The Bangkok Post reported that Thailand Revenue Department will allow five department stores to offer value-added tax (VAT) refund services for foreign tourists as a pilot project, a move meant to offer convenience to international shoppers.
With the tax refund service at department stores, foreign shoppers can claim a VAT refund at places where they buy products and services, said Prasong Poontaneat, director-general of the Revenue Department.
Most of the first five department stores providing the VAT refund service will be in Bangkok at Central Department Stores, Mr Prasong said, adding that the VAT refund service at department stores will be offered soon. Thailand levies a 7% VAT for purchases of goods and services.
There are 10 VAT refund points across the country, all at airports: Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi, Had Yai, Koh Samui, U-tapao, Surat Thani and Chiang Rai.
The number of foreign tourist arrivals showed strong growth of nearly 15% year-on-year to 7.11 million during January to February, while income from their spending jumped 17% to 384 billion baht.
International travellers to Thailand numbered 35 million and contributed 1.8 trillion baht in tourism income last year.
According to the newspaper, China has been the largest source of international arrivals to Thailand, with 9.8 million visitors in 2017, representing 28% of total arrivals. That figure is expected to exceed 10 million this year and pass 12 million next year.
According to the VAT refund process, foreign tourists must present tax refund forms that are available at customs offices, along with VAT receipts issued by shops participating in the VAT refund scheme and purchased items to customs officers to check and stamp on the forms when they are departing Thailand.
Tourists then submit documents at the VAT refund booth, located at airports.
The Revenue Department gives 5% VAT back to foreign tourists who claim tax refunds, while the remaining 2% are deducted for the department’s processing fee. To qualify for the VAT refund, each purchase claim must have a value of at least 2,000 baht.
(Source: Bangkok Post)