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 not a Singapore citizen or permanent resident;
  2. You spend 365 days or less in Singapore in the last 24 months before the date of purchase;
  3. You have not been, at any time, employed in Singapore in the past 6 months before the date of purchase;
  4. You are not a member of the crew of the aircraft or ship on which you are departing from Singapore;
  5. You are 16 years of age or above at the time of purchase; and
  6. If you are a  student pass holder , you must have purchase the goods in the last 4 months before the expiry of your student pass. 
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. Spend at least SGD100 (including GST). You may accumulate up to 3 same-day invoices/receipts from retailers bearing the same GST registration number to meet this minimum purchase amount;
  2. Apply for your GST refund using the Token or eTRS Tickets at the eTRS self-help kiosk at the airport or Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore or International Passenger Terminal at Harbourfront Centre ("cruise terminal"). In the case of the cruise terminals, the claims must be made by 31 August 2017*;
     

    *If you are departing by the cruise terminals, TRS will only be available for purchases made before 1 July 2017. You have up to 2 months from the date of purchase to apply for the GST refunds. The eTRS facilities at the cruise terminals will be removed after 31 August 2017.

  3. Depart with the goods within 2 months from the date of purchase either via:
    1. Changi International Airport Departure Hall / Seletar Airport Passenger Terminal or
    2. Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore/ International Passenger Terminal at Harbourfront Centre;
    If you are departing on an international cruise (excluding cruises-to-nowhere, round-trip cruise and regional ferry) from the cruise terminal, GST refunds can only be claimed for purchases made before 1 July 2017. You must also:
    1. Declare that you are exiting Singapore and will not return via the same voyage on the same ship, using your cruise itinerary as documentary proof of your departure; and
    2. Commit that you will not be returning to Singapore within 48 hours.
  4. Depart with the goods within 12 hours after obtaining approval of your GST refund;
  5. Claim the refund from the approved central refund counter operator within 2 months from the date of approval of the application; and
  6. If you are a student pass holder, you must have fulfilled all the above criteria, purchased the goods in the last 4 months before student pass expiry date and intend to depart with the goods and remain outside Singapore for a minimum period of 12 months.

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
  2. globalblue

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

  3. Premier Tax Free & Fintrax Payments (Asia) Pte Ltd
  4. premiertaxfree

    Retailers affiliated with this agency display "Premier Tax Free" sign in their shops.
    Website: http://www.premiertaxfree.com/

  5. Global Tax Free Pte Ltd
  6. globaltaxfree

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

Amount of GST Refunded under TRS

The actual amount refunded to you will be lesser 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 charges will be shown on the eTRS Tickets issued to you.

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;
  2. Seletar Airport; and/or
  3. International cruises (excluding cruise-to-nowhere, round-trip cruise and regional ferry):
    1. that depart from the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore and the International Passenger Terminal at Harbourfront Centre;
    2. where the final destination of the ship's voyage must not be Singapore; and
    3. where the voyage involves the ship returning to Singapore on one or more occasions, tourists may only claim GST refund on the ship's last departure from Singapore in that voyage.

    Claims at the cruise terminals can only be for purchases made prior to 1 July 2017. The eTRS facilities at the cruise terminals will be removed after 31 August 2017.

Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS)

With eTRS, tourists who wish to seek a refund of GST for their purchases  are no longer required to fill up the different refund forms issued by the participating retailers at each retail shop.

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

Single Credit/Debit Card as eTRS Token

When making purchases from retailers who are on eTRS, you are strongly encouraged to choose one credit/debit card to be used as an eTRS Token for linking up all your purchases entitled for refund.

With a single credit/debit card as 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 or cruise terminal.

Payment can be made with any other credit/debit card or cash.

Issue of eTRS Ticket

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 point of departure.

Please collect your original receipt/invoice and eTRS Ticket before leaving the shop.

For more details on the conditions and refund procedures, please refer to Guide for Visitors on Tourist Refund Scheme (233KB) & Tourist Tax Refund Guide (2.74MB).

Claiming GST Refunds under TRS when Departing

Arrive at the airport and cruise terminal early to allow sufficient time for 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. Present Documents
    1. eTRS Token;
    2. Original invoices / receipts; and
    3. Passport and travel documents.
  2. Make Declarations
    1. Declare eligibility for TRS; and
    2. Accept TRS conditions.
  3. Verify Purchases
    1. Swipe eTRS Token credit/debit card; or
    2. Scan barcode of each eTRS ticket.
  4. Choose Refund Method
    Changi International Airport:
    1. cash refund; or
    2. credit card refund.

    Seletar Airport, Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore or International Passenger Terminal at Harbourfront Centre:

    1. credit card refund; or
    2. bank cheque.
  5. Collect Notification Slips
  6. Collect the Notification Slip issued by the kiosk. Please check the status of your refund and instructions printed on the notification slip.

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

    1. your purchases/goods;
    2. original invoices/receipts;
    3. eTRS Tickets; and
    4. boarding pass/confirmed air ticket/confirmation slip showing the cruise itinerary.
  7. Receive the Refund
    1. For credit card refund , the approved refund amount will be credited to the specified credit card within 10 days.
    2. For cash refund at Changi International Airport, you may proceed to the GST Cash Refund counter in the Departure Transit Lounge (after Departure Immigration) with the approved Notification Slip to collect your cash.
    3. For bank cheques , you have to complete your particulars such as payee name and mailing address on the approved Notification slip and drop the slip into the designated cheque refund box provided. The bank cheque will be mailed to you 14 days from the date of deposit of the approved notification slip into the designated box.

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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