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Shopping at the Airport

Travel Forums General Talk Shopping at the Airport

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1. Posted by Duty_Free (Budding Member 7 posts) 10y

What is the maximum amount of money a traveller is allowed to spend at the airport duty-free shops?

2. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 10y

I've never come across a maximum anywhere, but it might depend on where you are shopping. Most maximums have to do with x litres of alcohol being allowed when entering a country or x kilos of carry on being allowed on the plane etc. etc.

3. Posted by Duty_Free (Budding Member 7 posts) 10y

I'm thinking of jewelry items, say about $20,000 each, say, Swiss-made. If I buy elsewhere it may be that amount locally, including tax, import duties, etc. Most air-travellers get to buy things duty-free as visitors. So if I pop-up at New York airport and buy a duty-free item for that amount, will there be any trouble? As I've learnt there's a capital control of a certain amount of cash that any person can carry. Will the duty-free shops at the airport accept credit card payments or bank transfers for purchases of that amount?

4. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 10y

If you're talking about New York airport, I don't think they will have any problems charging a credit card for that amount (bank transfer will not be possible I'm sure) as it must happen all the time. This is pending the fact of course that your credit card will allow it. Also, you're more likely to in fact get into probs whereever you are flying to as if the amount is large enough, you might have to claim it to bring it into the country.

5. Posted by Duty_Free (Budding Member 7 posts) 10y

you might have to claim it to bring it into the country.

I don't understand what that means.

There are 2 things I'm thinking of buying. One made in Germany and the other made in Switzerland. So I think if I buy them at the airports there, say Zurich, and wear them straight away, those are my personal belongings, like wearing my own clothes (people have to wear clothes).

I can buy similar items cheaper elsewhere, around half price or so, but not the latest designs.

6. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 10y

Quoting Duty_Free

you might have to claim it to bring it into the country.

I don't understand what that means.

There are 2 things I'm thinking of buying. One made in Germany and the other made in Switzerland. So I think if I buy them at the airports there, say Zurich, and wear them straight away, those are my personal belongings, like wearing my own clothes (people have to wear clothes).

I can buy similar items cheaper elsewhere, around half price or so, but not the latest designs.

In most countries goods and services taxes are applicable when you purchase things normally in the store. It's this same goods and services tax which isn't included at a duty free store, primarily because the thought behind the tax is that it should apply to citizens of that country, not tourists/travellers. However most countries don't just let you bring in tens of thousands of dollars worth of stuff you've bought in other countries (as it undermines their own goods and services tax) and legally speaking you should declare big purchases like this that you have made overseas. For example, if I buy a laptop overseas, I should pay tax on it when I take bring into Norway as the country where I live. This tax is usually the same as the goods and services tax of the country you are taking the product to (in Norway 25% for example). I'm not saying everyone does this (99% probably don't!), but if you take it into your home country AND they have clear limits on how much you are allowed to carry in like that and you're above these limits, it basically means you are smuggling it in.

It's not that unlogical really; compare it to buying a car overseas. Most people understand that if they buy a car in a country overseas where it is 50% cheaper they can't just drive it to their own country without paying some kind of tax on it.

For most purchases this doesn't really apply (clothes etc.), but when you're talking about big amounts like 20 000 USD, you'll probably be over the limits of what is allowed.

7. Posted by Duty_Free (Budding Member 7 posts) 10y

Let's say, I arrive at Zurich airport, bought the items I wanted, enjoy the scenery a bit at Zurich, have lunch or dinner or something at the hotel restaurants with some nice people discussing some mathematical figures, then I leave Zurich on a plane heading for Australia, wearing those things that I had bought at Zurich airport. Then from Australia I go back home, also wearing those things that I had bought at Zurich airport, which are by now no longer new, why would I have to declare anything?

8. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 10y

Singapore Customs

9. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 10y

Good link tway. That explains most of your questions...

Here's the bit that probably applies most to you:

Quoting "Singapore Customs website"


Eligibility for GST Relief

This section provides a guide to returning Singaporeans and persons transferring residence to Singapore on how to declare and clear their used household articles and personal effects imported in consignments.

These effects, other than liquors, tobacco products and motor vehicles, may be exempted from payment of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) upon importation. Customs duty and GST are leviable on the import of liquors, tobacco products and motor vehicles.
Under the Goods and Services Tax (Imports Relief) Order 1994, a person transferring residence to Singapore may be granted GST relief on his used household articles and personal effects (excluding liquors, tobacco products and motor vehicles) subject to the following conditions:

* that such person satisfies Customs that:
o he is changing his place of residence from outside Singapore;
o he is the owner of the articles and effects imported; and
o the articles and effects have been in his possession and used for a period of not less than 3 months;

* that the articles and effects are imported within 6 months of his first arrival in Singapore; and

* that such person gives an undertaking not to dispose of the articles and effects within 3 months from the date of importation of such articles and effects.

For returning Singaporeans, they must have resided in a foreign country for not less than 6 months to qualify for GST relief on their used household articles and personal effects.

'New' is obviously a debatable term and according to SG law it has to be at least 3 months. Now of course you could just wear it and walk into the country through the 'nothing to declare' aisle. Chances are good it wouldn't give you any problems as they rarely (if ever) check on this kind of items. But it's still illegal ...

10. Posted by Duty_Free (Budding Member 7 posts) 10y

If the conditions "at least 3 months" and "must have resided in a foreign country for not less than 6 months" are satisfied, why should it be illegal?

As for "not to dispose of the articles and effects within 3 months", anyone with business sense would know if you buy something new and try to sell it immediately you won't get the price which you had paid for it, ie. you will make a loss if you sell it within that period, it's second hand, when it's a second hand good it's a second hand good.

And for cars? If you live in a place where the richest area is within a radius of about 5 km, would you want to buy a fast car there? If you walk, it talks 20 minutes to reach the shopping area, if you drive you start the engine, go through horrible traffic jams often, find a parking space, pay for fuel, possibity of getting fined, etc etc. and it takes 30 or more minutes to reach the shopping area by car, would you think of buying a car? And just think, if you speed 30 minutes from the airport you speed into the ocean, would you want to buy a car?