From July 1 this year Vietnam started operation of its trial tourist VAT refund scheme, in which international tourists to Vietnam are able to claim back up to 85% of the Value Added Tax paid on good during their stay in Vietnam, however very few tourists have taken up the offer!
Customs staff at Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nat International Airport says that so far they have had several enquires about the scheme but as yet no claims. It is believed the reason is a combination of early days, tourists not knowing the scheme exists as well as the small number of tourist outlets registered for the scheme.
Tran The Dung, deputy director of The He Tre Tourism Company in Ho Chi Minh City, said many foreign visitors in Vietnam want tax refunds and described the policy as a “good” one.
“But the most important thing is to make the process quick and simple. Several countries have made their visitors wait too long [at airports] for the refunds, turning the service into a burden,” Dung said.
So far, only eight companies making up 46 retail outlets have registered for the scheme, outlets in Ho Chi Minh City include ones located at the Rex Hotel, the Crescent Mall and the Tax Shopping Mall.
International tourists making the claim at Ho Chi Minh Cities Tan Son Nhat or Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airports must have purchased goods of at least VND2,000,000 (approximately AU/US $95) within 30 days from one of the 46 registered retail outlets located in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Also the minimum purchase per claim must be from the same outlet and all items that make up the minimum purchase must be on the same tax invoice. The trial VAT refund scheme is scheduled to run until 30 June 2014.