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Travellers returning to Singapore to pay GST for purchases

Published on May 27, 2014 2:07 PM
Passengers returning from overseas will have to pay the Goods and Service Tax, if the amount of goods they bring back exceeds the GST relief. -- ST FILE PHOTO

June is coming and that means overseas holidays for many families. But beware of lugging back too much shopping from your jaunts as your spoils could be subject to Goods and Service Tax (GST) once you get home.

Singapore Customs has issued an advisory to remind travellers that GST is exempt only for certain values. If you travel out of Singapore for less than 48 hours, then you will not have to pay GST for goods valued up to $150. If you are away for more than 48 hours, you are exempt from GST for goods valued up to $600.

Travellers will have to pay GST only on the value of the goods that exceeds the GST relief. For example, if you buy $800 worth of goods on a four-day trip to Hong Kong, you will need to pay GST for the $200 worth of goods. At 7 per cent, that comes up to $14.

You will have to produce invoices or receipts of these purchases to help calculate the tax payable. You can pay taxes at the Singapore Customs' Tax Payment Office or at the self-service Tax Payment Kiosk at the checkpoints.

Failure to declare the value of your purchases is an offence under the Customs Act and the GST Act. Offenders may be prosecuted in court, fined up to $10,000 and jailed for up to three years. 

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

For more information on customs rules, go to