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Foreigners can get VAT refunds at more airports

HCMC – The Ministry of Finance has drafted a circular allowing more international airports and seaports to open counters to serve foreign visitors who want to take back the value added tax on the goods they buy in Vietnam.

Aside from Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat international airports where foreign visitors can get VAT refunds at the moment, the ministry has proposed Danang and Cam Ranh international airports be added, according to the draft circular which may replace Circular 58/2012/TT-BTC later this year.

The draft circular also permits foreigners who depart via international seaports in Vietnam to ask for VAT refunds. Notably, more banks can freely join the VAT refund program instead of just Vietcombank, Maritimebank, VietinBank and BIDV as currently.

The ministry has proposed the period for foreigners to get VAT refunds be extended to 60 days from the date they exit Vietnam when they show legitimate receipts instead of 30 days as currently regulated.

More favorable conditions are planned for the participating businesses of the VAT refund program. According to Circular 58, they must have headquarters, branches and sales agents in Hanoi and HCMC or at the vietnam handicraft centers listed in the tours arranged by travel agencies but these requirements are removed in the draft circular.

The General Department of Customs has reported positive results nearly two years after VAT refunds for foreigners have been piloted in accordance with the Prime Minister’s Decision 05/2012/QD-TTg. The objective is to enhance the competitiveness of Vietnamese goods, attract more foreign visitors and beef up exports.

Earlier, to implement Decision 05, the ministry issued Circular 58 for a pilot refunding of VAT on the goods purchased by foreigners in Vietnam through Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat airports. The program started on July 1, 2012 and will last until June 30 this year.

There are four VAT refund counters at the two biggest airports in the country and 69 businesses have registered 268 sales points for the program.

Foreign visitors receive 85% of the VAT imposed on their purchases while the remaining 15% is counted as a service charge by banks.

As of the end of February, over 8,600 foreigners had obtained VAT refunds worth VND32.9 billion for more than VND425 billion worth of the goods they had bought in Vietnam, according to the General Department of Customs.

(Le Hoang – Thesaigontimes.vn)


Tags: foreign visitors, handicraft, international airports, seaports, VAT, VAT refunds, Vietnam handicraft,