The Revenue Department has improved value-added tax (VAT) refunds for tourists to reduce waiting queues to declare their goods to customs officials. The new criteria will take effect on Dec 1.
Deputy Minister of Finance Julapun Amornvivat has asked the Revenue Department to improve criteria and other procedures regarding VAT refunds for foreign tourists.
During a meeting on Nov 21, Prime Minister and Finance Minister Srettha Thavisin had asked the Ministry of Finance to work with concerned agencies to improve VAT refunds for foreign tourists departing Thailand to be more convenient and faster.
Mr Julapun said on Thursday that he had discussed the matter with the Revenue Department and the Customs Department to improve regulations regarding VAT refunds for foreign tourists and how to reduce waiting queues for inspection of goods at airports. Many tourists were seen lining up to have their goods inspected for tax refunds, he added.
Kulaya Tantitemit, director-general of the Comptroller General’s Department, said related criteria and conditions regarding VAT refunds were revised on Nov 27 to be suitable for the current situation.
The new criteria will take effect on Dec 1, said Ms Kulaya, who served as acting director-general of the Revenue Department.
The new criteria will see an increase in the value of products that do not need to go through customs procedures, she said.
Details are as follows:
- The value of goods that must be shown to customs officers has increased from 5,000 baht to 20,000 baht. This will reduce the number of tourists who must show their goods from 1.7 million people a year (or 67% of tourists who applied for VAT refunds) to about 500,000 (or about 20% of tourists who applied for VAT refunds.
- The value of nine products (jewellery, gold ornaments, watches, eyeglasses, pens, smartphones, laptops or tablets and handbags) to be shown to revenue officials is increased from 10,000 baht to 40,000 baht per item. The value of carry-on goods has increased from 50,000 baht to 100,000 baht per item.
The new criteria will help reduce the number of tourists who must show their goods to officials from 120,000 people annually to 30,000 people or reduce from 333 people a day to 84 people.
Tourists who purchase goods with the value of not more than 20,000 baht can claim tax refunds from the Revenue Department without the need to go through customs procedures.