IRAS issues an updated e-Tax Guide, “GST Guide on the Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS) (4th Edition)”

12 October 2012

The Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) was introduced in April 1994 to ensure that the imposition of GST will not adversely affect Singapore as a shopping destination for tourists. Under the scheme, tourists may obtain a refund of GST on goods purchased from GST-registered retailers who participate in the scheme.

GST refund is available on goods purchased from GST-registered retailers operating on the TRS. To offer tourists a seamless shopping and refund experience, IRAS has since introduced the electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS) system to replace the old paper-based system. The new electronic system was introduced on 18 May 2011 and implemented in phases. eTRS is mandatory from 19 August 2012, and the paper-based system has ceased from this date. All GST-registered retailers and Central Refund Agencies (CRA) who want to offer TRS can only do so through eTRS.

Under the eTRS, all Central Refund Agencies and Independent Retailers (IR) will have to obtain the Comptroller’s approval before they can participate directly in the electronic system and claim refund from IRAS under the TRS. In addition to the existing conditions for tourist refunds, the Central Refund Agencies and Independent Retailers should also comply with the conditions as set out in the IRAS e-Tax Guide.

Tourists may claim refunds on their purchases under the electronic system if they exit via Changi International Airport and Seletar Airport. From January 2013, eTRS will be extended to international cruise passengers departing via the International Passenger Terminals of Singapore Cruise Centre (SCC) at Habourfront, and the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore (MBCCS) at Marina South.

In this fourth edition, a new paragraph on the extension of eTRS to international cruise passengers as well as an appendix showing the process flow at cruise terminals have been inserted. Certain paragraphs have also been revised or deleted.

The e-Tax Guide covers the following:

  • Description of process and data flow under eTRS
  • Conditions and fees applicable for participation in the eTRS
  • Application procedures under eTRS, and
  • Overview of the system requirements under eTRS.

For further information, please refer to the IRAS e-Tax Guides.

Source: This article was extracted from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) website. Visit for more information.