Tourist Refund Scheme: Tourists departing by International Cruises

8 February 2013

Effective from 21 January 2013, tourists leaving Singapore on international cruises (excluding cruises-to-nowhere, round-trip cruises and regional ferry) departing from the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore and the International Passenger Terminal at Harbourfront Centre are entitled to claim tourist refunds under the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS). Accordingly, retailers participating in the TRS can issue eTRS Tickets to tourists who will be departing from Singapore via international cruises on or after 21 January 2013.

Before issuing eTRS tickets at the point of sale, participating retailers are required to check with the tourists that they are departing on qualifying cruise ships.

Participating retailers may refer to the IRAS website for a monthly-updated list of qualifying cruise ships departing from the respective cruise terminals. The list for February 2013 is now available.

Source: Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)

Official launch of Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS)

11 November 2011

Tourists to Singapore can now look forward to both a hassle free and speedier process to obtain their goods and services tax (GST) refunds on purchases made.

Speaking at the official launch of the Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS) on 9 November 2011, Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister of State For Finance and Transport explains how the system works.

“The receipts are simply scanned, the purchase details at the point-of-sale are captured electronically, and tagged to the credit card of the tourist. When they get to the airport, there’s no need for further form-filling and long queues. All that will be needed will be a quick swipe of one’s passport and credit card at the eTRS kiosks to retrieve records of the purchases, followed by a few keystrokes to instruct the system to pay the GST refund into a specific credit card account.”

Tourists can also opt to claim their refunds in cash at the Central Refund Counter at the Departure Transit Lounge after scanning their receipts.

As of October 2011, 1,400 retailers have come on board the eTRS  and IRAS expects the remaining 2,100 retailers who are currently still operating on the paper-based Tourist Refund Scheme to come on board the eTRS by August next year.

Source: IRAS and Ministry of Finance

e-Tax Guide (Revised): GST Guide on the Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS) (Second edition)

1 August 2011

First published on 28 February 2011, IRAS has released a revised e-Tax Guide: GST Guide on the Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme.

To facilitate tourists in refunding goods and services taxes (GST) incurred, IRAS had early this year introduced an electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (“eTRS”) system to replace the current paper-based system in phases. The initial phase, which will last six  months, had commenced in mid-2011 and full implementation is targeted for 3rd quarter of 2012. Once eTRS is fully implemented, the paper-based system will cease. All GST-registered retailers and Central Refund Agencies operating the paper-based Tourist Refund Scheme must transit to the eTRS.

Under eTRS, the purchase details at the point-of-sale will be collected through an electronic system and linked to a token, such as a credit card, which tourists can carry. Tourists will have to present the token, together with their passport, at the IRAS validation kiosk to expedite the retrieval of their purchase records. Tourists may opt to get their GST refund in cash or paid to their credit card account.

The e-tax guide covers the following:

  • Description of process and data flow under eTRS
  • Conditions and fees applicable for participation in the eTRS
  • Descriptions of what the existing CRAs and retailers should do during the transitional period
  • Application procedures under eTRS, and
  • Overview of the system requirements under eTRS.

In this revised edition, editorial revisions had been made to various paragraphs and to its appendices.

For the full version of the e-tax guide, please click here (Ref 2010/GST/5).

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