Yes, as a tourist when you purchase commodities from a retailer who takes part in eTRS (electronic Tourist Refund Scheme), you will be able to make a claim through which the GST you paid (via purchases made in Singapore) will be refunded to you.
The actual refund amount you receive in comparison to the GST you paid on your purchase will be lower. This is because a deduction will be applicable in the form of handling charges in order to process your request for a refund. This fee will be levied by the Central Refund Agency/Operator/Retailer of Central Refund Counter. The fee details will be displayed on the eTRS ticket that is issued to you.
In order to claim for a GST refund, you should be a tourist. You need to comply with the following conditions to be considered as a tourist:
To get tourist refund you need to meet the following conditions:
Any commodity on which GST charges are applicable will qualify for a refund (standard-rated goods). Under TRS (Tourist Refund Scheme), services will not qualify for GST refund.
A few exclusions include:
Since TRS is a scheme that is voluntary in nature, it is not necessary that every retailer in Singapore employs this scheme. A GST-registered retailer can choose to either run this scheme individually or seek assistance from Central Refund Agencies. Presently, in Singapore there are three Central Refund Agencies:
|Global Tax Free Pte Ltd||If a retailer is associated with this agency, you can find the sign "Global Tax Free" displayed in their shop.|
|Tourego Pte Ltd||When a retailer is affiliated with Tourego Pte Ltd, the shop will have a sign "Tourego" displayed in their shop. Tourego Pte Ltd provides only digital eTRS tickets.|
|Global Blue Singapore Pte Ltd||In case a retailer is integrated with this Central Refund Agency, you can look out for a sign that displays "Global Blue" in their shop.|
The Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme will help you avoid the hassle of filling various refund forms that are issued by different retailers at each specific retail shop in order to claim your GST refund. When you buy goods from a retailer who has employed this scheme, all you need to do is display your passport (in person) to the retailer as a proof to show that you’re eligible for a refund under the Tourist Refund Scheme. You will need to display your actual passport. A photocopy or an image of your passport will not be accepted.
When you make a purchase from a retailer who is on eTRS, it is recommended that you use a single debit or a credit card as your eTRS token in order to link all your purchases that qualify you for a refund. When you use only one credit or debit card as your eTRS token, it will help you recover all purchases made by you in a single go when you apply for your GST refund claim at the airport via any eTRS self-help kiosk.
Note: You can also choose to pay for your purchase via cash or any other debit or credit card.
You will be given an eTRS ticket by your retailer when you make a purchase. You can apply for your GST refund when you’re departing by using either your debit or credit card as an eTRS token or an eTRS ticket (digital/paper).
Note: Always make sure to collect the actual invoice/receipt and an eTRS ticket (digital or paper) before you exit from the retailer’s shop.
When you have commodities or goods that are bulky in nature that needs to be checked-in, you will need to claim your GST refund at the allocated area for GST refund in the Check-in Hall (departure) prior to checking-in the goods you’ve purchased.
Any commodity which is of high value or that needs to be hand-carried, you need to make your GST refund claim in the Departure Transit Lounge (post Departure Immigration).
Make sure you reach the airport earlier so that there is enough time to process your GST refund claim and also for the inspection of your goods.
You need to follow the steps given below in order to raise a GST refund claim via a self-help kiosk:
You’ll be issued with a notification slip by the self-help kiosk. You can check your refund status by following the instructions that is mentioned on the notification slip. In case, your goods need to be inspected physically, you’ll need to provide the following at the Customs Inspection counter:
IRAS is given the authority by the eTRS system to identify any kind of an inappropriate claim that has been made. IRAS will take a stringent action against foreigners who make false claims intentionally with an aim to receive the GST refund under TRS or with an intention to misuse the scheme.
Before the approval of a GST refund claim, goods might be subjected to physical inspection by Singapore Customs officers.
With the help of the enforcement powers, IRAS might take hold of commodities and foreigners who try to cheat by submitting false GST refund claims will be taken into custody.
Against such kind of miscreants, vigorous enforcement measures will be undertaken, sometimes it may involve prosecution as well. In case an offender is convicted, he or she:
With the Tourist Refund Scheme or TRS, tourists can not only have a seamless shopping experience, but also a hassle-free experience of getting the refund on GST purchases.