24 January 2013
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. The electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS) system was introduced on 18 May 2011 to replace the old paper-based system, to be implemented in phases. eTRS is mandatory from 19 August 2012, and the paper-based system has ceased from this date.
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 21 January 2013, eTRS will be extended to international cruise passengers departing via the International Passenger Terminals of Singapore Cruise Centre (SCC) at Habourfront Centre, and the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore (MBCCS) at Marina South.
The fifth edition of the e-Tax Guide has been updated to take into account the extension of eTRS to the abovementioned cruise terminals.
Source: This article was extracted from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) website. Visit http://www.iras.gov.sg for more information.