Yes, Singapore’s GST is going up. But that means we just have to be smarter with our overseas spending. Here are some countries to visit to benefit the most.
Not happy that goods and services tax (GST) is increasing in Singapore? Then visit these countries with low VAT or GST to enjoy savings.
Of course, this can’t be helped when it comes to everyday goods and services that we all use. But when it comes to big ticket items like luxury handbags, watches, your overall shopping needs and even electronics, perhaps you can consider buying them in these countries instead.
Here are countries with low VAT or GST that can help you save a little when shopping:
1. Malaysia (6%)
Our lovely neighbour, just a stone’s throw away, enjoys a lower GST of only 6%. Plus, with the country’s relatively weaker currency, you sometimes get to save up to 3 times on your expenditure!
What you should spend on while in Malaysia to enjoy plenty of savings: watching movies, getting your hair done, dental services, grocery shopping, buying household items and furniture. Just be sure that the value of the items you bring into Singapore each time is lower than what you’ll need to pay local tax for!
2. Japan (8%)
After our current GST is raised to 9%, Japan wins us out with their lower tax rate of 8%.
What to buy in Japan: Love Uniqlo, Muji, Royce and all the other popular Japanese brands that we can find sprinkled around Singapore? You’ll definitely save a lot of money buying it from its home country PLUS pay less in VAT. And you might even get to claim your VAT back at the airport.
3. Kuwait (4%)
Living costs in Kuwait are already 5% lower than that of Singapore. Add on the fact that you get to save another 5% in GST, and you’ll be raking in all those sweet, sweet savings. Boy, don’t we love countries with low VAT or GST!
4. Myanmar (5%)
Thanks to AirAsia and other low-cost airlines in the region, we have easy access to ASEAN all the time. Myanmar is also a developing country, making it one of the best places for Singaporeans to travel to, to enjoy lower taxes and cheaper costs for shopping.
5. Nigeria (5%)
If you’re ever visiting Africa, then head to Nigeria to enjoy a low rate of GST. Though the cities of Lagos and Abuja are known to be expensive for the locals to live in, for travellers, it is still fairly affordable.
6. Panama (7%)
If you’re going to be travelling as far as Panama, you will not want to be buying things like groceries, electronics or even clothes. Duty-free shopping at the airport is a good idea but if you’re out and about in town, things are still generally very affordable.
7. Oman, Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia (5%)
It seems the Middle East is oil rich enough that they don’t need to additional income from GST. So when you’re visiting the Middle East, it’s a good time to splurge since GST is lower and things are generally quite affordable there.
8. Switzerland (8%)
Sure, the country has lower tax than Singapore, but its cost of living is about 30% higher! So this country is the only one on the list that might not be the best to visit if you’re looking to save money.
9. Taiwan (5%)
Taiwan is known for its amazing night markets, a wide variety of snacks and food, as well as affordable fashion. Eating out in Taiwan is also pretty inexpensive, especially with only 5% tax. No wonder it is a destination many Singaporeans love!
10. Thailand (7%)
If you’re shopping in Thailand, chances are you will be spending your money in places that don’t charge GST — like night markets, Chatuchak weekend market and more. These places only take cash and you probably won’t see a receipt. But on top of the cheap shopping at these hotspots, Thailand’s GST is only 7%, which means that if you do decide to shop at branded outlets and eat at fancy restaurants, you won’t be paying that much in taxes.
11. United States (0%-9.45%)
Depending on what state you are in, you may or may not be subject to GST in the US. Each state is given the freedom to impose sales tax on goods sold. Delaware, Montana, Oregon, and New Hampshire are the four states that do not impose any tax.
But the highest average combined state-local sales tax rates are Tennessee (9.45 percent), Arkansas (9.26 percent), Alabama (8.91 percent), Louisiana (8.91 percent), and Washington (8.89 percent). So as long as you avoid the states with high taxes, you can be sure that you will see some savings.
Featured photo: Pixabay
Do you think it makes sense for Singaporeans to travel to these countries with low VAT or GST to save money while shopping? Let us know in the comments.
Read more articles on tax here.