Customs.

For more details on the qualifying conditions, please refer to the e-Tax Guide on Major Exporter Scheme available at www.iras.gov.sg.

How to Apply
You can download the paper form GST F10: Application for Major Exporter Scheme at https://www.iras.gov.sg/irasHome/uploadedFiles/Quick_Links/Tax_forms/GST/gstf10_0507.xls. A letter of guarantee from a bank or an insurance company may be required before approval is granted.

Status Validity
Your MES status will be valid until IRAS notifies you in writing that your eligibility of MES status is due for review. This is usually three years after the date of approval. At any time, if you fail to satisfy any of the qualifying conditions, you are required to inform IRAS. Your MES status may be revoked.

Renewal of MES

When your MES status is due for review and you continue to satisfy the qualifying conditions, a MES renewal invitation letter and the “Checklist for Self- Review of Eligibility for MES” will be sent to you.

You are required to submit the checklist within the due date stated in the renewal letter. IRAS will inform you in writing of the outcome of our review. Your MES status will continue to be valid pending the outcome. During the renewal, the requirement of a letter of guarantee will also be reviewed. You will be informed if a letter of guarantee is required.

Enhanced MES from 1 January 2013

With effect from 1 January 2013, you would need to perform a self-review using the Assisted Self-Help Kit (ASK) and submit the certified ASK declaration form “ASK: Declaration Form on Completing Annual Review & Voluntary Disclosure of Errors to apply for or renew your MES status. The ASK Annual Review must either be performed by:

  • an individual accredited with Singapore Institute of Accredited Tax Professionals^ (“SIATP”) as Accredited Tax Advisor (GST) [ATA (GST)] or Accredited Tax Practitioner (GST) [ATP (GST)]; or
  • the GST-registered business and certified by an individual accredited with SIATP as ATA (GST) or ATP (GST), in adherence to the certification procedures set out in the GST ASK Annual Review Guide. You may download a copy of the GST ASK Annual Review Guide at www.iras.gov.sg.

This will replace the positive assurance report required in MES application and the “Checklist for Self-Review of Eligibility for MES” in MES renewal.

^The ATA (GST) or ATP (GST) may either be an in-house staff or external party. For more information on accreditation, please visit www.siatp.org.sg.

Businesses that are already under MES will receive notifications on this by April 2012. For successful ACAP applicants, you do not need to submit the ASK declaration form pending the result of ACAP review and submission of ACAP Report. Please refer to the e-Tax Guide on Major Exporter Scheme available at www.iras.gov.sg for more details on the enhancement.

Appointment of Declaring Agents

As an approved MES person, you can authorise up to 20 declaring agents to clear the goods on your behalf. You are accountable for all permits declared by your declaring agents. Therefore, we advise that you exercise due care and do not appoint more declaring agents than necessary.

Reporting in GST Return

Importation of Goods
When you import goods, using your MES status, you should declare the value of imports in:

  • Total value of taxable purchases (Box 5); and
  • Total value of goods imported under Major Exporter Scheme / Approved 3rd Party Logistics Company Scheme or Other Approved Schemes (Box 9).

Such declarations must be supported by valid ME permits and relevant supporting documents. As GST on imports has been suspended, you should not claim any input tax.

Importation of Goods into and Removal of Goods From Zero GST Warehouse
When you import goods into a Zero GST Warehouse, you need to declare the imports in your GST return despite the suspension of GST. You should declare the value of imports in:

  • Total value of taxable purchases (Box 5)

If the goods are removed from Zero GST Warehouse into customs territory using your MES status, you should declare the value of goods removed in:

  • Total value of taxable purchases (Box 5); and
  • Total value of goods imported under Major Exporter Scheme / Approved 3rd Party Logistics Company Scheme or Other Approved Schemes (Box 9).

They must be duly supported by valid ME/ MC/ Customs permits and relevant supporting documents. As GST has been suspended, you should not claim any input tax.

For more details, please refer to Major Exporter Scheme available on IRAS’s website at https://www.iras.gov.sg/irasHome/page04.aspx?id=2108. For more details, visit the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) website at www.iras.gov.sg.

ABOUT THE INLAND REVENUE AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) acts as an agent of the Singapore Government to administer, assess, collect, and enforce payment of taxes and duties. As the main tax administrator for the Ministry of Finance, IRAS plays a role in tax policy formulation by providing policy inputs, as well as the technical and administrative implications of each policy. IRAS also actively monitors developments in external economic and tax environment to identify areas for policy review and changes aimed at fostering a competitive tax environment that encourages enterprise and growth.

IRAS is responsible for the administration of Income Tax, Goods and Services Tax, Property Tax, Stamp Duty and Betting Taxes.

The other non-revenue functions performed by IRAS include representing the government in tax treaty negotiations, providing advice on property valuation and drafting of tax legislation.

Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore
55 Newton Road
Revenue House
Singapore 307987
Main line: +65 6356 8233
Website: www.iras.gov.sg
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/irassg
Twitter: www.twitter.com/iras_sg

Read 8662 times Last modified on Thursday, 18 December 2014 03:55