29 June 2016
On 17 June 2016, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) issued the third edition of “GST: Concession for REITS and Qualifying Registered Business Trusts listed in Singapore (3rd Ed)”.
In February 2008, the Minister for Finance had announced enhancements to the 2006 GST concession granted to Real Estate Investment Trusts listed on the Singapore Exchange (S-REITs) and their Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs). The 2008 concession (“enhanced concession”) was further enhanced in February 2015.
The Guide sets out the qualifying criteria under the enhanced concession as well as the further enhancements made in 2015.
The enhanced concession is currently extended to Singapore-listed Registered Business Trusts (S-RBTs) carrying on qualifying businesses, namely infrastructure business, aircraft leasing, and ship leasing (hereafter referred to as “qualifying S-RBTs”). S-REITs and qualifying S-RBTs are able to claim GST incurred on business expenses, excluding disallowed expenses under Regulation 26 and 27 of the GST (General) Regulations, regardless of whether they are GST registrable or not.
The enhanced concession allows S-REITs and qualifying S-RBTs to treat all supplies made by the multi-tiered structure as if they are taxable or exempt supplies made by the parent S-REIT and qualifying S-RBT for the purpose of computing GST claims. This is regardless of whether the S-REITs and qualifying S-RBTs make taxable supplies.
In February 2015, the Minister of Finance announced an extension of the qualifying period for the enhanced concession to 31 March 2020.
Additionally the enhanced concession was extended to SPVs set up by S-REITs and qualifying S-RBTs solely to raise funds for the business operations of the S-REITs or qualifying S-RBTs (hereafter referred to as “financing SPVs”). Financing SPVs are set up to ring-fence risks associated with the raising of funds through financial instruments such as bonds. As financing SPVs do not hold any qualifying assets, the S-REITs or qualifying S-RBTs could not claim GST on expenses relating to financing SPVs under the enhanced concession.
To facilitate S-REITs and qualifying S-RBTs in raising funds through financing SPVs, the enhancements allow S-REITs and qualifying S-RBTs to claim GST on business expenses incurred to set up financing SPVs and GST on the business expenses of financing SPVs, excluding disallowed expenses. The 2015 enhanced concession applies to GST incurred from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2020. It is granted based on an additional condition as stated in paragraph 3.1(iv) of the Guide. All other qualifying conditions remain unchanged
Other than editorial changes, the updates made for this edition include:
- Amendments to paragraphs 4.3 and 4.4 (GST claims for GST-registered S-REIT or GST-registered qualifying S-RBT) and insertion of footnote 9
- Insertion of paragraph 5 (Attribution and Apportionment of input tax claims) and footnotes 11 to 13 to clarify the input tax attribution and apportionment rules to be applied under the multi-tiered structure
- Insertion of Appendix 4 (Input tax attribution rules for the purpose of GST concession).
The second edition was published on 31 March 2015.
For further details, please refer to the IRAS’s website.
Source: This article was extracted from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) website. Visit http://www.iras.gov.sg for more information.