Tourist can claim a refund of “Goods and Services Tax” (GST), which is 7%, on goods purchased in Singapore. This refund of 7% GST is known as Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) or Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS). The process for claiming GST is very simple and is listed below.
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How to claim GST Refund under Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme?
Following are the simple steps for claiming GST money back, under the Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS).
STEP 1] eTRS TICKET + INVOICE: On making a purchase, ask for 2 things – an “eTRS Ticket”, and an original invoice/receipt for purchase of good. Payment can be made by credit card, debit card or cash. Remember to carry your passport.
STEP 2] VISIT eTRSSELF HELP KIOSK: GST Refund can be claimed at Changi Airport, Seletar Airport, at Harbourfront Centre (International Passenger Terminal), and the Marina Bay Cruise Centre at Marina South. Before checking in purchased product, go to the eTRS Self Help kiosk to claim GST.
STEP 3] PROCESS AT eTRS SELF HELP KIOSK: At the eTRS self-help kiosk follow the instructions shown on the screen. Details of all purchases, eligible for GST refund, can be retrieved either by using the credit card or debit card on which goods were purchased OR by scanning the “eTRS Ticket” from Step 1. Follow instructions on the kiosk. In the end the kiosk print outs a “Notification Slip”. Check the top of the “Notification Slip”; if it says “APPROVED”, GST Refund has been accepted; but if it says “NOT APPROVED”, the “Notification Slip” will ask the tourist to visit the Customs Inspection Counter for more verification, with goods, travel documents, passport, purchase invoice(s) and eTRS ticket(s).
STEP 4] REFUND COLLECTION: GST Refund can either be credited to your credit card or paid in cash or by bank cheque (check). In case you choose the credit card option, there is nothing further to be done. GST amount is usually credited in 10 working days. In case of the cash option, visit the “Central Refund Counter” (CRC), which is in the Departure Transit Lounge, after the Departure Immigration. GST Refund by cash option is only available at Changi Airport. For refund by cheque, particulars about name, mailing address, etc needs to be filled in the “Notification Slip” and drop it in the cheque refund box. Cheques are usually mailed in 14 days.
Please view this video on “eTRS – How to Guide”.
- It is advisable for tourist/foreigners to make purchases on only one credit card or debit card. This will simplify the refund process by making it easier to retrieve purchase and GST information (please see Step 3 above).
- At Changi Airport, the eTRS self-help kiosk is located at the Departure Check-in Hall, which is before the Departure Immigration counters.
- At Singapore Cruise Centre, the eTRS self-help kiosk is located at Level 1 of the cruise terminal.
- Cash refund is only available at Singapore’s Changi Airport. At other exit points, GST refund is credited either to the tourist’s Credit Card or a Bank Cheque/Check is issued.
- If you plan to check-in your goods, make sure that you apply for GST refund at the eTRS self-help kiosk BEFORE check-in/boarding pass is done. You will NOT GET YOUR GST REFUND if item is checked in first. Those planning to take their goods in their hand baggage can complete eTRS formalities anytime (before or after check-in and getting boarding card). Sometimes Singapore Customs may want to see the product for which GST has been claimed, along with its original invoice, your passport and boarding pass.
- A small handling fee is deducted at the time of GST refund. For cash refund of over SGD 7,500, an additional handling fee of SGD 100 is deducted.
- Not all retailers in Singapore participate in the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS).
Who is eligible to claim money under Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS)?
Following are the eligibility criteria and rules for refund of GST under Singapore’s Tourist Refund Scheme:
- Only TOURIST, above the age of 16, can claim “Goods and Services Tax” (GST) refund under Singapore’s Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS).
- Singapore residents or permanent resident cannot claim GST refund.
- To claim GST refund, tourist must make purchases of at least SGD 100 (including GST). Tourists have the flexibility to make 3 same day purchases from retailers having the same GST registration number.
- Those claiming GST refund must depart Singapore within 2 months from the date of purchase.
- Once the GST refund formalities have been completed at the departure point (airport or cruise terminal), tourist must depart Singapore with goods within 12 hours.
- Tourist departing by international cruise must use their cruise itinerary to prove that they will not return to Singapore via the same voyage on the same ship. They also need to prove that they will not return to Singapore within 48 hours.
- Tourist claiming refund should have spent less than 366 day in Singapore in the last 24 months before date of purchase.
- Person claiming GST refund should not have been employed in Singapore in the past 6 months before the date of purchase.
- Aircraft or ship crew departing Singapore cannot claim GST refund.
- Student pass holders should have purchased the goods at least 4 months before the expiry of their Singapore student pass. Students will also have to prove that they will remain outside Singapore for a minimum period of 12 months.
- eTRS is applicable for only physical goods purchased by tourist in Singapore.
What goods and services are not eligible for refund in eTRS?
- SERVICES are not eligible for GST refund under Singapore’s Tourist Refund Scheme.
- Goods exported for business or commercial purposes are not eligible for GST refund.
- Goods wholly or partly consumed in Singapore are not eligible for GST refund.
- Goods exported by freight are not eligible for GST refund.
- Accommodation Hotel, boarding house, hostel, etc is not eligible for GST refund; nor is food, drinks, etc.
For further information call 1800 356 8633, or visit www.iras.gov.sg (Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore’s website).
This is a link to a helpful Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Singapore’s Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS).
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Changi T2 image by Terence Ong. Image taken from Wikimedia Commons. Image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Image has been altered.