New Customs app makes paying duties, GST easier

Travellers arriving in Singapore (left). Those who use the Customs@SG app (above) can exit the checkpoint through the Customs Green Channel without having to stop to declare and pay the duty/GST for the goods at the Customs Tax Payment Office.
Travellers arriving in Singapore (above). ST PHOTOS: ALPHONSUS CHERN, TAMARA CRAIU
Travellers arriving in Singapore (left). Those who use the Customs@SG app (above) can exit the checkpoint through the Customs Green Channel without having to stop to declare and pay the duty/GST for the goods at the Customs Tax Payment Office.
Those who use the Customs@SG app (above) can exit the checkpoint through the Customs Green Channel without having to stop to declare and pay the duty/GST for the goods at the Customs Tax Payment Office.ST PHOTOS: ALPHONSUS CHERN, TAMARA CRAIU

Free app allows travellers to declare goods purchased overseas, pay taxes in advance

Shoppers who buy goods overseas will now find it easier to declare and pay the duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) for their purchases before arriving in Singapore.

A free Singapore Customs mobile app, called Customs@SG - which was launched yesterday - allows travellers to make an advance declaration and payment before arriving here.

An e-receipt will be provided as proof of tax payment.

Those stopped for checks at the channel need only present their e-receipt to the inspecting officer.

Travellers have to pay GST only on the value of the goods that exceeds the GST relief. GST for goods valued below $150 is not applicable for travellers who are out of Singapore for less than 48 hours. For those who are out of the country for more than 48 hours, GST is exempted for goods valued up to $600.

Without the app, travellers with goods purchased overseas that exceed their duty-free allowance or GST relief must declare and pay the fees at the Customs Tax Payment Office or at a Self-Service Tax Payment Kiosk.

The Customs@SG app is available on both iOS and Android devices and can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play.

A Web application, accessible via the Singapore Customs website at www.customs.gov.sg, is also available for those who prefer to make the declaration and payment online through their computers.

Users must key in details, such as whether it is a personal or commercial declaration, as well as the date and place of arrival - such as Changi Airport, Woodlands Checkpoint or a cruise centre.

They can then make an advance declaration and pay the duty and/or GST for their goods before arriving in Singapore.

Once the payment has been made, the traveller will receive an e-receipt on his mobile phone.

Upon arriving in Singapore, the traveller can exit the checkpoint through the Customs Green Channel without having to stop to declare and pay the duty/GST for the goods at the Customs Tax Payment Office. If stopped for checks, the traveller can show the e-receipt as proof of tax payment to the inspecting officer.

Members of the public can also use the app to provide tip-offs on suspected illegal cigarette peddling activities.

Feedback or queries to the Singapore Customs can be sent via the app.

Ms Clarissa Poon, 26, who works in the aviation industry, said: "It is more convenient and will save time if I can declare and pay ahead."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2016, with the headline 'New Customs app makes paying duties, GST easier'. Print Edition | Subscribe