Vietnam looks to boost tax refunds to foreigners with new draft

Thanh Nien News

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Foreign tourists seek information about VAT refunds at a customs counter at Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat International Airport  / FILE PHOTO
A draft circular introduced by the Ministry of Finance will offer foreign visitors better access to value-added tax refunds by opening more airport refund booths and duty-free shops.
The booths will open at Danang airport, Cam Ranh Airport (Nha Trang) and a number of international seaports, Thoi bao Kinh te Sai Gon (Saigon Times) reported Thursday.
Such booths currently provide VAT refunds at Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat Airport and Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport only.
The booths will be operated by local commercial banks.
The ministry is also seeking to lift certain requirements that a business must meet in order to sell tax-free goods to foreign tourists such as a presence in Hanoi, HCMC or handicraft villages at tourist destinations.
The draft circular would give tourists 60 days (rather than the current 30) from the date of purchase to recoup taxes.
Vietnam started a pilot project to refund VAT tax to foreign visitors in July 2012 in order to attract more tourists and introduce local goods overseas.
Under current regulations, goods eligible for the tax refunds must be brand new and worth at least VND2 million (US$95).
According to Vietnam's customs office, the two-year project drew participation from 69 businesses with 268 stores and has garnered “encouraging” results.
As of February, 8,628 visitors who purchased VND425 billion ($20 million) worth of goods received VAT refunds of more than VND32.9 billion ($1.55 million).
Over 7.5 million international tourists visited Vietnam last year, up 10.6 percent year-on-year, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

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