Background on eTRS

eTRS, which connects multiple Central Refund Agencies and retailers on a single platform, offers tourists a seamless and hassle-free experience when they shop in Singapore and seek refunds for the GST paid before leaving Singapore.

 

Qualifying as a Tourist

To be eligible for GST refund, you must be a tourist . You have to meet the following criteria:

  1. You are 16 years of age or above on the date of the purchase;
  2. You are not a citizen or a permanent resident of Singapore;
  3. You are not a member of the crew of an aircraft on which you are departing Singapore; and
  4. 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;

Specified Person refers to 
 
A. an individual who has in force -  
 
(i) any work pass issued by the Ministry of Manpower (i.e. Work Permit, Training Work Permit, S Pass, Employment Pass, Training Employment Pass, Personalised Employment Pass, EntrePass, Work Holiday Pass, Miscellaneous Work Pass and Letter of Consent);
(ii) a Dependent's Pass;
(iii) a Long Term Visit Pass or Long Term Visit Pass Plus; or
(iv) a Student's Pass; or

B. any of the following individual who has in force an Identification Card issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Singapore and who is -

(i) a diplomat, consular officer, an administration, technical or service staff or other staff appointed to or employed in any foreign Embassy, High Commission or Consulate in Singapore;
(ii) a staff appointed to or employed in an International Organisation, Representative Office or Trade Office in Singapore; or 
(iii) a spouse or dependent child of any individual mentioned in B(i) and B(ii) above.

IRAS takes a serious view of foreigners who wilfully make false declarations to seek GST refunds under the Tourist Refund Scheme or abuse the scheme.

Qualifying for the GST Refund

You may qualify for tourist refund if the following conditions are satisfied:

  1. Purchase the goods and request the retailer to capture your information for tourist refund;
  2. Spend at least SGD100 (including GST). You may accumulate up to 3 same-day invoices/receipts from retailers bearing the same GST registration number and shop name to meet this minimum purchase amount;
  3. Present original passport in person to the retailer to capture your passport information digitally at the time of purchase. Photocopies and images of your passport are not acceptable;
  4. Apply for your GST refund at the eTRS self-help kiosk at the airports;  
  5. Depart with the goods within 2 months from the date of purchase either via:
    1. Changi International Airport Departure Hall; or
    2. Seletar Airport Passenger Terminal;
    1. Depart with the goods within 12 hours after obtaining approval of your GST refund; and
    2. Claim the refund from the approved central refund counter operator within 2 months from the date of approval of the application.

    Goods that Qualify for GST Refund

    All goods on which GST is charged ("standard-rated goods") are eligible for refund except :

    1. Goods wholly or partly consumed in Singapore;
    2. Goods exported for business or commercial purposes;
    3. Goods that will be exported by freight; and
    4. Accommodation in a hotel, hostel, boarding house, or similar establishments

    Services are not eligible for GST refund under the Tourist Refund Scheme.

    Retailers Operating TRS

    The Tourist Refund Scheme is a voluntary scheme - not all retailers in Singapore operate the scheme .

    GST-registered retailers may choose to operate the scheme on their own or engage the services of Central Refund Agencies.

    Currently, there are 3 Central Refund Agencies in Singapore:

    1. Global Blue Singapore Pte Ltd



      Retailers affiliated with this agency display "Global Blue" sign in their shops.
      Website: http://www.globalblue.com/

    2. Global Tax Free Pte Ltd

      globaltaxfree (jpg)

      Retailers affiliated with this agency display "Global Tax Free" sign in their shops.
      Website: http://www.global-taxfree.com.sg/

    3. Tourego Pte Ltd

      Tourego logo compressed

      Retailers affiliated with this agency display "Tourego" sign in their shops. 
      Website: http://www.tourego.com/

    Amount of GST Refunded under TRS

    The actual amount refunded to you will be less than the GST you have paid on your purchases due to the deduction of a handling fee for the refund service charged by the Retailer/Central Refund Agency/operator of Central Refund Counter.

