Vietnam to offer tax refunds for tourists

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The government has decided to pilot a value-added-tax refund scheme for foreign visitors in July in an attempt to boost sales of local products.

Foreigners who make purchases in Vietnam and leave the country via Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi or Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City will receive VAT reimbursements, according to statement on the government's website.

The goods are required to be brand new and not on the list of prohibited items. A valid invoice with a value of at least VND2 million (US$95) and a tax claim statement are required.

Commercial banks selected to handle the tax repayments are allowed to charge a service fee of up to 15 percent of the refund value. The refund will be made in Vietnam dong and can be converted to other currencies accordingly.

The pilot program will last from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2014. Retailers must register with the authorities to join the scheme, the government said in the statement.

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