IRAS introduces Specialised Warehouse Scheme

5 September 2011

Operators of warehouses which are wholly used for the business of storing qualifying goods are to take note that a new Specialised Warehouse Scheme (SWS) has been introduced.

In his 2011 Budget Statement, the Minister for Finance announced changes to the GST treatment for certain supplies relating to the specialised storage of high-value goods kept in qualifying warehouses. Such warehouses are for providing specialised storage facilities to overseas persons, and where most of the goods stored will eventually be exported.

A supply of service may be zero-rated if the customer is an overseas person and the service is supplied directly in connection with goods for export. However, where goods are stored in Singapore for an extended period of time, businesses may face difficulty in establishing that the goods are for export when billing their overseas customers.

Under  the  scheme,  IRAS  will  grant  approval  for qualifying  Zero-GST/ Licensed Warehouses that store qualifying goods (also known as “Approved Specialised Warehouses”).

The purpose of the SWS is to facilitate a new zero-rating relief on the following supplies to overseas persons:

  •  Qualifying services performed on qualifying goods stored in an Approved Specialised Warehouse
  •  Lease/  tenancy/ licence to occupy a  storage  space in an Approved Specialised Warehouse (only where such a supply of storage space is made by the operator of an Approved Specialised Warehouse).

Only warehouses that store certain categories of goods are eligible for the SWS, and only supplies related to such goods may qualify for the zero-rating relief. The categories of goods are:

  • a work of art
  • an antique
  • an artefact
  • a collector’s item
  • a precious metal (gold, silver, palladium, platinum)
  • a precious stone (diamond, ruby, sapphire, emerald)
  • jewellery, and
  • wine.

The Comptroller of GST will grant approval on a warehouse-by-warehouse basis. Eligibility requirements and operational details of the SWS are found in the e-Tax Guide “Specialised Warehouse Scheme and Zero-rating of Supplies”.

Those who wish to apply for SWS need to submit the form, “GST F26: Application for Specialised Warehouse Scheme” with the supporting documents stated in the form to the Comptroller of GST.

The changes will take effect by way of Ministerial Remission, from 1 October 2011, until the relevant GST legislation is amended.

Source: This article was extracted from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) website. Visit for more information.