Many tourists travel to Singapore every year. When they leave, many of these tourists would like to claim a GST refund, but do not know how to do so. This guide will help those who want to claim a refund on GST money spent in Singapore.
Singapore is among the countries that imposes a Goods and Services Tax (GST). GST is a broad-based value added tax. It is imposed on the importation of goods as well as the vast majority of supplies of goods and services in Singapore. Only sales and leases of residential properties, most financial services, and importation and local supply of investment precious metals are exempt from GST. Singapore’s current GST rate is 7%, but this figure will rise to 9% at some time between 2021 and 2025.
Many tourists in Singapore would like to claim a refund on GST money spent while they were in the country. Fortunately for these tourists, the Singaporean tax authorities have provided a method for them to do so.
Steps to Claiming the Refund
To claim a GST refund, start by going to an airport. If you intend to check your purchases in, you are required to apply for the GST refund before checking your luggage in. If you check in your purchases, the purchases are no longer eligible for a refund. If you intend to hand-carry your purchases, apply for the refund at an Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS) self-help kiosk.
Once at the kiosk, use your passport and credit or debit card to call up details of all your purchases. You may also scan your eTRS tickets individually to retrieve your purchase details. After the purchase details have been called up, follow the instructions on the eTRS kiosk to apply for the GST refund. Depending on which airport you are in, you will be asked to choose whether you want your refund in cash, by bank cheque, or to your credit card. Once done, you will receive a Notification Slip. You may be required to proceed to the Customs Inspection Counter, where customs officers may request a view of your purchases for verification purposes.
You may now collect your refund. If you wish to receive your refund in cash, you may collect the refund at the Central Refund Counter in the Departure Transit Lounge. Present your Notification Slip to collect your cash. If your refund is to be credited to your credit card, you only have to complete your claims at the eTRS kiosk. The money will be credited to your credit card within 10 days. If you have chosen to receive your refund via bank cheque, write your name and mailing address on the Notification Slip and put the slip into the cheque refund box. You will receive the bank cheque via mail in 14 days’ time.
It must be noted, however, that if you do not fulfill all the eligibility criteria, you may not claim a GST refund. These criteria include, but are not limited to, the following: you must not be a citizen or permanent resident of Singapore, you must be leaving Singapore by air, you must have spent at least a total of S$100 covering up to three receipts from participating shops, and you must have spent 365 days or less in Singapore during the 24-month period immediately preceding the date of purchase.