We have briefly discussed in Singapore shopping tips, how tourists can save on shopping in Singapore. In this guide, we will go through procedure & tips for tax free shopping in Singapore. This facility is only available for tourists visiting Singapore on a short trip. If you’re on a long visit pass or employment then you will not be able to avail this facility.
Tax Free Shopping in Singapore
Singapore levies a 7% Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the sale of nearly all goods and services. As a foreign visitor, you can have most of that tax refunded to you. There are, however, certain requirements that must be met.
Basically, you must make purchases of more than S$300 to qualify for the tax refund. Another option available to tourists is to use either of two competing companies that will process your tax refund for you, for a price. They are the Premier Tax Free and the Global Refund schemes. Be aware, not all merchants participate in the Global Refund or Premier Tax Free schemes.
Global Refund will also allow you to pool receipts of S$100 or more from shops displaying the “Tax Free Shopping” sticker. If the “Tax Free Shopping” sticker is posted and you are participating in the Global Refund program, you must spend at least S$100 and show your passport to the retailer to obtain a Global Refund cheque, which you can have processed at the airport when you depart.
If you have opted in to the Premier Tax Free scheme, you must shop stores that display the “Premier Tax Free” logo. In this case, you must ask the retailer for your GST refund after you have spent a minimum of S$100.
Another option is to collect your refund at any of four Downtown Cash Refund Centres as you shop. Downtown Cash Refunds are issued in Singapore currency and are limited to S$500 per tourist. Proof of a current credit card with a six-month validity is required to use this service.
When it is time for your return trip, after you have checked in and cleared immigration, you must have your shopping cheques validated and endorsed at the Customs kiosk. You will also have to show your receipts and the merchandise itself, as proof of export. Of course, this means you cannot pack your purchases into your checked baggage. You will have to put them in your carry-on luggage.
You can cash your tax free shopping cheques at any of the Cash Refund counters in the airport, or you can request the funds be credited to your credit card or have the funds mailed to you at your home address. If you would prefer, you can mail in your stamped tax free shopping cheques and receive a bank draft in the mail. If you have participated in either the Global Refund or Premier Tax Free schemes, they will withhold a portion of your refund as their payment. If you did not participate in either scheme, you can show your purchases and receipts at the GST Refund Counter to collect your refund.
Some merchants operate their own GST refund schemes. Be sure to check with individual retailers regarding minimum purchase amounts to qualify for the refund. Depending upon how much you plan to spend while travelling Singapore, your GST refund can be significant and it is worth the effort to keep all your receipts and merchandise together in one carry-on bag.
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