Thailand updates VAT refund limits and rules for travellers

Thailand updates VAT refund limits and rules for travellers

The Thai authorities have announced new limits, rules, and criteria for VAT refunds for tourists starting 1 January.

The Thai government has unveiled updated rules on VAT refunds for tourists. The new rules, effective from 1 January, expand the conditions for refunds and increase the maximum refund amount, The Nation reported.

The rules concern the methods and conditions for requesting a value-added tax (VAT) refund and the VAT refund procedure for tourists making purchases and taking goods out of the country.

When tourists make purchases and purchase goods to take out of the country, along with requesting a refund of Value Added Tax (VAT), they have to stand in long queues and undergo document verification.

The Department of Revenue has adjusted the criteria to suit the current situation, providing a more appropriate and convenient VAT refund process for tourists. The adjustments came into effect in November, and the details are as follows:

Increase in the purchase threshold for customs declaration: The previous threshold of 5,000 baht for goods subject to customs declaration has been raised to 20,000 baht. This means that tourists purchasing goods under 20 thousand baht can request a VAT refund directly from the Department of Revenue without going through customs procedures.

Categories and value of goods subject to declaration expanded: The number of categories of goods requiring declaration at the Revenue Department has been increased to include items such as jewellery, gold ornaments, watches, eyeglasses, pens, smartphones, laptops or tablets, handbags (excluding travel bags) and belt buckles.

The value thresholds have been adjusted to 40,000 baht for certain items and 100,000 baht for items that can be carried on board.

In addition to the changes, the conditions under which travellers can request a VAT refund include:

Taking purchased goods out of Thailand within 60 days of purchase. Purchasing goods from shops displaying a “VAT Refund for Tourists” sign. The purchase amount is at least 2,000 baht (including VAT) at the same commercial establishment on the same day. On the day of purchase, the buyer presents his/her passport to the seller and asks for a Por Por 10 form at the shop along with the original tax invoice. The minimum cost of goods for each Por Por Por 10 form is 2 thousand baht. On the day of departure from Thailand, before check-in, goods and the Por Por 10 form with a total value not exceeding 20,000 baht are presented to customs officials for inspection and stamping. For expensive items such as jewellery, gold ornaments, watches, eyeglasses, pens, portable phones, laptops or tablets, carry-on bags (except travel bags), and belt buckles, the value of each item must be 40 thousand baht or more. Items with a value of 100 thousand baht or more must be presented to the Customs Department for additional certification using the Por Por 10 form at the Tax Refund Office located at the passenger departure area after passing through immigration control.

Tax Refund Procedure for Tourists:

On the day of departure, present the tax refund documents (Por Por 10 form and original tax invoice) to the customs officer. The customs officer will inspect the goods and stamp the Por Por 10 form. Check-in for your flight and drop off your luggage. Go through immigration control. Present the tax refund documents and the goods specified by the Department of Revenue (if any) to the customs officer to claim the tax refund.

After clearing customs and immigration before boarding the plane, travellers will receive their VAT refund at the tax refund office by submitting the Por Por 10 form and the original tax invoice certified by the customs officer.

Tax Refund Offices are located at ten international airports in Thailand, namely Suvarnabhumi, Donmyang, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, Hatay, Utapao, Krabi, Samui and Surat Thani.

If the requested tax refund amount does not exceed 30 thousand baht, tourists will receive a refund in cash (in baht), cheque or credit card account transfer. However, if the refund amount exceeds 30,000 Baht, the refund cannot be received in cash but only in the form of a cheque or credit card transfer.

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