Public feedback sought on proposed changes to GST system

SINGAPORE - Three proposed changes to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) system are the subject of an ongoing public consultation, and tourists especially should take note.

The Ministry of Finance is seeking input from the public on the draft GST (Amendment) Bill 2015 from now till July 31.

The biggest proposed change would give the comptroller of GST the ability to impose a travel restriction order on tourists who claim GST refunds to which they are not entitled. These tourists would be allowed to leave the country only after repaying the wrongfully claimed refund.

The Tourist Refund Scheme currently allows tourists to claim a GST refund for goods bought in Singapore that will be taken out of the country. However, this year saw GST fraud make the news with a scam involving four foreign nationals' fraudulent claim of around $570,000 in refunds.

The other two proposed GST amendments involve zero-rated supplies, or goods which are exempted from GST. The government is introducing an amendment to clarify that zero-rating applies to merchandise sold on aircraft and ships. It will also consider certain supplies on international flights as intended for consumption outside Singapore and therefore zero-rated.

The public can access the consultation documents and explanations for the proposed GST changes on MOF's website (www.mof.gov.sg) and the Reach consultation portal (www.reach.gov.sg).

They can send their comments to MOF directly via the website, email, fax, or post.