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

Foreign visitors and Singapore residents returning from overseas are reminded to pay Goods and Service Tax (GST) when bringing in goods that exceed their GST relief. -- ST FILE PHOTO: RAJ NADARAJAN
Foreign visitors and Singapore residents returning from overseas are reminded to pay Goods and Service Tax (GST) when bringing in goods that exceed their GST relief. -- ST FILE PHOTO: RAJ NADARAJAN

Foreign visitors and Singapore residents returning from overseas are reminded to pay Goods and Service Tax (GST) when bringing in goods that exceed their GST relief.

In the first nine months of this year, Singapore customs issued warnings or composition sums to 238 travellers who failed to declare goods purchased abroad with values exceeding their GST relief quantum, Mr Bryant Chiang, head of Air Checkpoints, Singapore Customs, told The Straits Times.

"With the start of the year-end school holidays, many Singaporeans will be heading overseas for their family vacation. 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," said Mr Chiang.

Currently, those who spend more than 48 hours abroad will receive GST relief for goods valued up to $600 and if they are away from Singapore for less than 48 hours, they will get GST relief for goods valued up to $150.

Singapore Customs said in a media release on Friday that common items brought back by travellers that exceed their GST relief include branded handbags, leather wallets, health supplements and bird's nest. All goods brought into Singapore by travellers including gifts, souvenirs or food products are subject to 7 seven per cent GST. There is no GST relief for liquor, tobacco products, petroleum and goods imported for commercial purposes.

Travellers should produce the invoices or receipts of their overseas purchases to facilitate the computation of tax payable. Failure to do so 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.