Foreign visitors and Singapore residents reminded to pay GST for shopping items

Foreign visitors and Singapore residents reminded to pay GST for shopping items

SINGAPORE - If you are headed overseas this holiday season and planning to cart home items that would otherwise cost more in Singapore - do remember to check if you need to pay GST.

Common items that Singapore travellers buy from their overseas travels include branded handbags, leather wallets, health supplements, beauty products, electronics and bird's nest.

The Singapore Customs reminds returning holiday makers to check if their overseas purchases exceed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) relief.

All goods brought into Singapore by travellers - including new items, souvenirs, gifts or food products - are subject to 7 per cent GST.

Travellers who spend 48 hours or more abroad will enjoy GST relief for goods valued up to $600. Those who are away from Singapore for less than 48 hours will receive GST relief for goods valued up to $150.

Travellers are required to pay GST on only the value of their goods that exceeds their GST relief.

Mr Bryant Chiang, Head of Air Checkpoints, Singapore Customs, urged in a statement: "We would like to remind travellers to declare their goods at the Customs Red Channel and pay tax if the total value of their goods purchased overseas exceeds their GST relief and duty-free allowance. They should produce the invoices or receipts of their overseas purchases to facilitate the computation of tax payable."

There is no GST relief for liquor, tobacco products, petroleum and goods imported for commercial purposes.

Duty-free concession is not applicable for cigarettes and other tobacco products. All cigarettes, including those with the 'SDPC' (Singapore Duty-Paid Cigarette) mark, and tobacco products are subject to duty and GST when brought in by travellers to Singapore.

Here is the advisory from the Singapore Customs:

Arriving travellers and returning Singaporeans should familiarise themselves with Singapore's customs regulations (available online at www.customs.gov.sg).

It is the responsibility of travellers to make an accurate and complete declaration of the dutiable and taxable items in their possession. Compliance with these regulations will help travellers enjoy smooth customs clearance on their arrival in Singapore.

Failure to make a declaration is an offence under the Customs Act and the GST Act. Offenders may be prosecuted in court and fined up to S$10,000 or 20 times the amount of duty and GST, whichever is higher and/or jailed for up to three years.

To avoid the hefty penalties, travellers are advised to consult Singapore Customs officers at the Tax Payment Office if they are unsure of the GST relief they are entitled to or their duty-free allowance. Members of the public can obtain more information by calling the Singapore Customs hotline on 63552000, or emailing their queries to customs_feedback@customs.gov.sg.

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