For those of you in Singapore thinking of getting a Zaurus shipped from Japan or any other country for that matter, here's some info you might find useful:
1. Anything shipped from overseas above S$400 is subject to 5% GST. (there are a few exceptions, but they don't apply to a zaurus).
2. The 5% GST is computed based on the CIF value (cost, insurance & freight) plus the duties payable. Luckily, duties and import taxes are not applicable for the zaurus. If the CIF is more than $400, you have to pay GST.
3. The ICA (Immigarations and Checkpoint Authority) will detain your package (if it is valued at more than S$400) when it arrives, until you pay the GST.
4. How will the ICA know if the package CIF value is more than $400? Well, some packages have their value declared on it. The ICA will also ask you for an invoice (emails are also accepted) to confirm the value.
5. A way to avoid paying GST might be to ask the seller to underdeclare the value of the zaurus so that it is less than $400. Of course, this is illegal, and I'm not how this will affect the insurance of the package. Another way is to ask the seller to not include the insurance and shipping costs on the package and invoice.
6. You cannot avoid paying GST even if the package is stated as a gift. The ICA will ask you to try to get an invoice from the person who sent the "gift" to you, or get a reasonable estimate. It's kind of ridiculous that you have to pay for your own presents.
7. You don't have to pay GST if you personally bring the zaurus in from overseas. Doe anyone else find it strange that you have to pay GST if the product was shipped to your home, whereas you don't have to pay GST if you bring it in yourself, even though in both cases, the transaction was made overseas?
8. I will say this again: you have to pay GST for _anything_ above $400 shipped from overseas. Even if you can convince the authorities that it is for your personal use and you are not going to resell it. Even free gifts that come with your purchase are subject to GST. Even after paying the GST, getting your package, discovering that the machine is faulty, and after the overseas seller agreed to ship you a new machine as a replacement free of charge......you still have to pay GST for the replacement.
You can find more information about customs, duties and GST at the FAQ in www.customs.gov.sg. You can also phone the Call Centre at 6355 2000.
Hope this is useful for potential buyers in Singapore.