Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How do I get a VAT refund ?

When I bought my HP mini notebook here in Bangkok last December, 2010 at Pantip Plaza, I didn't have any idea about claiming a VAT refund here in Bangkok. Lately, I have found out the process and the things that I needed to know through my experience living here in Thailand, as a tourist. I had several researches online, too. As this would help me a lot in the future when we've decided to buy some stuff.

Once you get here in Thailand, most probably you would hear sales agent/s or see this sign below..

Goods purchased in Thailand are VAT inclusive. However, foreign visitors (with a few exceptions) have the benefit to receive a 7% VAT refund on luxury goods purchased from shops that participate in the 'VAT Refund for Tourists' scheme. When you see a 'VAT Refund for Tourists' sign, you can receive a 7% refund of the VAT levied on goods at the shop. However, certain conditions apply, and you won't be able to claim your refund until you depart Thailand from an international airport.

Most countries allow tourists to claim back the VAT that is paid on goods that are bought in their country as long as those goods are to be enjoyed or used outside of that country. Thailand is no different, in fact as a shopping paradise in Asia they are very much used to refunding the VAT. So this mean, "only tourists who have a visa.

I remembered when we bought a Sony digital camera for a present to my eldest kid at Power Buy in Fashion Island, Ram Inthra. They knew already that I was gonna claim for my VAT refund and they initiated to process mine with a smile. That was a good customer service experience for me! Since, they honestly admitted that they couldn't provide a VAT refund form (probably because they aren't accredited), they said that they'll just give the 300 baht in cold cash to me on that day. That was really~ WOW! Who could honestly do the same?

Each country though has its own rules and regulations, as to what can, and can't, be claimed back and how it should be done. Based on my research, you will be informed on how to enjoy shopping and claiming for your VAT refund.

What goods can you NOT claim for VAT refunds?

*Fire arms, explosives or any such similar item
*Prohibited items
*Gem stones

Who can claim VAT refunds?

*A non-Thai or foreigner visitor/tourist who has been in Thailand less than 180 days in a calendar year

*A non Thai visitor who is not a crew member of an airline.

*A non Thai visitor who departs Thailand by air from an International airport.

How do you claim a VAT refund?

1. A VAT refund will only apply if the goods purchased are taken out of Thailand within 60 days of purchase and you have to get the VAT refund form on the same day of purchase. Otherwise, it will be invalid or you are not eligible to claim for a refund

2. The goods must be purchased from any participating shops that display a "VAT Refund For Tourists" sign. This is very important, because you've gotta find out if the shop is accredited or not. I was once a victim of this, they were claiming that they could give you a VAT refund but you have to get the form at the airport terminal which is FALSE! Some shops are only concern about selling their items and not to give VAT refunds to foreign customers. If they are accredited or listed as the one legitimate on giving VAT refund, they MUST have the "yellow form" and they would be the one filling it up for you. All you got to do is give essential info and sign it. DO NOT LEAVE THE STORE WITHOUT IT (yellow form for VAT refund).

3. On any one day, the goods purchased from an individual participating shop must not be less than 2,000 Baht including VAT per day, and the total amount claiming for refund must not be less than 5,000 Baht, including VAT

4. When you purchase the goods, ask the sales assistant to complete a VAT refund form, known as the P.P.10, and attach the original tax invoices to that form. Each P.P.10 must show a value of 2,000 Baht or more.

5. You will need to know the method or refund you would prefer, and input that onto the P.P.10 form.

6. You will need to show your passport to the sales assistant when you purchase the goods, to allow her to fill in the above mentioned form.

7. When you are requesting the refund, the goods must be inspected by customs officers prior to check in. Show these customs officers the P.P.10 and tax invoices.

TIP: When buying anything, make sure you have your PASSPORT with you :)

How will the refund be paid?

*If the refund does not exceed 10,000 Baht then you can have the refund made by cash (Thai Baht), draft, or a credit to your credit card.

*If the refund total does exceed 10,000 Baht then, refunds will be made by either draft or a credit to your credit card.

Don't forget that the tax refund process is the final stage of your journey in Thailand - you will have gone through passport control on your return leg before you arrive at the appropriate counter. You can only make claims on the day you leave the country.

If your claim is for less than 30,000 Baht, you can receive a payment as a cheque or Bank Draft, or the amount can be paid into a credit card account. If your claim is for over 30,000 Baht, you can only receive payment by Bank Draft or payment into a credit card account.

Are there any fees?

*If you request a cash refund a fee of 100 Baht will apply.

*For a draft refund a 100 Baht fee plus, the draft issuing fee at the rate charged by banks and postage fees.

*For credit card refunds, a 100 Baht fee plus money transfer fee at the rates charged by banks

Refund Conditions: VAT Refunds will not be granted in the following cases:

•You carry a diplomatic passport and reside in Thailand.

•You are an airline crew member departing Thailand on duty.

•Your stay in Thailand exceeds 180 days in a calendar year.

•Goods were not taken out of Thailand within 60 days after date of purchase.

•You didn't depart Thailand from an international airport.

•Name or passport number not on original tax invoice attached to the VAT Refund Application form

•Value of goods purchased is less than 2,000 baht per day per store.

•VAT Refund Application for Tourist form was not prepared on the date of purchase.

•Total value of goods claimed for refund is less than 5,000 baht.

•Original tax invoices were not attached to the VAT Refund for Tourist form.

•You did not carry the goods out of Thailand on the day of your departure.

•Goods were not purchased from participating shops in the VAT Refund for Tourists scheme.

•Quantity of goods shown in the VAT Refund Application for Tourist form is less than that shown in the original tax invoice.

•Goods were taken out of Thailand without being inspected by Customs or Revenue officers.

•Luxury goods were taken out of Thailand without being checked by the Revenue officers.

•Tax invoices attached to the VAT Refund Application for Tourist were issued from a different store than mentioned on form.

• If you claimed that you are a tourist, but then you listed a home/hotel address in Thailand on the VAT refund form. Take note: Put your home address where you from (permanent residence in your home country not abroad)

Happy shopping!!!


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