Export Used Cars


The term export means sending of goods or services produced in one country to another country. The seller of such goods and services is referred to as an exporter; the foreign buyer is referred to as an importer.

Goods exported from Singapore are regulated under the Customs Act, the Regulation of Imports and Exports Act, the Strategic Goods (Control) Act, and other legislation by the relevant Competent Authorities. To export goods from Singapore, you are required to declare the goods to Singapore Customs.

In general, exporters must apply for the relevant Customs export permits before exporting goods from Singapore. Permit is required for the following cases

  •  Export of locally manufactured goods or local GST-paid goods
  • Export of goods from the Free Trade Zone (FTZ)
  • Export of dutiable goods from a licensed warehouse
  • Export of non-dutiable goods from a zero-GST warehouse, and goods under the Major Exporter Scheme
  • Re-export of goods imported under the Temporary Import Scheme
  • Temporary export of goods intended to be re-imported


Strategic goods are goods which you are not allowed to export, import or transit to certain countries or only under certain conditions. In the case of strategic goods the permit needs to be submitted five days before the export. For all other goods, the permit needs to be submitted before export. For goods under Hand carried Export Scheme, the export permit needs to be submitted within 3 working days after export.IN the case of bulk petroleum and chemicals, the permit needs to be given within ten working days after the date of vessels departure.

Before exporting goods it is required to be checked if the goods are prohibited for export or are subject to any control

 PERMIT EXEMPTIONS for Export Used Cars

Certain goods do not require a permit; the following are the exempted items;

  • Parcel post
  • Documents
  • Personal or household effects, except motor vehicles, accompanying the passenger (as hand-carried or checked-in luggage) for own use by land, sea or air
  • Trade samples, specimens for analysis or test, and gifts, not exceeding S$400 in total value
  • Goods exported by air (as manifested cargoes or hand-carried goods) not exceeding S$1,000 in total value.[2]
  • Locally sourced stores loaded for use on board the vessel (including oil rig) and aircraft

REQUIREMENTS to Export Used Cars

To export goods from Singapore, you will need to:

  • Register with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), or the relevant Unique Entity Number (UEN) issuance agency, to obtain a UEN; and
  • Activate your Customs Account

After activating your Customs Account, you may:

  • Appoint a declaring agent to apply for Customs permits on your behalf; or
  • Apply for Customs permits for your own shipment or on behalf of your clients. To do so, you need to register as a declaring agent and apply for a TradeNet user ID.


The following are the documents to be retained for at least 5 years from the date of Customs permit approval

  • Invoices
  • Books of accounts
  • Bill of lading
  • Packing lists
  • Certificate of origin
  • Certificate of analysis
  • Certificate of insurance
  • Any document or record on the terms of trade relating to the purchase, import, sale or export of the goods by the importer or exporter or his agent
  • Other relevant documents or records

For containerised cargo, you will need to produce the cargo with the approved Customs export permit and other supporting documents to the checkpoint officers if it is specified in the permit conditions or if the cargo is dutiable or controlled

For conventional cargo and hand-carried goods, you will need to produce the cargo with the approved Customs export permit and other supporting documents to the checkpoint officers if it is specified in the permit conditions or if the cargo is dutiable or controlled.


Exporters may be penalized if they do not comply with the requirements and conditions imposed under the Customs Act, the Regulation of Imports and Exports Act (RIEA), and their subsidiary legislation such as the Regulation of Imports and Exports Regulations (RIER).

For minor offences, Singapore Customs may compound offences for a sum not more than S$5,000 per offence. Offenders may be prosecuted if they do not pay the composition sums. Offenders may also be prosecuted if the offence committed is of a fraudulent or serious nature.

The following are the errors that can be committed;

  • Declaring the wrong value of items on the export permit
  • Failure to make a declaration of goods  exported from  Singapore
  • Failure to produce documents upon request by Singapore Customs
  • Failure to produce licence or permit
  • Making a false declaration

GST on Export Used Cars

GST will be charged at 0% for your supply of goods based on the time of supply of exports ie when an invoice is issued or when payment is received.

