Goods and Services Tax and Duties

Additional Info

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In general, the importation of non-dutiable goods into Singapore is subject to Goods and Services Tax (GST), while the importation of dutiable ones is subject to both duty and GST.

Goods and Services Tax
The GST rate in Singapore is currently at seven per cent. The GST is calculated based on the Customs value plus all duties and other chargeable costs, whether or not shown on the invoice, at the point of importation. To establish the Customs value in CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight), use the transaction value or the price paid or payable for the imported goods, then add overseas freight and insurance charges.

Ensure that the transaction cost includes all other charges such as commissions, assists (materials supplied by the importer), packing costs, proceeds of subsequent resale accruing to the seller, royalties and licence fees, and any other fees.

The transaction value will be accepted by Singapore Customs provided it meets the conditions below:

  • There is evidence of a sale such as the presence of commercial invoices, sale contracts, purchase orders or others
  • There are no restrictions on the use of the goods by the buyer
  • The sale or price is not subject to conditions or considerations for which a value cannot be determined with respect to the goods being valued
  • It must be shown that the transaction value has not been affected by any relationship between the importer and supplier

Where the transaction value cannot be used, the following alternatives will be used to determine the Customs value:

  • Identical or similar goods value - the transaction value of identical or similar goods sold for export to Singapore
  • Deductive value - the sale price of the goods in Singapore, adjusted for costs incurred after shipment
  • Computed value - the value based on cost of production, general expenses and profits in the country of origin relating to the imported goods
  • Residual valuation - the value determined by Singapore Customs, based on flexible interpretation of all the previous methods

The four broad categories of dutiable goods in Singapore are intoxicating liquors, tobacco products, motor vehicles and petroleum products as well as petroleum products and natural gas used as motor fuel. A list of dutiable goods can be found at

For dutiable goods, ad valorem or specific duty rates may be applied. An ad valorem rate is the percentage of the Customs value of the imported dutiable goods (e.g. 20 per cent ad valorem), while a specific rate is a specified amount per unit of weight or volume of the imported goods (e.g. $352.00 per kg).

Refund of GST and Duties Paid
Where an overpayment or erroneous payment of duty occurs, a claim for a refund can be made in writing within one year. A claim for GST overpayment or erroneous payment can be made in writing within six years.

The claim can only be made by the declaring agent or importer through online submission through the Refund module in TradeNet®. Additional criteria for refund eligibility are:

  • Refund permit and replacement permit (if any) must not be cancelled or refunded
  • Payment has been made

All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their refund applications through the Refund module in TradeNet®.

There are three possible outcomes:

  • Rejection: The taxable importer may try to claim the GST as input tax from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) during their accounting period.
  • Approval: Successful refunds will be credited directly into the Inter-Bank GIRO account that the payers have maintained with Singapore Customs.
  • Pending supporting documents: Applicants will be notified through the Refund module in TradeNet® to submit the required documents.


Singapore Customs was re-constituted on 1 April 2003 to bring together revenue collection and enforcement, trade documentation, trade facilitation and security functions under one agency. As
Singapore’s single authority on customs and trade regulatory matters, Singapore Customs upholds customs and trade laws to build trust in Singapore’s external trading system, facilitate trade, and protect revenue.

Singapore Customs is at the crossroads of international trade and plays a proactive role in balancing the intricate requirements of trade facilitation, security, and regulatory compliance to support Singapore as a global trade hub. As the single trade regulator, Singapore Customs is well placed to collaborate with multiple stakeholders in trade, both from the public and private sectors. In performing our work, we firmly believe in facilitating legitimate trade, while simultaneously ensuring that Singapore’s trading system is not being exploited for illicit purposes. This guiding philosophy is encapsulated in Singapore Customs’ Vision, Mission and Motto, and is core to our strategic planning.

Trade Facilitation
Since 1989, Singapore Customs has been administering the TradeNet system, the world’s first national single window for trade declaration. This has facilitated trade and documentation processes, making them easy and seamless. Singapore Customs administers preferential tariffs arising from the many free trade agreements signed by Singapore for the benefit of the trading community. Singapore Customs consults and engages the trade and industry to understand customers’ needs, and offers customised solutions to the business community. We aim to lower their business compliance costs, enhance efficiency and promote business growth in Singapore.

Trade Security
Singapore Customs is the lead agency in promoting trade security and secure trade supply chains. Asia’s first supply chain security programme, the Secure Trade Partnership (STP) was launched in 2007 by Singapore Customs. We put in place a voluntary certification programme for companies that seek to adopt robust security measures in their trading operations, thereby contributing to the security of the global supply chain. We are also the lead agency for developing the APEC and World Customs Organisation (WCO) Trade Recovery Guidelines to help economies resume normal trading functions quickly in the event that supply chains are disrupted.

Trade Regulation
Singapore Customs maintains an effective and robust regulatory regime that is able to adapt quickly to the ever-changing business landscape. As a key revenue collection agency for Singapore, Singapore Customs safeguards Government revenue, ensures a level playing field for traders, and takes firm enforcement action against those who attempt to evade duties and taxes, bring in contraband goods or make fraudulent declarations. By adopting principles of risk management, Singapore Customs enables legitimate traders to trade easily and securely in Singapore. To learn more, visit

Singapore Customs
55 Newton Road #10-01
Revenue House
Singapore 307987
Customs Call Centre: +65 6355 2000
Fax: +65 6250 8663

Read 3225 times Last modified on Friday, 14 November 2014 09:44