Goods, with the exception of liquor and tobacco, are allowed to be imported for repairs and other approved purposes such as stage performance, testing, experiments and demonstration without payment of duty and/or GST on condition that they are re-exported within 6 months from the date of importation. If the goods are not re-exported after the expiry of the given period, duty and/or GST will become payable.
If controlled goods are to be imported for under this Scheme, prior approval must be obtained from the various Competent Authorities in Singapore. Any controlled goods found to have been imported without authorization from the appropriate Competent Authority will be impounded or detained by Customs and referred to the appropriate Competent Authority.
For further details on procedures on Temporary Importation for Exhibitions, Auctions & Fairs, events, please click here.
For further details on procedures on Temporary Importation for Repairs & Other Approved Purposes, please click here.
For further details on procedures on Temporary Import or Export of Items for Activities, please click here.
For information on Customs Circular(s) on Temporary Import Scheme, please refer to the links below:
Circular No 03/2012 (Extension of temporary import period to 6 months)
Circular No 10/2009 (Temporary Importation of motor vehicles for repairs)
Circular No 26/2000 (Revision of BG Quantum for Temporary Importation for repair & others)
Errors and Offences
The key offences and corresponding penalties under the Customs Act relating to the Temporary Import Scheme are as follows:
Penalty Upon Conviction
Section 27(1)(c) of the Customs Act:
Failure to comply with conditions imposed by the Director-General for the removal of dutiable goods from customs control.
A fine not exceeding $5,000.
Section 128(1)(a) of the Customs Act:
Making an incorrect declaration.
A fine not exceeding $10,000, or the equivalent of the customs duty, excise duty or GST payable, whichever is the greater; or imprisonment not exceeding 12 months; or both.
In lieu of prosecution, Singapore Customs may compound the abovementioned offences for a sum not exceeding $5,000 per offence.
Below are examples of past errors and offences committed by traders and their declaring agents under the Temporary Import Scheme.
Failure to Re-export Goods before the Temporary Importation End-date
Case 1: Company A imported 13 units of video equipment for an event at a convention centre under the Temporary Import Scheme. The company produced the re-export permit and the goods at the Customs checkpoint for clearance within the validity period of the re-export permit. However, as these were produced for clearance after the temporary importation end-date, the company had committed an offence under Section 27(1)(c) of the Customs Act. The company was thus compounded for this offence.
Case 2: Company B imported 3 units of welding machines for repairs under the Temporary Import Scheme. As the machines were beyond repair, they were not re-exported and the company submitted a ‘Duty and/or GST’ payment permit to pay GST, after the temporary importation end-date. The company had thus committed an offence under Section 27(1) (c) of the Customs Act and was compounded.
Case 3: Company C imported jewelleries under ATA Carnet for display at its retail stores and was given a period of 3 months from the date of importation to re-export the jewelleries. Due to good response from its customers, Company C decided to extend the display of the imported jewelleries beyond the due date for re-exportation but forgot to request for an extension of the ATA Carnet. Company C had therefore committed an offence under Section 27(1)(c) of the Customs Act for failing to extend the re-exportation due date and was compounded.
Failure to Apply for Customs Supervision for Temporary Imported Goods
Case 1: Company D imported measuring instruments for repair. After repair, a Customs Outward permit (OUT (TCR), with prefix “OO”) was declared to cover the export of the containerised goods. One of the permit conditions was the D6 condition which states that “An E-file application must be made to Company Compliance Branch for supervision of stuffing/unstuffing of container, (website: http://eservices.customs.gov.sg/scripts/customs/supervision/supermenu.asp)”. However, the company shipped out the goods without complying with the said condition and was compounded for committing an offence under Section 27(1)(c) of the Customs Act.
Case 2: Company E applied for a local ATA Carnet with Singapore International Chamber of Commerce to export their professional calibration equipment out of Singapore as conventional cargo via the Changi Air Cargo Complex. Prior to exportation, Company E did not apply for supervision with Singapore Customs at least 24 hours before the packing of the goods intended for export. Company E had committed an offence under Section 27(1)(c) of the Customs Act and was compounded.
Failure to Produce Goods under Temporary Import Scheme for Customs Clearance/Endorsement
Case 1: Company F imported 5 units of oilfield equipment for repairs. The goods were re-exported under a Customs Outward permit (OUT (TCR) permit, with the permit prefix “OO”) by road to Malaysia. An H1 condition (“The goods must be produced together with this permit, invoices, BL/AWB, etc for Customs clearance/endorsement at Woodlands Checkpoint/Tuas Checkpoint”) was imposed on the permit. However, the haulier had failed to produce the goods and permit for endorsement at the Checkpoint. The declaring agent was compounded for having committed an offence under Section 27(1)(c) of the Customs Act.
