Singapore GST – 5 Tourists were arrested for Fraudulent GST Refund Claims

It was reported in the IRAS’ website on 2 February 2017 that 5 foreign individuals were arrested on 1 February 2017 by IRAS’ investigators for engaging in a conspiracy to claim fraudulent GST refunds under the electronic tourist refund scheme (“eTRS“). The eTRS claims were made for jewelry that the accused persons did not personally purchase.

This was the result of a joint operation by IRAS and Singapore Customs on 27 May 2016 where the accused persons were caught red-handed making fraudulent GST refund claims at Changi Airport. They will be charged in court and each of these accused persons will face over 200 charges of engaging in a conspiracy to claim fraudulent GST refunds amounting to approximately $167,253.

Modus Operandi of GST Refund Claim Fraud

In a GST refund claim fraud scenario, the accused person, masquerading as a “tourist” would pay local customers (who are not entitled to the eTRS refund) for their jewelry invoices. With these invoices and using his passport, the “tourist” would then obtain eTRS tickets from the respective shops and, subsequently claim eTRS GST cash refunds at a port of departure.

What does this mean to you?

IRAS takes a serious view on such fraudulent GST refund claims and will not hesitate to take stern enforcement action against these individuals and any persons assisting them.

Anyone who commits the offense of willful intent to make a false GST refund claim or, assist any other person to make such false claim faces a penalty of up to 3 times the amount of refund wrongfully claimed and a fine not exceeding $10,000, and/or imprisonment of up to 7 years.

If you have any questions regarding the above, please contact


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