GUIDE: How to Claim Tax Refund at Singapore Changi Airport

singapore merlion
PHOTO BY Shutterstock

(SPOT.ph) There’s no denying that the latest drops and limited collections are only available abroad, making shopping during international trips a must for Filipinos on their revenge travel adventures. Here’s some good news for your wallet: Tourists in Singapore are exempt from Goods and Services Tax as long as they meet the minimum spend.

We’re all about helping you get the discounts and slashed prices, so here’s a quick guide to everything tax refund in Singapore.

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Follow these steps to claim GST refund in Singapore:

Meet the requirements

Foreigners can get refunds on purchases of more than Singapore $100 at participating stores and shops. Travelers may claim a refund on the 7% Goods and Services Tax or GST through the Tourism Refund scheme or TRS.

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Tourists can collate up to 3 same-day receipts or invoices to meet a minimum purchase amount of $100 at the same shop and must bear the same GST registration number.

Check if the store is a participating establishment—look for the “Tax Free” shopping logo. If you don’t see a logo, you can ask staff to be sure.

The following are eligible for tax refund:

  • You are not a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident;
  • You are aged 16 and above at the time of purchase;
  • You are not a crew member of the aircraft on which you are leaving Singapore;
  • You are leaving Singapore from Changi Airport or Seletar Airport. You will not be eligible for a GST refund if you are leaving by the Causeway or sea.
  • You must have made your purchases within two months from when you apply for a refund.
  • You are not a Specified Person* on the date of the purchase;
    at any time within the period of 3 months immediately before the date of purchase; or
    on the date you submit your claim for a refund of the GST charged on your purchases at the airport;
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Tell store staff

Before you pay for any goods, inform store staff that you’re a foreigner. They’ll borrow your passport and input data so the refunds, if there are any, are linked to your identity. At this point, expect to pay full price as the tax is only refunded once you’re at the airport. Most stores do a digital log of your receipts and refunds, but keep the physical receipt safe just in case airport staff need to inspect it later on.

Some stores can’t log refunds on the spot, so you’ll have to visit designated refund kiosks in malls or establishments to register your transactions.

If you skip the logging step, it doesn’t matter how much you spend or how many receipts you bring to the airport. Failure to log the tax refunds in-store or in tax refund booths will render you ineligible to claim the refund.

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Keep track

Apps like Global Blue have a digital log of your purchases and corresponding refunds. The app is free to download and can scan your passport for quicker tracking, plus a card can be linked for faster refunds.

Airport staff may ask for physical receipts for big-ticket purchases, so keep them safe away from water and sunlight.

Go the airport booth

etrs kiosk
PHOTO BY Clara Rosales
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Scheduled to leave in a few hours? Don’t forget to arrive at the airport several hours before your scheduled departure to claim your tax refund before boarding. Simply head to the tax refund kiosks with your passport, receipts, and items.

If you’re planning to buy more pasalubong or other items at Jewel, you’ll have to spend first then drop by the electronic TRS kiosk. Done with shopping for now? You can proceed with your refund.

Select your language and scan your passport. Once cleared, you’ll see a summary of your spending and total refund. Review each one to make sure everything is correct. At this point, the system will assess if you can proceed with the claim or if airport staff need to double-check your purchases. This is rarely the case, but some purchases do trigger random checks.

Splurged on designer goods during your trip? You might have to present the bags, shoes, and other items as proof that you’re taking it out of Singapore and they were real transactions under your name. Here’s a tip: store all of the stuff you bought during the trip on one side of your luggage for easier inspection.

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Claiming your refund

etrs kiosk
PHOTO BY Clara Rosales

After everything is cleared, you can now select your choice of refund: through card, cash, or online wallet. If you opted for a card refund, just insert your card with the EMV chip upwards and towards the slot. Refunds done via card can take anywhere up to 10 business days.

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For real-time cash refunds, head to the Central Refund Counter in the Departure Transit Lounge with your passport, which is after airport immigration.

Also read: How Many Hours Before My Flight Should I Be at the Airport?

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