Singapore Customs is the government agency which is responsible for implementation of the customs and enforcement of trade measures in Singapore. This agency was reconstituted in 2003, and is now under the Ministry of Finance (Singapore). Also, Singapore Customs exercises Goods and Services Tax (GST) refund, which is a part of Tourist Refund Scheme.
A GST (Goods and Services Tax) is levied on all items that are imported into Singapore, regardless of the fact whether the goods were purchased overseas or in Singapore itself. Thus, one is required to declare the goods in possession to the checking officer at Singapore Customs Tax Payment Office or at the self-service Tax payment kiosk. Duty-free Concession is not available on the following items:
1.No concession for tobacco products:
Duty-free concession and GST relief cannot be availed on Cigarettes, Cigars, Shisha and other Tobacco related products. Thus, one needs to pay the required taxes to bring them in Singapore.
2.No concession on motor spirits:
Motor spirits (like Petroleum, Diesel and many more) in containers are not duty-free. Also, there is no GST relief for them.
One can avail duty-free concessions on alcohol, if one is aged 18 years or above, has spent 48 hours or longer outside Singapore immediately before arrival and the imported liquor is not prohibited from importing into Singapore. However, there is no duty-free confession on liquor if one is arriving from Malaysia.
Remember: Duty free concessions are generally granted on goods purchased for personal consumption and it is an offense to sell or give them away. Furthermore, one needs to pay the taxes on all goods exceeding the duty-free confession and even on goods one is carrying for or on behalf of others.
Customs Clearance Procedure:
On arrival in Singapore by air, sea, bus or rail, one can spot examination counters in the Arrival hall. This system further bifurcates into a Red Channel System and Green Channel System.
The Red Channel Counters are mostly manned by officials from the Immigration & Checkpoint Authority (ICA), which has the authority to conduct the required checks on people, baggage and even vehicles that enter Singapore. Also, the ICA officials may also refer these matters to Singapore Customs for follow-up. One must proceed to the Red Channel in the following situations:
a) If they are carrying taxable or dutiable goods exceeding the GST relief.
b) If they are carrying goods listed among controlled or restricted goods.
c) If one is carrying goods listed under the prohibited category.
Accordingly, a customs permit for clearance is required to be produced for the above mentioned items.
One may wish to proceed through the green channel if one is not carrying any of the three above mentioned goods. However, the officers may conduct random checks in order to ensure the same. Furthermore, in case of doubt one may be asked to head to the Red Channel for checking.
Note: It is one’s own responsibility to provide accurate and complete declarations of all goods in possession exceeding the GST relief. Failing which, one can be prosecuted in court and fined up to ten thousand dollars and imprisoned for up to three years.