How to calculate service charge and GST from your total bill
Forget online GST and service charge calculators. All you need to remember is this formula: x 1.188.
To calculate the price of
- GST (8%) only: Price x 1.08
- Service charge (10%) only: Price x 1.10
- GST (8%) and service charge (10%): Price x 1.188
What is GST and service charge in Singapore?
When you buy something in Singapore, you almost always pay more than the stated price.
That's all thanks to GST and service charge, which is 7% and 10% of the item's retail price, respectively, payable when you get handed the bill at most restaurants and hotels.
At some places, GST may already be factored into the price on the menu, while others may choose to add a “++” at the back of the price to signify these charges.
Singapore will raise its GST to 8% in 2023, and once more to 9% in 2024.
Common mistakes made by Singaporeans when calculating GST and service charge
Singaporeans often multiply their meals by 1.18 (118%), which is wrong. Yes, the difference may be small compared to multiplying by x1.188, but these differences can add up to a significant amount over the years.
The reason why you have to multiply it by x1.188? As the service charge is taxable, you will have to add the 10% service charge to your item first before it is subject to 8% GST.
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Hacks on how to save on GST and service charge
If you live in Singapore, you should know by now that GST and service charges after meals can cost quite a pretty penny. It is often an unpleasant surprise when you spend only S$40, and the GST and service charge comes up to an additional S$7.52 — that’s a whole meal with drinks at a hawker centre (possibly with change)!
If you’re looking to feast on a budget, check out your neighbourhood kopitiams, AKA coffee shops, or hawker centres, as their prices are generally stated as nett.
If you want to go to a restaurant, you can also choose to dine at places that are free of GST and service charges such as Peperoni Pizzeria and Nam Nam Noodle Bar.
Additionally, look out for signs at restaurants or hotels with the word “nett” after their price.
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