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 or 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.
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 and the e-Pass* in person to the retailers to prove your eligibility under the eTRS. Photocopies or images of passports or e-Pass 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.
*The e-Pass will be issued by ICA and can be retrieved from your email."
How to get your Tax Refund
There are ways to apply for your GST refunds.
1) Via the Electronic Tourist Refund (eTRS) self-help kiosks at the airport
Apply for your GST refund using the eTRS self-help kiosks at Changi Airport Departure Check-in Hall (before departure immigration)1 and Departure Transit Lounge (after departure immigration)2; and at Seletar Airport Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) duty office.
Please arrive at the airport early to allow sufficient time to process your GST refund and for the inspection of goods (if required).
Scan your passport at the kiosk to retrieve details of all your purchases. Follow the instructions on the eTRS self-help kiosk thereafter to apply for your GST refund.
When you are done, read carefully the outcome of your refund request shown on the kiosk to confirm if you would need to go to the Customs Inspection counter to have your purchases verified.
2) Via Global Blue or Tourego Mobile Applications (App)
For ease of tax refund and to keep track of your purchases, we recommend you download the new eTRS mobile applications provided by Global Blue or Tourego in advance before or when you arrive in Singapore.
A) Global Blue: Global Blue now comes with Mobile Validation coupled with a Facial Recognition Authentication feature. You can independently manage the final step of Customs validation from the palm of your hand. Download the “SHOP TAX FREE” mobile app via the App Store, Google Play or the Global Blue website. Follow the instructions shown in the app thereafter to complete the mobile tax refund process.
B) Tourego: Download the “Tourego–Full Mobile Tax Refund” app via the App Store, Google Play, Huawei Store or from tourego.com. Present your unique QR-code in Tourego App to the cashier for tax refund during payment. Have your tax refund status tracked while you are on the go.
Important Note: In order for the tax refund to work via mobile app, please ensure that you have turned on your location service and notification alert on your mobile phone; and be within 15m radius of the eTRS Self Help kiosks at the airport.
When you are done, read carefully the outcome of your refund request shown on the mobile app to confirm if you would need to go to the Customs Inspection counter to have your purchases verified.
1 If you intend to check in your luggage with the goods purchased in Singapore, please perform the tax refund at the Departure Check-in Hall (before departure immigration).
2 If you intend to hand carry your goods purchased in Singapore, you may perform the tax refund within the Departure Transit area (after departure immigration) at the airport.
Modes of Refund
For cash refund, please head to the Central Refund Counter in the Departure Transit Lounge (after departure immigration) with your passport. Cash refund is not available if you are departing from Seletar Airport.
For credit card, you may proceed for boarding after completing your claims at the eTRS kiosk. The money will be credited to your specified credit card within ten days upon successful claim submission.
For refund to be credited into your Alipay account (applicable 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. The money will be credited immediately into your Alipay account upon successful transaction.
For refund by bank cheque, 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.
- Due to handling fees, the actual amount refunded will be less than the total GST amount paid for. The details of the 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.
- Alternatively, you can also access the details via the “Global Blue SHOP TAX FREE” mobile app or “Tourego–Full Mobile Tax Refund” app via the App Store, Google Play or their respective website.
- 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 refund counter operator within two months from date of approval of the application.
3) Via Global Blue Downtown Refund (In-Store)
Global Blue now offers new ways to receive your refund in-store, giving you more to spend during your trip. Whilst in-store, choose for your refund to be paid to your credit card, saving you time at the airport.
How does it work?
1. Request a Downtown Refund (In-Store)
When requesting a tax refund, ask the Shop Assistant for the ‘Downtown Refund (In-Store)’ service and provide your credit card. Refunds will be paid within 5 business days to credit cards. Purchases up to $25,000 are eligible for in-store refunds. For transactions over this value, only the standard refund is available.
When requested, give the Shop Assistant your email address or mobile number, and Global Blue will send you a secure link where you can track the status of your refunds and the required next step to complete the process, with all your purchases for your current trip handily grouped together.
2. Validation by Singapore Customs
Before leaving Singapore, you MUST proceed to the eTRS self-help kiosk to validate your tax free transactions. When departing from Changi Airport, you have the option to complete the Customs validation via the Mobile Validation service found in the Global Blue SHOP TAX FREE mobile application. Follow the instructions shown on the respective platforms to complete the validation process.
*For credit card refund, the refund amount will be credited to your nominated credit card within 5 business days
- If Global Blue does not receive your validated tax free transaction(s) within 21 days of the date of issuance (15 days for UnionPay), the refund amount will be debited from your account.
- The refund will be repaid if the Tax Free transaction(s) are subsequently validated within 2 months from the date of purchase.
- The cardholder or account holder to whom the refund is to be paid must be the same person who purchased the goods
- *Global Blue pays the refund amount within 5 business days, but in some cases, there may be a delay from your card scheme or issuer in processing the transaction on to your account.
Did you know?
For a fuss-free tax refund experience, do bring along your original passport and e-Pass while shopping. Most major retailers in shopping malls offer tax refunds but will require proof of purchases, as well as the shopper’s original passport and e-Pass as proof of identification.
eTRS self-help kiosks are located at:
Departure Check-in Hall (before departure immigration) and Departure Transit Lounge (after departure immigration) of Terminals 1, 2 and 3
Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) duty office