Fake News alert : Taxes on Masks



This photo has been circulating on Facebook and Whatsapp



Some Fb groups had stated that someone bought masks from overseas and it taxed on it. It was implied that customs had specifically targeted travellers with surgical masks purchase from overseas and start charging GST. Some of these websites also stated that masks are now taxable.



The Real Deal



This was posted. The tag line states that Coronavirus and Law is the Law.

The original poster stated that he was made to paid taxes on the masks he bought. From the invoice, it was taxed at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (POS Desc: TMFT Duty Office). The tax payable was 25.20. Working backwards, the goods that were bought in would be around $360. This would mean that each box is a whopping $51.4.  At $51.4 per box, this is probably N95 masks or very expensive surgical mask.

The reference of Law is Law would probably refer to paying GST for overseas purchases. According to Singapore Customs, the following applies

Time Spent Away from Singapore
Value of Goods Granted GST Relief*
48 hours or more
S$500
Less than 48 hours
S$100


Thus, from the scenario, it is very possible that the buyer was out of Singapore for less than 48 hours and thus have taxes charged on his purchase because the amount was more than $100. This applies to ALL goods and not just masks bought into Singapore. A point to note was that the original poster DID NOT state that there is a new law that specifically taxes masks. Still, there are many who spins the story to one that implies a tax on masks is implemented in Singapore

In any case, do note the announcement from HSA. Importing of surgical masks and other equipment like thermometer will now be regulated. You would have to declare your purchases before bringing it into Singapore. This is a fact, not fake news.


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