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Quick Guide to GST Tax Refund in Singapore

Quick Guide to GST Tax Refund in Singapore 

As part of Singapore’s Tourism Refund Scheme, all tourists who purchase a product worth more than S$100 including Goods and Services Tax (GST) are eligible to claim the 7% GST return. 

If you are a traveler who wants to save as much money as possible for your Singapore trip, you need to keep tabs on your purchases that might be eligible for a GST refund. 

For more information about GST, you can check out the article below: 

What is the tourist refund scheme?

The Tourist Refund Scheme or TRS is created for tourists to claim the Goods and Service Tax (GST) levied on their purchased goods from participating stores. 

The GST refund is only applicable to tourists or non-residents of Singapore. Moreover, the refund can only be accessed if you purchase your goods in any of TRS’ participating stores. 

Where can I claim my GST refund? 

All GST refunds that are subject to the conditions of the scheme can be claimed in the eTRS self-help kiosks at the airport or via the mobile app through Global Blue or Tourego. 

Inside either of Singapore’s two airports, you will see an eTRS self-help kiosk. From there, you can select your preferred refund option and scan your passport to retrieve all eTRS transactions tagged to you. 

Once the refund is approved, you will automatically receive your GST return in the refund option you selected at the kiosk. 

As for the Global Blue and Tourego options, you can download the app on your phone and present the generated QR code to the cashier when you make a tax-free purchase. 

GST Eligibility

Any tourist who purchases goods worth more than S$100 in TRS participating stores will be eligible for a GST refund worth 7% of what they paid for their item. 

Qualifying as a Tourist

These are the requirements you need to be considered a tourist in Singapore: 

  • You are not a citizen or a permanent resident of Singapore.
  • You are over the age of 16 at the time you purchased the product. 
  • You are not a member of the airline crew departing from Singapore. 
  • You are leaving Singapore through Changi Airport or Seletar Airport only. 
  • You made your purchase within two months from when you applied for a tax refund. 
  • You are not a Specified Person on the date of purchase; at any time within the 3 months immediately before the date of purchase; or on the date, you submit your tax refund claim. 

*A specified person is someone with a work pass from the Ministry of Manpower, a dependent pass, a long-term visit pass, a student pass, or identification cards issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Conditions to Qualify for a GST Refund

Once you have proven that you are indeed a tourist in Singapore, you need to satisfy the following conditions to qualify for a GST refund: 

  1. Purchase the product and request for the retailer to capture your information for a tourist refund.
  2. Spend at least S$100 including GST on your purchase. To meet the minimum purchase amount, you can accumulate a maximum of 3 same-day invoices from retailers that have the same GST registration number. 
  3. Present your passport to the retailer to capture your passport information digitally at the time of purchase. Remember to present the original copy of your passport. 
  4. Apply for your refund at the eTRS self-help kiosk at Changi Airport or Seletar Airport. 
  5. Depart from the country within 2 months after the date of purchase. 
  6. Depart with the goods within 12 hours after your GST refund has been approved.
  7. Claim your refund from any approved central refund counter operators within 2 months from the date of GST approval. 

Goods Eligible for GST Refund

All standard-rated goods that are charged with GST are eligible for a refund including electronics, fashion apparel, alcohol, confectionery, and more.  

Purchases That Are Ineligible for a GST Refund

GST refunds are not eligible on:

  1. Services 
  2. Goods wholly or partly consumed in Singapore
  3. Goods for business and commercial purposes
  4. Goods exported by freight 
  5. Accommodations
  6. Goods not presented for inspection

Aside from the items listed above, most of the products purchased in tax-free stores are eligible for a GST refund as long as you comply with the requirements in claiming your refund. 

How to Claim GST Refund in Singapore

Claim your GST refund in the eTRS self-help kiosk by scanning your passport, making declarations, choosing a refund method, checking your refund request, and receiving your refund through the mode you selected. 

Follow the step-by-step guide below when making your claims: 

  1. Scan your passport at the kiosk.
  2. Declare your eligibility for TRS and accept the TRS conditions. 
  3. Confirm the purchase that you are applying a claim for. 
  4. Choose a refund method. Here are the options that you have depending on your airport:

Seletar Airport

  1. Bank cheque 
  2. Alipay refund 
  3. Credit card refunds 

Changi Airport

  1. Alipay refund
  2. Cash refund 
  3. Credit card refund
  1. Review the outcome of your refund request to see if there are any physical inspections required at the customs inspection counter. 
  1. Receive your refund through the refund method you selected. 

For options like Alipay and cash return, the refund would be paid immediately to you. However, if you select bank cheque or credit card refund, you might have to wait 10 to 14 banking days before the refund is processed into your account.  

Claiming GST Refunds for Check-in Items 

Apply for your GST refund on check-in items at the eTRS self-help kiosk located near the Departure Check-in Hall at Changi Airport. 

Claiming GST Refunds for Hand-carry Items 

Apply for your GST refund at the eTRS self-help kiosk located at the Departure Transit Lounge in Changi Airport.

What You Need to Bring in the Custom Inspection

After you applied for your GST refund, you will be notified by the kiosk whether you are required to go through the customs inspection for your purchased goods or not.    

Present the following items to the customs department to claim your tax return: 

  1. The goods you purchased.
  2. The original invoice or receipt issued by the retailer.
  3. The original copy of your passport and confirmed air ticket. 

Take note that the receipt must clearly state the description of the purchased goods, their price, and their serial number (if any).  

What are the different modes of GST refund? 

There are 5 different modes for GST refund. These are cash refund, credit card, Alipay, bank cheque, and Global Blue Downtown Refund (In-store). 

What to Do If Your Refund Is Not Approved

If your GST refund is not approved, you can apply for redeclaration in DHL Express. 

The DHL GST Helpdesk will review your request and advise you on the next step to ensure that you comply with the GST refund requirements.

Cash Refund 

Cash refund is the option you select if you want to get your GST refund in cash at the Departure Transit Lounge of Changi Airport. 

Credit Card Refund 

Credit card option is the best mode to use if you want to transfer your refund to your card or bank. You can process this option at the eTRS kiosk and the money will be credited to your credit card within 10 days upon a successful claim. 


The Alipay option is only applicable to Chinese citizens and could be processed in the kiosk. To claim a refund using this option, scan your QR code from the Alipay mobile app and the money will automatically be credited to you. 

Bank Cheque 

The bank cheque option is available if you want to claim your refund straight from the bank. To process this option, you must provide your name and mailing address in the slip provided by the eTRS kiosk then drop the slip in the cheque refund box. 

Enforcement of Fraudulent TRS Claims

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) takes serious offense against foreigners who willfully make false declarations for a GST Refund. 

The eTRS system itself is created to detect any unusual claims and report them to IRAS.

Acts That Constitute Serious Offense

The acts that constitute a serious offense in the GST refund system are: 

  1. Making a false declaration in a refund application to Singapore Customs. 
  2. Taking products out of the Departure Check-in Hall or Transit Area and passing them to someone else after the refund has been approved. 

Punishments for Proven Offense

The punishment for those who are rightfully convicted of GST refund fraud are: 

  1. A penalty of three times the amount of tax refunded. 
  2. A fine of $10,000 or jail time of up to 7 years. 

GST refund is an amazing incentive for those who are visiting Singapore. Learning how to file it as well as what requirements you need to provide to stake a claim will allow you to save a lot of money during your travels. 

When applying for a GST return, remember to be careful in meeting all the requirements to avoid any issues with the IRAS. With that said, have fun shopping on your trip to Singapore!