Singapore Shopping: How to Claim GST Refund

by Linda
(Medan, Indonesia)

Dear Gabriel,

I'm Indonesian. I would like to know more about claiming GST refund in Singapore. Some questions below are:

1. I read that the minimum amount of goods purchased to claim the GST is SGD100. Is it necessary to be in the same invoice?

Let's say I purchase goods from Isetan department store - one day's shopping exceeds SGD100, but separated in several invoices. Could I gather the invoices together and claim the GST? If yes, then how about if the invoices are of separate dates, but from the same store?

2. How is the procedure of claiming a GST refund? Can you tell me any website that clearly explains about this GST refund? Do I need to fill in some forms at the purchasing store?

It's better if you could refer me to one web/reading that clearly elaborates about this.

Many thanks for your kind assistance.

Regards,
Linda

Comments for Singapore Shopping: How to Claim GST Refund

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May 26, 2009
GST Refund for Tourists in Singapore
by: Gabriel Tan

Hi Linda

Which Shops Offer GST Refund to Tourists

Before I answer your questions, may I clarify that the GST Refund Scheme for Tourists is a voluntary scheme - not all shops/department stores offer GST refund.

Shops that offer GST refunds will display the following signs:

a. 'Tax Free Shopping'
b. 'Premier Tax Free'
c. 'Tax Refund'

(Note: a. & b. for shops operating through central refund agencies. c. for shops operating their own refund scheme.)

So you should see one of these signs at the shop - for GST refund to work.


Minimum Spend to Qualify for GST Refund

This document from the IRAS is the best and most authoritative about GST Refund Scheme for Tourists.

To claim GST refund, a tourist must spend a minimum of SGD 100 from the same retailer on the same day. You may combine receipts to exceed the SGD 100 spend.


How to Claim Your GST Refund in Singapore

The linked document above also describes the steps you must take at the shop and at the airport.

More GST Refund FAQs.

Happy shopping in Singapore.

May 26, 2009
GST
by: Jer

Hey Linda,

for the GST Refund, you only can combine 3 receipts in total. You can claim it at the airport.

And yes you need to fill up a form which the shop will give to you - you need to enter the amount of refund.

On the form, you just need to fill in your personal details - when you arrive in singapore, when you depart, and your signature...

And Linda FYI, for department stores, you need to go and find the GST Refund counter. Like in any retail shop, you just tell them you want to claim GST refund. And pls do ask them for refund, because they always forget or pretend...

Happy shopping and stay healthy...

May 26, 2009
GST Refund
by: Linda

Hi Gabriel and Jer,

Thanks so much for your information.

By the way, how will they refund us? Will they refund us by crediting our credit card? or By Cash?

Thanks.

Regards,
Linda

May 28, 2009
Steps to GST Refund
by: Jer

Hi Linda,

After you arrive at the airport, you don't check in first. You must go to the GST Refund Counter first to submit the form that you filled up. At the same time, they will check the thing that you have bought.

After that the form will be stamped and you go and check in your luggage. After your passport has been checked, you go to the GST Refund counter inside the restricted area to claim your refund.

They will refund to you in cash term...

Happy shopping...

Jun 07, 2009
Mode of GST Refund
by: Gabriel Tan

Hi Jeremy

Once again, many thanks for sharing from the perspective of someone who's actually gone through the GST refund process. As a Singaporean, I'll never be able to practically claim GST refund here ;-).

----------------------------

Hi Linda and all


Mode of Refund from Shops Using Global Refund Scheme and Tax Free Premier

The refunds through Central Refund Agencies (CRA) - e.g. Global Refund Scheme and Tax Free Premier - can be in the form of:

1. cash, or

2. credit to credit card.

Tax Free Premier has an additional option: bank cheque.

If you hold refund forms from these 2 agencies, you could get your refund from their counters in the departure lounge (after immigration clearance).


Mode of Refund from Shops Operating Their Own Refund Schemes

If you've bought from a shop operating its own refund scheme, you'll need to mail the refund form back to the shop within 2 months of getting the forms endorsed at the airport.

There are mailboxes at the airport for you to drop your refund forms.

The shop will then send you a cheque (your GST refund minus any admin fee) to the address you've entered in your refund form.

Hope this helps every visitor to Singapore.

Jun 16, 2009
Using Friend's Credit Card - GST Refund Possible?
by: Channy

Hi, I'm Korean and will be coming to Singapore for a holiday. Can I claim back GST for purchases made using my friend's credit card? I was planning to use my friend's card and pay her in cash as the exchange rate is very bad using my local Korean bank credit card.

Is this ok for GST refund? Thanks.

