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Revenue Department to Hike Tourist Vat Refund to 30,000 Baht

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The Revenue Department plans to expand cash payment services for VAT refunds to tourists at 10 international airports nationwide. The additional eight airports are Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, Hat Yai, Krabi, Samui, U-tapao and Surat Thani. Presently VAT refunds are only offered at Bangkok’s two airports.

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Thailand’s Revenue Department is set to raise the ceiling for value-added tax (VAT) refunds for tourists. from 12,000 baht per traveller to to 30,000 baht per traveller.

The Revenue Department plans to expand cash payment services for VAT refunds to tourists at 10 international airports nationwide. The additional eight airports are Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, Hat Yai, Krabi, Samui, U-tapao and Surat Thani. Presently VAT refunds are only offered at Bangkok’s two airports.

The Revenue Department will also soon allow foreign tourists to claim VAT refunds by cash at downtown agents.

The amended regulations will comply with economic ministers’ intention to provide more convenience for foreign visitors.

The director-general of the Revenue Department, said recently that the department might open applications for permanent downtown VAT refund agents after satisfactory outcomes during a trial run, with 10% higher sales from VAT-free shops to tourists.

During the one-year trial, which ended last month. Each of the five VAT Refund  agents was allowed to open up to five locations in Bangkok for the service. Chinese, Singaporean and Taiwanese tourists were found to be the top three nationalities using downtown VAT refund services.

Downtown Refund Shops

Claimants must depart from Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang airports within 14 days of the downtown VAT refund claim. Goods must be taken out of the country within 60 days of the date of purchase.

Before the trial run for VAT refund agents, some 2 million foreign tourists reclaimed sales tax of 2-3 billion baht a year.

To be eligible to claim a VAT refund, foreign tourists must spend at least 2,000 baht per store per day. Tourists are required to present expensive items such as watches; pens, smartphones, jewellery, bags, belts and laptops to revenue officials after clearing immigration. This is to ensure that these products are taken out of Thailand.

Claimants who buy goods in Thailand worth up to 5,000 baht will no longer have to show the purchased products at customs checkpoint in airports.

“The cash payment for VAT refunds at downtown agents not only facilitates convenience for tourists, but also boosts the tourism sector, as they are expected to use money incurred from VAT refunds to purchase additional goods and this will result in a multiplier effect in the economic system,” Mr Pinsai said.

News Source: Bangkok Post