When you buy goods in Singapore, you are required to pay GST on your purchases if the retailer is registered for GST.
The Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) allows you to claim a refund of the GST that you paid on goods purchased from the participating retailers if they are brought out of Singapore via Changi International Airport or Seletar Airport, subject to the criteria and conditions of the scheme.
Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme
The Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS) has fully replaced the paper refund form system from 19 August 2012. With eTRS, tourists no longer need to fill up different refund forms issued by the retailers at each retail shop. The current eligibility conditions for tourist refund shall still apply under eTRS.
- Purchases made from retailers on eTRS
You should choose one credit/debit card to be used as an eTRS Token for linking up all your purchases entitled for refund. With your eTRS Token, you will be able to retrieve all your purchases at one go when applying for your GST refund claims using the eTRS self-help kiosk at the airport. Payment can be made with any other credit/debit card or cash.
The retailer will issue an eTRS Ticket to you at the point of purchase. If you do not use a credit/debit card as an eTRS Token, you can still use the Tickets to apply for your refund claims at the airport.
Please collect your original receipt/invoice and eTRS Ticket before leaving the shop.
WHICH RETAILERS OPERATE ?
eTRS is a voluntary scheme. Hence, not all retailers in Singapore operate the scheme. GST-registered retailers may choose to operate the scheme on their own or engage the service of a Central Refund Agency. The retailers will usually display "Tax Free Shopping", "Premier Tax Free" or "Tax Refund" logos. Currently, there are 2 Central Refund Agencies in Singapore:
Retailers who operate the scheme on their own usually display signs that indicate "Tax Refund" in their shops. However, it is best that you check with the retailers if they are operating the scheme.
HOW MUCH REFUND CAN I RECEIVE?
The actual amount refunded may be lesser than the GST you have paid as a handling fee for the refund service will be deducted by the retailer/Central Refund Agency/operator of Central Refund Counter. Details of the charges will be reflected in the refund cheques or eTRS Tickets issued to the tourists.
HOW DO I OBTAIN MY REFUND?
For check-in items: Prior to checking-in the goods, please proceed to the eTRS self-help kiosk at the Departure Check-in Hall (before Departure Immigration) to apply for GST Refund
For hand-carry items: Please proceed to the eTRS self-help kiosk at Departure Transit Lounge (after Departure Immigration) to apply for GST Refund
It is important for you to arrive at the airport early to allow sufficient time for your GST refund to be processed and goods to be inspected, if necessary. You are required to seek endorsement at the Customs Inspection Counter in the terminal where you will be checking in your goods or where your flight will be departing from. You must also depart with the goods on a flight within 12 hours after obtaining approval of your GST refund.
- Purchases with eTRS Tickets
Proceed to the eTRS self-help kiosk to apply for your GST refund. At the kiosk, you will be asked to:
- Swipe your passport;
- Declare your eligibility and acceptance of the TRS conditions;
- Swipe your Token or scan the barcode of the Ticket to retrieve and verify your purchase details which you wish to claim a refund on;
- Select your refund options. For credit card refund, the approved refund amount will be credited to the specified credit card. For cash refund, you can proceed to the Central Refund Counter (CRC) in the Departure Transit Lounge (after Departure Immigration) to collect your cash.
Once you have completed the steps above, you will receive a Notification Slip showing the status of your refund issued by the kiosk. If "Not Approved" is indicated on the Slip, please proceed to the Customs Inspection Counter for the physical inspection of the goods. Please present the goods, together with the original invoice or receipt, your boarding pass or confirmed air ticket, eTRS Tickets and Notification Slip to the Customs Inspection Counter for endorsement.
For more details on the conditions and refund procedures, please visit the following websites:
- Tourist Refund Scheme (Singapore Customs)
- Guide for Visitors on Tourist Refund Scheme (86KB)
- Tourist Tax Refund Guide (2.75MB)