115 TRAVELLERS CAUGHT FOR NOT DECLARING DUTIABLE AND TAXABLE GOODS BROUGHT INTO SINGAPORE
Singapore, 29 May 2023 – In their recent joint-enforcement operation at Changi Airport from 15 to 21 May 2023, Singapore Customs (Customs) and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) have found 115 travellers who have failed to declare and pay duties and Goods and Services Tax (GST) on (i) cigarettes and tobacco products,
(ii) liquors in excess of their duty-free allowance and
(iii) taxable goods exceeding their GST import relief allowance. The total amount of duty and GST recovered was $18,491 and the total composition sum (penalty) imposed was close to $28,000.
“It is the responsibility of all arriving travellers to make an accurate and complete declaration of all dutiable and taxable items in their possession upon arrival.
It is an offence to evade taxes and duties and travellers may end up paying more as penalties. When in doubt, they can refer to Customs website or check with our officers at the checkpoints. We urge everyone to declare and pay for their purchases truthfully,” said Ms Sung Pik Wan, Senior Assistant Director-General (Checkpoints),
The operation saw enhanced checks on in-bound travellers at the Arrival Halls of all Changi Airport Terminals. Luggage of arriving travellers were inspected for any undeclared dutiable and taxable goods, as well as any prohibited or controlled goods. The following were some detections for which composition sums were issued:
a) A male Singaporean was caught with five undeclared luxury bags that he and his girlfriend purchased overseas. The five bags were valued at $13,825 and the amount of GST involved was $1,106.
b) A female Singaporean was found with one undeclared luxury watch and one luxury bag, with a total value of $5,637. The amount of GST involved was $450.96.
c) A male foreigner was found with six packets of undeclared cigarettes wrapped in a “Happy Birthday” foil wrapper.
d) A male Employment Pass Holder was found to have falsely declared a bottle of whisky as GST goods using the Customs@SG application to avoid payment of excise duty of $15.14.
We will continue to conduct such joint-enforcement operations regularly as part of our ongoing efforts to ensure compliance with Singapore’s customs and tax laws; as well as to ensure the security of our borders.
Under the Customs Act, any person who is in any way concerned in any fraudulent evasion of, or attempt to fraudulently evade, any customs duty or excise duty shall be guilty of an offence and will be liable on conviction to a fine of up to 20 times the amount of duty and GST evaded or jailed for up to two years.
To avoid the hefty penalties and for their own convenience, we strongly encourage travellers to make an advance declaration and payment for their dutiable or GST goods up to three days prior to their arrival in Singapore, using the Customs@SG Web Application. Those intending to pay for their dutiable and taxable
items upon arrival may do so at our Customs Tax Payment Office at the various checkpoints.
If they are unsure of the applicable GST import relief entitlements or duty-free allowances, they may also consult Singapore Customs officers at the Customs Tax Payment Office. Members of the public can obtain more information by calling the Singapore Customs hotline on 6355 2000, or referring to our website here https://go.gov.sg/customs-guide-for-arriving-travellers.
For a smooth and hassle-free arrival experience, we would like to remind all travellers to strictly abide by Singapore’s customs and immigration laws as failure to comply may result in penalties and prosecution. The Singapore authorities adopt a zero-tolerance stance on any illegal activities. ICA will continue to conduct security checks at the checkpoints and work with relevant authorities to safeguard our land, air and sea borders against crime and security threats, including smuggling activities and non-compliance with our regulations.