Import Procedures

All goods imported into Singapore are regulated under the Customs Act, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act and the Regulation of Imports and Exports Act.

Imported goods are subject to GST and/or duty payment. A customs permit is required to account for the import and tax payment of the goods.

Dutiable goods, which incur both GST and duty, are:

  • Intoxicating liquors
  • Tobacco products
  • Motor vehicles
  • Petroleum products

Ad valorem or specific duty rates may be applied for dutiable goods.

All other goods are non-dutiable and incur GST only. GST is levied at 7% of the CIF (cost, insurance and freight) value, which includes duties (if it is a dutiable good) and other charges, costs and expenses incidental to the sale and delivery of the goods into Singapore, whether or not shown on the invoice.

Find out more about duties and GST.

Import Requirements

Before the actual importation, the importer is required to obtain a customs permit.

The importer is the party who imports the goods into Singapore:

  • For their own account or use; or
  • For the account or use of some other person

If an overseas company sold goods to a local company and the commercial invoice indicates the local customer as the consignee, the local customer will be the importer of the goods.

More information here about the types of customs permits and situations where no customs permit is required.

Taxable companies should also check with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) on the arrangements to account for the GST.

Errors & Offences

Importers may be penalised if they do not comply with the requirements imposed under the Customs Act, the Regulation of Imports and Exports Act (RIEA), and their subsidiary legislation.

Best Practices

You are accountable as an importer or declaring agent for the import of goods. You are encouraged to observe the following Dos and Don’ts to improve your compliance with regulatory requirements.