A business which has registered for GST might provide a GST refund to a tourist by employing the Central Refund Agency services or by being a sole retailer. In either of the scenarios, a GST-registered business will have to refund the GST charges to a tourist as per eTRS (electronic Tourist Refund Scheme).
This scheme brings together several Central Refund Agencies & retailers under one platform. With this scheme, tourists will enjoy a hassle-free shopping experience in Singapore. They can also seek for GST refunds in a seamless way before they exit Singapore.
With this scheme, when tourists intend to make a GST refund claim with respect to their purchases, they need not fill several refund forms which are issued by different participating retail outlets. They just have to show their passport personally and provide evidence that they qualify for TRS while making their purchase via a retailer who is on eTRS. An image or photocopy of the passport will not be accepted.
TRS is a scheme which is voluntary by nature. You can operate this scheme either by being a sole retailer or by employing services of a Central Refund Agency.
|Using Central Refund Agencies services||Operating as an independent retailer|
|A facility to issue or print an eTRS ticket will be provided to you by a Central Refund Agency.||When you intend to operate eTRS as a sole retailer, you need to make sure that a system which is arranged for eTRS is compliant with certain technical specifications. The system should also be capable to transmit data to a CCH (Central Clearing House).|
|Filing a return for GST|
|You will have to levy GST charges to a tourist just like how you levy GST charges on other kinds of sales. The worth of sales & GST charges relating to it need to be reported in Box 1 (complete worth of supplies which are standard-rated). You will need to report output tax due in Box 6 of your return for GST.||You’ll be liable to levy GST charges to a tourist like how you levy charges on other types of sales. The sales worth & GST charges corresponding to it must be reported via Box 6 (meant for output tax due) & Box 1 (overall worth of standard-rated supplies) of your return for GST.|
|eTRS ticket issuance|
|You must follow certain steps when you issue an eTRS ticket to a tourist (steps are listed in the following paragraph).||You need to adhere to specific steps while issuing eTRS tickets to tourists (steps are mentioned in the next paragraph).|
|Refund to a customer|
|The GST charges will be refunded by a Central Refund Agency to your customer.||You should refund the GST charges to your client (includes a refund processed via an authorised central refund counter operator) mandatorily in 3 months from the date on which a tourist’s application was approved.|
|Making a GST refund claim|
|Since GST refunds are initiated by a Central Refund Agency to a customer, you cannot make any GST refund claim from IRAS. You will not be allowed to add the refund details in Box 7 (refunds & input tax claimed) & Box 10 (complete worth of a tourist GST refund claimed) on your return for GST.||Once you’ve made the GST refund payment to your customer, you can submit a GST refund claim to IRAS by reporting the GST amount you refunded via Box 7 (refunds/input tax claimed) & Box 10 (entire worth of a tourist GST refund claimed) on your return for GST in relation to the concerned accounting period during which a refund was initiated.|
|Global Blue Singapore Pte Ltd||Tourego Pte Ltd||Global Tax Free Pte Ltd|
|A retailer who is associated with this particular agency will exhibit a "Global Blue" sign in his/her their shop.||A retailer who is associated with this specific agency will showcase a "Tourego" sign in his/her shop. This particular agency is known for issuing only digitised eTRS Tickets.||A retailer who is associated with this agency will have a "Global Tax Free" sign displayed in his/her shop.|
The GST refund amount tourists will receive will be lower than the actual GST charges they incurred on their purchase. This is because a handling fee deduction is applicable to the service which was rendered to them with respect to their GST refund claim process. This handling fee will be levied by the Central Refund Agency/retailer/operator of the Central Refund Counter. The information with respect to charges levied to them will be displayed on their eTRS ticket.
When a tourist requests for a refund on GST charges they have incurred via their purchases, you should check the tourist’s passport and also verify if they qualify for GST refund as per the TRS. You’re not permitted to accept either an image or a photocopy of a tourist’s passport. For a student pass holder, you will need to check if the purchases were initiated in the previous 4 months starting from the date on which the student pass is due for expiry.
You must verify if the tourist is exiting Singapore via air in less than 2 months starting from the date on which the purchase was made.
In the event a tourist is eligible for a GST refund, you’ll be responsible for explaining the entire GST claim process to a tourist based on eTRS.
You will also have to intimate the tourist regarding the handling charges you might levy on them with respect to the refund service you will provide them (if applicable).
You need to inform tourists to use only a single debit/credit card as an eTRS token in order to link the purchases made by them at various participating retail outlets under eTRS.
When a single debit or a credit card is utilised as an eTRS Token, a tourist can retrieve purchases they made at a single go when they apply for a GST refund through an eTRS self-help kiosk placed at the airport. Payment mode can be cash/credit card/debit card.
The eTRS ticket (digital or paper) has to be issued to a tourist who qualifies for a GST refund at the time of sale. In case a tourist chooses not to use a debit/credit card as their eTRS token, they can choose to use their eTRS ticket in order to submit their GST refund claim at any self-help kiosk which is located at the airport.
To qualify for a GST refund, a customer should be a tourist. A customer will be treated as a tourist when the following conditions are met:
All standard-rated commodities on which GST charges are levied will qualify for a refund excluding:
Under this scheme, services do not qualify for a GST refund.
This scheme is available to a tourist who brings purchases outside Singapore in less than 2 months from the purchase date through:
When you intend to claim for your GST refund via an eTRS self-help kiosk, you will have to perform the following steps:You will need to present the following documents:
A notification slip will be dispensed via a kiosk. You will need to verify your refund status as well as check the instructions which are mentioned on this slip. If the commodities need to be inspected physically, you will need to present the following items at the Customs Inspection counter:
IRAS will take serious action against foreigners who make incorrect declarations intentionally with an aim to either get a GST refund under TRS or to misuse the scheme.
Commodities might be subjected to physical inspection by the officers at Singapore Customs before the approval of your GST refund claim.
With the help of the enforcement powers, IRAS might seize the commodities and arrest a foreigner who tries to make a fraudulent GST refund claim.
IRAS will work closely with the Singapore Customs officials to identify such criminal groups who aim to deceive GST.
Fierce enforcement measures will be imposed on offenders (inclusive of prosecution). In the event of an offender being convicted, he/she: