Measures to Plug Revenue Leakage Gap in Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act 1993 in View of Recent Court Decision08 May 2023
Parliamentary Question by Mr Edward Chia Bing Hui:
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance whether the Ministry will consider new legislation to plug the revenue leakage gap in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act 1993, in view of the recent court decision in Herbalife International Singapore Pte Ltd vs Comptroller of Goods and Services Tax.
Parliamentary Reply by Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister for Finance Mr Lawrence Wong:
GST is a tax on domestic consumption of goods and services. It is chargeable on the value of supply, whether the consideration received is monetary or non-monetary. Where a discount is given on a supply, GST is generally chargeable on the discounted price. However, if the discount is granted on the condition that the customer meets certain obligations imposed, which results in tangible goods or services being provided to the seller, this is a form of non-monetary consideration paid for the supply. For example, a seller may supply goods to a buyer at a discount from the retail price in exchange for the buyer’s provision of advertising or marketing services to the seller. In such instances, GST should be charged on the full retail price.
The issue in the case of Herbalife International Singapore Pte Ltd vs Comptroller of Goods and Services Tax is whether GST should be charged on the discounted or full price of products sold by Herbalife International Singapore Pte Ltd (“Herbalife”) to its members.
The Comptroller of GST had argued that GST should be charged on the full price of the products, and the Goods and Services Tax Board of Review had earlier ruled in favour of the Comptroller.
The High Court subsequently ruled in favour of Herbalife upon its appeal, based on the specific facts of the case. IRAS is studying the judgement before deciding on its next steps.