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Paying tax on eBay purchases

New Goods and Services Tax (GST) rules for buyers in Singapore

As of 1 January 2023, low-value goods (i.e., goods with an item value up to and including S$400) and B2C non-digital services that are imported into Singapore are subject to GST.

GST is a broad-based consumption tax levied on the import of goods, as well as nearly all supplies of goods and services in Singapore. In other countries, GST is known as Value-Added Tax or VAT.

Many countries and jurisdictions around the world apply some type of tax on consumer purchases, including items bought on eBay. Whether the tax is included in the listing price, added at checkout, charged at the border, or paid directly by the buyer depends on the buyer's status, the order price, the item's location, and your shipping address.

Effective 1 January 2023, the Ministry of Finance will implement significant changes to how GST is collected on low-value goods (i.e., goods with an item value up to and including S$400) and B2C non-digital services that are imported to Singapore.

eBay is complying with local laws and as of 1 January 2023 will begin collecting and remitting GST to the responsible tax authorities.

eBay is obligated to collect GST on goods sold through eBay to Singapore buyers under the following circumstances:

  • goods imported into Singapore with an item value up to and including S$400
  • B2C non-digital services imported into Singapore

If an order fits either of these criteria, eBay will collect GST from the buyer based on their delivery address (for physical goods and registration address (for B2C non-digital services). The GST collected will be remitted to the responsible tax authorities by eBay.

For more information on these new requirements, refer to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) website.

How GST is calculated

If you're buying goods located outside Singapore and you select a Singapore delivery address, eBay will add GST to the total at checkout or include GST as part of the listing. The seller receives payment for the order (item price + postage costs), and eBay remits the GST to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).

GST is calculated based on the buyer’s primary ship to address and can change at checkout based on the actual ship to address.

If GST was collected by eBay, you can view and download a tax invoice from the Order details page in your Purchase history.

If you are a buyer in Singapore you don’t need to do anything. All GST obligations will be automatically applied during the purchase flow.

  • You will see final GST-inclusive pricing at Checkout or GST applied. Depending on what site items are purchased on GST may show as a separate line item at checkout.
  • In cases when eBay is responsible for collecting GST on orders sent to a Singapore delivery address, this amount will also be shown separately in the issued tax invoice.

eBay is obligated to collect GST on the full value of the transaction including transportation & insurance costs, as they are considered part of the total purchase. The GST on the transportation & insurance charges is applied at the same rate as to the item(s) in the shipment.

eBay won’t collect GST in the following circumstance:

  • When the item location is Singapore and delivery location is Singapore. For B2C non-digital services, we will use the seller's registration address to determine item location, and the buyer’s registration address to determine location of use
  • Imported goods valued above S$400. In practice, the recipient pays import GST to the shipping agent as part of customs clearance
  • When the buyer is GST-registered and provides their valid GST registration number to eBay. In these cases, eBay will not collect GST and instead the responsibility to account for GST will switch to the GST-registered buyer. Buyers can submit their GST number, and it will need to be verified before their account is exempt
  • When the transaction involves imported excise goods such as intoxicating liquor or tobacco products

Refunded purchases

If you pay tax on your purchase through eBay and you get a refund for your order, you'll also get a refund for the proportionate amount of tax. For example, if you receive a full refund, you'll get the entire tax back. If you receive a 50% partial refund, you'll get 50% of the tax back. Any refunds processed outside of eBay are not eligible for a tax refund.

If you paid import taxes or duty as part of clearing your parcel through customs but you then returned the item, please contact the customs authority regarding a refund of the charges.

To request a GST refund on a completed order, please login and upload proof of overpayment.

Information on custom duties

eBay makes it easy to purchase items from virtually anywhere in the world, removing obstacles between buyer and seller.

International shipments into Singapore may be subject to custom duties and import tax. The custom duty varies by the type of item being imported into Singapore. For more information, refer to the Singapore Customs site.

If you ordered an item from outside Singapore in December 2022 or earlier, and the order has not been delivered by 31 January 2023, the order may be subject to GST and you may need to pay GST at the time of delivery.

If eBay collects tax on your eBay purchase, you'll see this indicated on the listing page and the tax amount will be shown on the checkout page, before you pay.

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