Singapore refunds the GST portion of the purchase price to visitors who depart only from the Changi Singapore Airport. Unlike many GST refund programs, that require you to carry the goods as part of your hand luggage, Singapore has GST refund counters both before and after immigration.

If you have bulky items that can only be shipped as luggage, go to the GST refund counter PRIOR TO checking in for your flight. After you've completed the paperwork, then check the item in and you're good to go. You can claim back 7% GST component of your purchases at departure so long as they exceed SSD100 in one shop and so long as the shop fills in the appropriate paperwork at the time of purchase.

GST Refund - Two Options

There are 2 options when you depart from Changi airport: small hand-held items can be taken through check-in as hand luggage to be checked by customs in the transit area - this means having to carry them on to the plane. The alternative is to get them checked by customs in the airport lobby before you book in: you can get a customs stamp for larger items then pack them in your main luggage to be checked in. This saves carrying them with you on the plane. Note that there is a processing fee for refunds. One passenger purchased items totaling SSD $150: theoretically the GST component would be about $7.50 but only received SSD $2 in the hand after the fee was deducted: not really worth the hassle of getting custom stamps and queue for the refund. Obviously larger purchases are worth the hassle.

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Duty-free shopping

Shopping in the duty-free areas of Changi Airport (post immigration) is also another viable option since the product prices already exclude the 7% GST. Prices are also the same (if not cheaper due to GST or duty-free exclusives) so travellers can confidently make their purchases in the airport prior to boarding. The airport also has shopping guarantees (30-day money back) in place to protect the customer.