Shop tax free and hassle free. Here’s a guide on how to get a refund for Goods and Services Tax.
Eligibility for the Tourist Refund Scheme
As a tourist in Singapore, if you make any purchase of more than S$100 (including GST) at participating shops, you may claim a refund on the 7% Goods and Services Tax (GST) paid on your purchases. You are entitled up to 3 same-day receipts/invoices from shops bearing the same GST registration number and shop name to meet this minimum purchase amount of S$100. To know whether a shop is participating in the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS), look for a “Tax Free” shopping logo or sign displayed at the shop. You can also check with the retailer whether your purchases are eligible for GST refund.
Are you eligible for a GST refund? You must be a tourist and must meet the following criteria:
- You are not a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident;
- You are aged 16 and above at the time of purchase;
- You are not a crew member of the aircraft on which you are leaving Singapore by;
- You are leaving Singapore from Changi Airport or Seletar Airport. You will not be eligible for a GST refund if you are leaving by the Causeway of Sea;
- You must have made your purchases within two months from when you apply for a refund and
- You are not a Specified Person
i. on the date of the purchase;
ii. at any time within the period of 3 months immediately before the date of purchase; or
iii. on the date you submit your claim for a refund of the GST charged on your purchases at the airport;
Purchases that are not eligible for a GST refund include:
- Goods which you have already used or consumed in Singapore.
- Goods that you are exporting for commercial purposes.
- Goods that will be exported by freight.
- Accommodation in a hotel or hostel, and services such as car rental and tour charges.
For more information on criteria of a Specified Person, eligibility and conditions of the scheme, please click here.
Where to get your refund:
Apply for your GST refund using the Electronic Tourist Refund self-help kiosks (eTRS kiosks) found at Changi Airport Departure Check-in Hall (before departure immigration) and Departure Transit Lounge (after departure immigration); and at Seletar Airport Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) duty office.
How the Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS) works
The Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS) was introduced to allow you to apply for your GST refunds electronically and to replace the use of paper refund forms. This offers you an easier way to get your refund because you no longer have to fill up different refund forms issued by different shops.
When making purchases from retailers who are on eTRS, you must show your passport in person to the retailers to prove your eligibility under the TRS. Photocopies or images of passports are not acceptable.
The retailer will issue an eTRS transaction to you at the point of purchase with your passport details. When you apply for your GST refund at the airport’s eTRS self-help kiosk with your passport, your transactions will be retrieved automatically.
How to claim your tax refund in three simple steps:
1. At The Airport
If you plan to check-in your purchases, you must apply for your GST refund before you check in your luggage. If you check in your purchases, you will not be entitled to a refund.
This is because Singapore Customs may want to inspect your purchases before processing the refund. You can apply for your refund at the eTRS self-help kiosk in the Departure Check-in Hall (before departure immigration) at the airport.
If you plan to hand-carry your purchases, proceed to the Departure Transit area (after departure immigration) at the airport with your purchases and apply for your refund at the eTRS self-help kiosk found there.
2. At The eTRS Self-Help Kiosk
At the kiosk, scan your passport. This will retrieve details of all your purchases.
After you have retrieved your purchase details, follow the instructions on the eTRS kiosk to apply for your GST refund. At this stage, you will be asked to choose if your refund is to be made to your credit card, Alipay account or in cash (for tourists departing from Changi Airport). If you are departing from Seletar Airport, you will be asked to choose your refund to be made by credit card, Alipay or bank cheque. When you are done, read carefully the outcome of your refund request shown on the kiosk. Please check whether you would need to go to the Customs Inspection counter, where customs officers may ask to see your purchases for further verification.
It is important for you to arrive at the airport early to allow sufficient time to process your GST refund and for the inspection of goods.
3. Collect Your Refund
If you are departing from Changi Airport, you can choose to receive your refund in cash, or have it credited to your credit card or Alipay account. If you are departing from Seletar Airport, you can choose to receive your refund by having it credited to your credit card or Alipay account, or bank cheque.
If you choose to have your refund in cash, head to the Central Refund Counter in the Departure Transit Lounge (after departure immigration) with your passport to collect your cash.
If you choose to have your refund credited into your Alipay account (for Chinese citizens only), select the Alipay refund option after performing your declaration at the eTRS self-help kiosks. Follow the instructions displayed on the eTRS kiosk and scan the QR code from your Alipay mobile app. Once you complete your claims at the eTRS kiosk, the money will be credited immediately into your Alipay account.
If you choose to have the refund credited to your credit card, you may proceed to boarding after completing your claims at the eTRS kiosk. The money will be credited to your specified credit card within ten days.
If you choose to have your refund by bank cheque, you need to write your name and mailing address on the slip printed from the eTRS kiosk and drop the slip into the cheque refund box. The bank cheque will be mailed out to you 14 days later.
Do note that the actual amount refunded to you will be less than what you paid in total GST because of handling fees. The details of your transactions can be verified by registering and logging into the eTRS e-Services or via the “eTRS” application downloadable from Google Play or Apple App Store.
Note: You must depart with your goods within two months from date of purchase and within 12 hours after obtaining approval of your GST refund. GST refund must be claimed from the approved central fund counter operator within two months from date of approval of the application.