Essential Guide to Import GST in Singapore

Do I Have to Pay GST on Imported Goods in Singapore?

You must pay GST on most imported goods in Singapore, except for a few exceptions. Here’s a breakdown:

General rule:

  • All imported goods, whether commercially or hand-carried by travellers, are subject to GST at the prevailing rate of 8%.
  • The GST is calculated on the CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight) value, which includes:
    • The cost of the goods itself
    • Insurance costs
    • Freight costs
    • Other charges and expenses related to the sale and delivery of the goods to Singapore
    • Any applicable duty


  • Goods valued below S$400: If you are importing goods by air or post, you do not need to pay GST if the CIF value is not more than S$400. However, this exemption will be abolished on 1 January 2024.
  • Exempt imports: There are a few categories of goods that are exempt from GST, such as:
    • Certain medical and healthcare products
    • Educational materials
    • Unprocessed food
    • Goods imported for personal use, such as gifts and souvenirs, if the total value does not exceed S$400

Important notes:


  • These regulations may change, so checking the latest information from the Singapore Customs and IRAS before importing any goods is essential.
  • You can contact Singapore Customs for assistance if you are unsure whether to pay GST on your imports.

How to Avoid Paying GST On Imports in Singapore?

Avoiding GST on imports in Singapore is not always possible, but there are a few ways to minimize the amount you pay:

1. Import low-value goods:

  • This is the most effective way to avoid GST on imported goods.
  • Goods valued below S$400 imported by air or post are still exempt from GST.
  • However, this exemption will be abolished on January 1, 2024.
  • After January 1, 2024, you must pay GST on all imports by air or post, regardless of value.

2. Purchase from non-GST-registered suppliers:

  • If you are buying goods from a supplier not registered for GST, you will not need to pay GST at the point of purchase.
  • However, you may still need to pay GST when the goods are imported into Singapore.
  • You can check if a supplier is registered for GST by asking them directly or searching for their GST registration number on the IRAS website.

3. Claim GST input tax credits:

  • If you are a GST-registered business, you may be able to claim input tax credits for the GST you pay on imported goods.
  • This can help to reduce your overall GST liability.

4. Import exempt goods:

  • As mentioned earlier, specific categories of goods are exempt from GST.
  • You can find a list of exempt goods on the IRAS website.

5. Consider using alternative shipping methods:

  • If you are importing goods by sea freight or land, you may be able to avoid paying GST at the point of importation.
  • However, you must still pay GST if the goods are valued above the exemption threshold.

6. Split your orders:

  • If you are purchasing a large quantity of goods, you may be able to avoid paying GST by splitting your order into smaller shipments.
  • You only need to pay GST on goods valued above the exemption threshold.

7. Be mindful of gifts:

  • If you are bringing gifts into Singapore for personal use, you may be able to avoid paying GST if the total value of the gifts is S$400 or less.
  • However, you will need to declare the gifts to Customs.

Important notes:

  • Knowing the rules and regulations surrounding GST on imported goods in Singapore is essential.
  • If you are unsure about your obligations, consult a tax advisor.
  • Trying to avoid paying GST illegally can result in penalties and fines.

Is There GST on Imports in Singapore in 2023?

There are a few critical changes to the GST rules on imported goods in Singapore as of 2023:

1. GST on Low-Value Goods:

  • Effective January 1, 2023: GST was extended to low-value goods (priced S$400 and below) imported by consumers from GST-registered suppliers.
  • This means consumers now pay GST at the point of purchase instead of upon arrival in Singapore.
  • This change aims to level the playing field for local businesses and ensure fairness within the digital economy.

2. Abolition of Low-Value Goods Exemption:

  • Effective January 1, 2024: The GST exemption for imports by air or post valued below S$400 will be abolished.
  • This means that all imported goods by air or post, regardless of value, will be subject to GST starting from this date.
  • This change aims to simplify the GST administration process and ensure a consistent approach to GST application across all import channels.

3. GST on Imported Services:

  • Effective January 1, 2023: GST was extended to B2C imported non-digital services through the Overseas Vendor Registration regime.
  • This means that GST-registered suppliers must charge and account for GST on B2C non-digital services (in addition to digital services) made to customers in Singapore.
  • This change aims to bring non-digital imported services into line with the existing GST framework for digital services and ensure a level playing field for all businesses.

4. Transitional Rules:

  • There are transitional rules for businesses supplying non-digital services to consumers in Singapore before January 1, 2023.
  • These rules help businesses comply with the new GST requirements gradually.

What is the Import Duty Tax in Singapore?

In Singapore, import duty tax differs from the Goods and Services Tax (GST). While GST applies to most imported goods, import duty tax is only levied on specific categories.

Here’s a breakdown:

Import Duty Tax:

  • Applies to specific goods, including:
    • Alcoholic beverages (e.g., beer, wine, liquor)
    • Tobacco products (e.g., cigarettes, cigars)
    • Motor vehicles
    • Certain petroleum products
    • Luxury goods (e.g., watches, jewellery)
  • The rate varies depending on the type of sound and its origin.
  • Calculated on the CIF value (Cost, Insurance, and Freight).
  • Additional information on specific duty rates can be found on the Singapore Customs website:

Goods and Services Tax (GST):

  • Applies to most imported goods, regardless of category.
  • Currently at a prevailing rate of 8%.
  • Calculated on the CIF value.
  • This applies to all imported goods by air or post starting January 1, 2024, regardless of value.
  • Exceptions include:
    • Goods valued below S$400 imported by air or post (until December 31, 2023)
    • Specific exempt categories (e.g., medical products, educational materials)

Important notes:

  • You may be liable to pay both import duty tax and GST on certain goods.
  • It’s crucial to declare all imported goods to Customs, even if exempt from duty or GST.
  • Under-declaring value or underpaying taxes can result in penalties.