Tourist VAT refunds made easier

Tourist VAT refunds made easier

Foreign tourists queue to get VAT refunds at Suvarnabhumi airport. (Bangkok Post photo)
Foreign tourists queue to get VAT refunds at Suvarnabhumi airport. (Bangkok Post photo)

The cabinet on Tuesday approved measures making it easier for foreign tourists to claim value-added tax refunds on goods purchased in Thailand.

Government spokesman Chai Wacharonke said the aim was to reduce queues for tourists claiming VAT refunds.

Tourists who buy goods worth less than 20,000 baht would not have to show them to customs officials during the refund process. Until now, the upper limit was less​ than​ 5,000 baht.

This measure alone would considerably reduce the number of tourists required to show the products they had purchased, from about 120,000 a year to about 30,000, the spokesman said.

The minimum price of ornaments, ornamental gold, watches, eyeglasses, pens, smart phones, laptop and tablet computers, bags (excluding travel bags) and belts that must be presented to customs is raised from 10,000 baht to 40,000 baht.

The value of goods that tourists can carry with them when boarding flights must not exceed 100,000 baht. The previous limit was 50,000 baht.

Permanent finance secretary Lavaron Sangsanit said new VAT refund for tourists (VRT) measures would take effect this month.

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