Direct and Indirect Exports

Direct Exports

These are exports where you have the custody of the goods and the control of export arrangement vests with you. These exports can be zero rated provided all the necessary documents are maintained within 60 days

Indirect Exports

Indirect exports are exports wherein you do not have custody of the goods and you have no control over the export arrangement. It will be treated as a local sale and GST will be charged accordingly. The goods in indirect exports can be zero rated if you are sure that the goods will be exported and the required documents are maintained to support the zero-rating.

60-Day Rule for Exported Goods

When exporting goods, you have  a period of sixty days to export the goods and prepare the necessary documents.  If the documents cannot be obtained within the sixty day period , the goods have to be considered as a standard supply and GST needs to be charged accordingly.

Documents for Zero-rating under Export Used Cars

A supply will be treated as zero rated if the supplier at the time of supply is able to ascertain that the goods are supplied will be exported. In the following cases the supplies are zero rated;

  1. Local supplier exports goods via his freight forwarder or handling agent and invoices his overseas customer
  2. Local supplier supplies goods to overseas customer in one of the neighbouring countries The goods are delivered by sea via boats/ small vessels operated by shipping companies
  3. Local supplier delivers goods out of Singapore on the instruction of its local customer (Z) and invoices the customer

The supplier can zero rate his supplies if the required documents are submitted and provided.

The following are the documents to be maintained for zero rating supplies

  • Delivery note/packing list endorsed by the freight forwarder/handling agent with:
  • a statement stating that “goods delivered are for export”
  • name, address and GST registration number. (if applicable) of the freight forwarder/handling agent
  • date of collection of goods
  • Evidence of payment received from your customer
  • Insurance documents (if applicable) with details of the shipment
  • Purchase order from your customer
  • Sales invoice to your customer
  • Written instructions from your customer to deliver the goods to his freight forwarder/handling agent
  • Apart from this transport documents also need to be maintained. 

Goods hand-carried out of Singapore

When a supplier hand carries goods from Singapore through air, land or sea, he may not have the necessary documents to support the zero rating. IN this case, the comptroller may at his own discretion conclude that the goods are zero rated provided the requirements under the hand Carried Export Scheme is fulfilled.

A local supplier when he sells goods to a tourist and who will bring the goods out of Singapore via the Changi International Airport, can use the Tourist Refund Scheme to allow the tourist to obtain a GST refund on the goods purchased.

Situations where supplies of goods do not qualify for zero-rating in Export Used cars

There are instances where a local supplier may deliver to his local customer.The local customer promises to export the goods for the supplier and also promises to provide the transport documents keeping the supplier as the exporter.In this case, GST will be charged on a standard rate supply for the goods transacted between the local supplier and his customer.The local customer on exporting the goods to another customer, claim the GST charged by the supplier as his input tax.

IN another instance, the local supplier may sell goods to the overseas customer. The goods will be delivered to the warehouse of the freight forwarder of the customer. Upon the customer’s instructions the freight forwarder will deliver the goods to the customer’s customers who may be located overseas. In this case , supplier is making supplies to the customer and the customer in turn to other customers. Since the export of the goods is not known, the supplier has to standard rate his supplies. 

Consolidated Exports –  Export Used Cars

When the freight forwarder consolidates the local supplier’s goods, it is required to maintain the following documents to support zero-rating.The required documents are;

1.Purchase order

2.Sales Invoice

3.Delivery note/ Packing list

4.Statement stating Goods delivered are for export

5.Date of collection of goods

6.Name, address and GST registration number of the freight forwarder

7.Insurance documents documents

8.Evidence of payments


If there is any change in your company data, ensure to inform the Singapore customs to update the information. It is important to know the export procedures and declaration requirements before you export. Ensure that all the supporting documents are maintained; ensure that all the requirements are fulfilled.

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