Jun 18, 2009
GST Refund in Cash Terms
by: Gabriel Tan

Hi Channy

Will claiming your GST Refund in cash terms help? This way, you don't need to have a credit card for the GST Refund to be transferred into.

Please share your experience here after you've gone through the process.

Jun 22, 2009
Health Expenses in Singapore - Any GST Refund?
by: Ivan

Is the GST refund valid for health care services such as hospitals or another health care units? Or just valid for "visible" goods? Thank you.

Jun 22, 2009
Singapore GST Refund Only for Physical Goods
by: Gabriel Tan

Hi Ivan

You my claim GST refund only for physical goods taken out of Singapore through the airport.

You may not claim GST refund for the following:

1. Services used in Singapore, e.g. medical treatments, restaurant meals and stays in hotels or guesthouses.

2. Goods exported out of Singapore by freight (land, sea or air).

Jul 30, 2009
Travel By Car and Boat/Ship - Any GST Refund?
by: Anonymous

Can I claim GST refund on my way back from Singapore if I travel to Singapore by car from Malaysia?

Jul 31, 2009
Singapore GST Refund: Only at Airports, Not for Travel by Land or Sea
by: Gabriel Tan

GST Refund may only be claimed by tourists at Changi Airport and Seletar Airport to destinations outside Malaysia.

You cannot claim GST refund even if you are tourist travelling out of Singapore by car, boat or ship (land and sea departures).

Nov 09, 2009
What Percentage Is Claimable for GST Refund
by: Susan M.

Hi,

I would like to know what percentage we could claim back from our purchase?

Thanks.

Nov 09, 2009
GST is 7% of Price
by: Gabriel Tan

Hi Susan

GST imposed on goods and services is 7% of goods' price.

So you'll get this amount as GST refund, subject to all the conditions described in the Tourist Refund Scheme.

Dec 12, 2009
Service charge for GST refund
by: Visitor3

The total claimable GST on my goods was $22.
However, the shop charges me $5 'service fee'.
That meams I can only claim $17.Is the shop entitled to claim a service charge for issuing a
refund form? Thanks

Jan 29, 2010
Can I claim GST??
by: HNIN

Hi

I am Employment Pass Holder in Singapore . In this Chinese New Year holidays, I will go back my home.

I bought the presents (camera & massage machine). So, I would like to claim GST refund for these things. Can I claim? Pls reply me as soon as possible.

Best regards,
HNIN

Jan 30, 2010
GST Refund for Tourists Only
by: Gabriel Tan

Hi

GST refund, offered under what is called the Tourist Refund Scheme, is for tourists only - and subject to a set of conditions.

May 06, 2010
Multiple Entries and GST Refund Claims
by: Alvin

I am a Singaporean living in UK. I will be back to Singapore for 3 weeks (29/6 - 17/7). And within these 3 weeks, I will be going to Hong Kong for 4 days(5/7 - 8/7).

My girlfriend is a Malaysian currently in KL. She will be traveling to SG to go to HK with me, arriving on 3/7 and returning to KL on 11/7.


QUESTION: Can she claim GST back when we leave on 5/7 for HK, gift the items to me, and still return to SG on 8/7? Or should she only claim when she leaves SG on 11/7?

Hi Alvin

As long as all the conditions for entering Singapore are met, she should be able to return to Singapore after claiming GST refund on the first occasion.



I understand that customs need to see the items, but do the items need to be in their box? i.e., can the camera be hanging around her/my neck instead of the box it was sold in?

The receipt and relevant GST refund forms are key. But GST refund is technically given for new purchases to be taken out of Singapore by tourists. It doesn't help one bit to brandish the camera before the customs officer, and show that you've started consuming the goods in Singapore.


FURTHER QUESTION: If she claimed once on 5/7, can she still claim again for further items purchased in SG between 8/7 - 11/7 after getting back from HK?

I'm not sure but believe she can claim on both occasions, based on what I understand from the IRAS website.

The only foolproof way to ascertain re-entry and multiple GST refund claims is to contact the Singapore ICA and IRAS.

Gabriel Tan


INFORMATION: She will only be entering SG on a Social Visa, and she did not stay in SG for more than 365 days in the past 24 months.

May 23, 2010
After Customs Endorsement...
by: Anonymous

Hi!

My friend left through Changi T2. She was able to present the goods to customs and her receipts and GST refund forms were duly endorsed.

However, after immigration she was unable to go to the next counter inside the airport to claim her GST as her flight's status was already flashing Last Call for Boarding.

Kindly share if you have info on whether you know a way on how she can claim her GST refund, if still possible.


Hi there

1) If the GST refund is being administered directly by the retailer - like in the case of Mustafa Centre - I believe you could still mail the completed forms back to the retailer for processing. (Please verify this with the individual retailer first.)

