GST for online shopping? Government studying ways to tax e-commerce

This could mean getting big e-commerce players to register for GST here if they sell to Singapore consumers, or getting customers to pay tax on goods and services they buy online.

These comments come after Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah said in an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday that e-commerce would likely come under the local tax regime soon.

“You can imagine, 20 years from now, the way people purchase is very different and by that time online platforms will be mainstays, so if that’s not part of the tax regime, there’s going to be a lot of holes there,” she said.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in the Budget earlier this year too that the Government was studying ways to tax e-commerce.

Currently, online purchases of goods and services under $400 are not taxed in Singapore.

The $400 GST exemption threshold could be reviewed for the purposes of capturing online shopping transactions,” said KPMG Singapore’s head of tax, Mr Chiu Wu Hong.

“Digital services (for example, music downloads, e-books) rendered by foreign companies could be brought into the GST net by using a ‘reverse charge’ mechanism, or by way of requiring them to register for GST if they were to provide to end consumers in Singapore.”


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