Case 2: Company G imported a camera for filming purpose in Singapore under the ATA Carnet. The camera was hand carried through the Changi Airport. After immigration clearance, Company G did not proceed to the Singapore Customs Duty Office for endorsement of the ATA Carnet and headed straight for the exit. Company G had thought that the endorsement could be done after the exit point. Company G was compounded for committing an offence under Section 27(1)(c) of the Customs Act.
Failure to Apply for Customs Outward Permit
Company H imported 2 units of equipment for repair. It applied for a Customs Inward permit (In-Non-Payment (TCR) permit, with the permit prefix “II”) and was approved with a condition: “Goods must be re-exported under a Customs “OO”, “OU”, or “XO” permit before the stipulated deadline or within 6 months for qualifying goods under USSFTA. Otherwise duty/GST will be recovered. Goods must be re-exported by the temporary importation end date”. The company’s declaring agent overlooked the said condition and applied for an OUT (Direct) permit, which resulted in a permit with the “OD” prefix instead, to re-export the goods. Thus, the declaring agent was compounded for committing an offence under Section 27(1)(c) of the Customs Act.
Making an Incorrect Declaration
Company I temporarily imported goods for exhibition/auction with sales and submitted a Customs Inward permit (In-Non-Payment (TCS), with permit prefix “II”). The goods were re-exported after the exhibition, using the wrong Customs Outward permit which is meant for Temporary export/re-imported goods (OUT (TCI), with permit prefix “OO”) to cover the re-export of the goods. The correct Customs Outward permit which should have been declared is an OUT (TCS), with permit prefix “OO”. Therefore, an offence of incorrect declaration under Section 128(1)(a) of the Customs Act was committed by the declaring agent and he was compounded for the offence.
Traders and declaring agents are accountable for the goods imported under the Temporary Import Scheme and they are encouraged to follow the Dos and Don’ts below.
ü Conduct regular briefing sessions to remind staff and clients on the requirements of the Temporary Import Scheme.
ü Check if there are goods controlled by any Competent Authority (CA) and if so, to seek prior approval from the CA for the temporary import of the goods.
ü Ensure that sufficient Banker’s Guarantee (BG) is lodged to account for the total temporary import period declared.
ü Ensure that goods brought in under the Temporary Import Scheme are re-exported no later than the temporary importation end-date as indicated in the approved Customs Inward permit conditions; or the final date allowed for re-exportation/re-importation under the ATA Carnet.
ü Ensure that the permit conditions such as those stated below are complied with:
o A3 condition - “The goods must be produced with this permit, invoices, BL/AWB, etc for Customs endorsement at an Airport Customs checkpoint or designated Customs office or station as required”.
o A1 condition - “The goods must be produced with this permit, invoices, BL/AWB, etc for Customs endorsement at a Free Trade Zone “In” Gate”.
o D6 condition - “An E-file application must be made to Company Compliance Branch for supervision of stuffing/unstuffing of container (website link: http://www.customs.gov.sg)”.
o H1 condition - “The goods must be produced together with this permit, invoices, BL/AWB, etc for Customs clearance/endorsement at Woodlands Checkpoint/Tuas Checkpoint”.
ü Ensure that the correct permit type is declared to cover the goods to be re-exported under the Temporary Import Scheme and that the exports are proven by way of relevant invoices, bill of ladings/ air waybills.
ü Ensure that there are sufficient number of vouchers and counterfoils attached together with the ATA Carnet to cover the movement of the goods.
ü Ensure that there are proper endorsement on the front page and counterfoils of the ATA Carnet.
r Remove any GST suspended goods for export or local consumption without the proper permits.
r Remove Customs Seal that is affixed to the container containing goods imported under Temporary Import Scheme. Company is required to apply to Singapore Customs for supervision of unstuffing of such “sealed” containers.
r Sell goods brought in under ATA Carnet beyond the due date for re-exportation unless GST has been paid.
r Remove counterfoils and the front page from the ATA Carnet upon clearance for goods.
Frequently Asked Questions
For FAQs on Temporary Import Scheme matters, click here.
For Circulars on customs matters, click here.
For e-learning to the ‘Guide to Customs Procedures’, click here.