Laura and Sarah, from Switzerland, chose a good day to end their three-week holiday in Vietnam.
As of Sunday, the country now refunds value-added tax to foreigners, opening official counters at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City.
This fulfills a decree the Ministry of Finance issued in April in an effort to boost sales. It stipulated that, to qualify for the 10-percent VAT refund, foreigners must present receipts worth at least VND2 million (roughly US$100) apiece.
While making their way through Tan Son Nhat Airport on Sunday, Laura and Sara showed their receipts to airport employees, who gave them a list of shops that would refund the VAT.
The Swiss tourists told Tuoi Tre they had purchased a lot of goods on vacation and would be happy to get some of the tax back.
According to the Finance Ministry, VAT refunded-goods must satisfy four conditions:
– Be subject to VAT, unused and allowed on aircraft;
– Not appear on the list of export prohibitions or restrictions;
– Include invoices and refund declarations issued within 30 days of departure; and
– Cost at least VND2 million total.
VAT is paid back in Vietnam dong. Of the total refund, 85 percent represents what had been taxed from the goods, while the remaining 15 percent denotes bank fees.
Foreigners are responsible for exchanging dong for foreign currencies. Payments are processed immediately after travelers complete refund declarations and invoice inspections at the airport.