2) If the GST refund is being administered by central refund agencies such as Global Refund Singapore Pte Ltd or Premier Tax Free (Singapore) Pte Ltd, you should contact these agencies directly.

Gabriel Tan

May 31, 2010
GST Refund for Online Purchase?
by: Anonymous

Hi Linda...

I'm a Malaysian came to Singapore to visit my relatives... Ive bought goods via Online Apple Store,Singapore. Will I be able to claim my GST? If yes, what are the documents needed?

Thank you.

Hi there

GST refund is administered only by retailers participating in the Tourist Refund Scheme - and the tourist-shopper have documents to fill and get endorsed.

As online stores are not on this scheme - and they cannot endorse any GST refund forms - you cannot get any GST refund buying from an online store.

Hope this helps.

Gabriel Tan

May 31, 2010
RE: After Customs Endorsement...
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your advice. Such a big help.

Have contacted the respective agencies involved and making progress from there.

Thanks again!

Jun 08, 2010
GST Refund (Flight to Malaysia)
by: joy

Hi.. this page is so informative.. thanx to all..

I was wondering.. I'm a Malaysian, I was thinking of taking a bus to Singapore and returning via flight.. So can I still claim for GST refund?

Hi Joy

Providing you meet other conditions that qualify you as a bona fide (genuine) tourist, you can claim GST refund. As far as I understand from the IRAS website, tourists flying to Malaysia are not excluded from the Tourist Refund Scheme.

You might want to verify this with the retailer before you buy anything.

Gabriel Tan

Jul 04, 2010
confused with the Tourist GST refund
by: Phuong_Nguyen1984

Hi,
I had 3 receipts from Mustafa Centre (I bought Canon Digital + some perfumes),
the receipts, they are going to lose the color (I bought on June 25). So can anyone show me how do I claim the refund (hardly able to read the words on receipts, :() )

But most of all, I just shipped the camera to Vietnam as a gift. It is not here with me, so will I get the refund without stuff I bought???

Argghhh, headache!!! Please help me.


Hi Phuong Nguyen

I'm sorry to hear of your plight, but you cannot claim GST refund once the item is shipped out of Singapore.

You need to present the item at the airport in order to claim GST refund.

Gabriel Tan

Sep 01, 2010
GST Refund on Online Purchases
by: Anonymous

Is it possible to claim a GST refund for online purchases? If so, how?

-----------------------------------

Dear all

Some online merchants may offer GST Refund for purchases made through their Singapore portals. These merchants will usually have a customer service location from which you can collect the GST Refund form.

The only way to find out if they offer GST refund is to contact the online merchant directly.

All the other conditions for GST refund still apply and the goods must be presented at the airport for verification.

Gabriel Tan

Oct 05, 2010
Tax
by: Anonymous

Hi, I did purchase an item on 15 Sept. and I traveled back to Johore by car.

Now I fly from KL and will fly back to KL 2 days later.

Can i claim back the tax?

urgent...

Thanks

--------------------------

Answer: No claim is possible after you have taken the item out of Singapore

i) by car, or

ii) by plane without submitting relevant documents and having your goods inspected at the airport.

Nov 07, 2010
Date of Arrival & GST Refund
by: Anonymous

Hi, I'm Malaysian, planing to buy goods from a Singapore website and it will be shipped to Singapore local address with GST refund form. Does it matter if I purchased the goods before arrive at Singapore? Will the customs question that the date on the receipt and not match with the date I entering Singapore?

Jan 10, 2011
GST refund
by: Lawrence

Hi, I'm planning to buy a lap top in Singapore next month. Please may I know what is the net refund (less administrative charge) like if the item costs $1400? Thank you very much.

------------------------


Hi Lawrence and future readers of this thread

For amounts specific to a particular purchase, please contact your merchant directly. You should be asking for information from your merchant, rather anyone else on the web.

Gabriel

Jan 23, 2011
GST Refund for Goods Bought in Proxy & Outside Visit Dates
by: Mel

I would like to know if I have asked a friend to purchase some items in Singapore prior to my arrival in the country (1 week earlier than my arrival due to the sales promotion), can I claim for GST refund when I bring the items back with me to my home country when I fly out of Singapore? Please advise asap, thank you!

----------------------

You cannot claim GST refund on goods bought on your behalf or outside of the dates you are in Singapore.

----------------------

Important Note:

Since this last post, many readers have just re-asked questions already answered in this thread. To make this thread easy to read, repeated questions will not be published.

Here are the answers to often-repeated questions:

1) GST refund is for tourists only. Foreigners working in Singapore cannot claim GST refund.

2) You cannot claim GST on someone else's behalf. Neither can someone else claim GST on your behalf.

3) You can only claim GST refund at the airport.

Gabriel, as Web Admin

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