    The details of your transactions can be verified by registering and logging into the eTRS e-Services at https://touristrefund.sg or via the "eTRS" application downloadable from Google Play or Apple App Store. 

    Availability of TRS at Points of Departure

    TRS is available to tourists bringing purchases out of Singapore within two months from the date of purchase via:

    1. Changi International Airport; and/or
    2. Seletar Airport. 

    Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS)

    When making purchases from retailers who are on eTRS, you must show your passport in person to the retailers to prove your eligibility under the TRS. Photocopies or images of passports are not acceptable.

    Issue of eTRS transaction

    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.

    Ensure that you are issued with an original receipt/invoice and eTRS transaction before leaving the shop.

    For more details on the conditions and refund procedures, please refer to GST Guide For Visitors on Tourist Refund Scheme (Refund claims made on or after 4 Apr 2019) (511KB).

    Claiming GST Refunds under TRS when Departing

    Claiming GST Refunds under TRS when Departing

    Arrive at the airports early to allow sufficient time for the processing of your GST refund and inspection of goods. 

    Goods for Checking-In

    If you have bulky goods or goods to be checked-in, please apply for your GST refund at the designated GST refund area in the Departure Check-in Hall before you check-in your purchases.

    Goods for Hand-Carrying

    For high value goods or goods that can be hand-carried, please apply for your GST refund in the Departure Transit Lounge (after Departure Immigration).

    Self-Help Kiosks for all Other Goods

    To claim, proceed to the eTRS self-help kiosk to apply for your GST refund. At the kiosk, you will be asked to:  

    1. Scan Your Passport
      1. Make Declarations
        1. Declare your eligibility for TRS; and
        2. Indicate if you accept the TRS conditions.
      2. Verify Your Purchases

        Confirm the purchases which you are bringing out of Singapore, and are therefore eligible for claim.

      3. Choose Your Refund Method

        Changi International Airport:

        1. credit card refund;
        2. Alipay refund; or
        3. cash refund.

        Seletar Airport: 

        1. credit card refund; 
        2. Alipay refund; or
        3. bank cheque.
      4. Check Outcome Of Your Refund Request 

        Read carefully the outcome of your refund request shown on the kiosk.

        If physical inspection of your goods is required, please present to the Customs Inspection counter:

        1. your purchases/goods;
        2. original invoices/receipts; and
        3. boarding pass/confirmed air ticket.
      5. Receive Your Refund
        1. For credit card refund, the approved refund amount will be credited to the specified credit card within 10 days.
        2. For refund via Alipay, the refund will be paid immediately into the specified Alipay account.
        3. For cash refund at Changi International Airport, please proceed to the GST Cash Refund counter in the Departure Transit Lounge (after Departure Immigration) with your passport.
        4. For bank cheques at Seletar Airport, you will be required to complete your particulars such as payee name and mailing address on the slip printed out from the kiosk. Once the slip is dropped into the designated cheque refund box provided, the bank cheque will be mailed to you 14 days from the date of deposit of the slip.

      Enforcement on Fraudulent TRS Claims

      The eTRS system allows IRAS to detect any unusual claim promptly.

      IRAS takes a serious view of foreigners who wilfully make false declarations to seek GST refunds under the tourist refund scheme or abuse the scheme.

      Physical Inspection of Goods

      As a control measure, physical inspection of the goods may be carried out by Singapore Customs officers before a GST refund claim is approved.

      Enforcement Powers

      IRAS may exercise its enforcement powers to seize the goods and arrest the foreigners who attempt to fraudulently claim GST refunds.

      IRAS works closely with Singapore Customs to uncover such criminal syndicates that attempt to defraud GST.

      Strong enforcement measures, including prosecution, will be taken against such offenders. When convicted, offenders:

      1. May be liable to pay a penalty of three times the amount of tax refunded; and
      2. May be fined of up to $10,000 and/or jailed up to seven years.

      See past prosecution cases where offenders were convicted for their offence.

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