Concise Guide On Overseas Purchases’ GST Since We’re Now All Going Overseas


Last Updated on 2022-10-02 , 7:04 pm

Did you know that goods brought into Singapore (other than exempt imports) are subject to Goods and Services Tax (GST) at the prevailing rate of 7% on the value of goods?

Your responsibility to declare

According to Singapore Customs, it is YOUR responsibility to make an “accurate and complete declaration” if you have taxable and dutiable items in your possession.

GST Relief

Travelers can enjoy GST relief on goods meant for their personal use depending on the time spent away from Singapore.

For travelers who are away for 48 hours or more, the value of goods granted for GST relief is S$600. If less than 48 hours, the amount will be $150.

What’s not eligible for GST relief?

Liquor, tobacco products, petroleum, and goods imported for commercial purposes.

All cigarettes and tobacco products, including those purchased in Singapore with the ‘SDPC’ mark, are subject to duty and GST when brought into Singapore. This includes motor spirits and diesel products in containers.

Who’s not eligible for GST relief?

Holders of a work permit, employment pass, student pass, dependent pass or long-term pass issued by the Singapore Government.

Duty-Free Items: Liquor Products

If you are 18 years old or above and have spent 48 hours or more outside Singapore before arrival, you can enjoy your duty-free liquor products.

Location matters and you cannot enjoy it duty-free if you are arriving from Malaysia. The liquor must also be for your own personal consumption and allowed to be imported into Singapore.

Final point before we move on: Duty-free concessions apply to items purchased overseas as well as DFS Singapore. For more information on the calculation of duties payable, please refer here.

Give yourself a pat on the back for surviving this ‘guide’. Honestly, most of our brains wouldn’t have that much of a capacity to remember the details (including me). So here’s my advice:

If you have any of the goods mentioned above and you’re not sure if it’s subjected to GST, just…

Pass through the Red Channel

The examination counters at the Red Channel are manned by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and they won’t let you pass through if you owe them money.

If you’re still thinking of siam-ing your tax and trying your luck walking through the Green Channel, please don’t. You will end up paying more if caught. Just look at these offenses.

Still not convinced? I’ll leave you with this piece of news:


Under the Customs Act, any person found guilty of evading duty and GST when importing dutiable goods will face a fine of up to 20x the amount evaded. In worse cases, one might be jailed for up to 2 years.

Declare before it’s too late.

Featured Image: Sing Studio /