How To Get Vat Refund On Airport?

How to get VAT/Tax Refund?

Tax refund is fundamentally getting a refund of the Tax/VAT amount charged on your purchased goods, only if you   are a non-resident of the country. It is essentially an attempt to encourage tourist expenditures while visiting their country

 Here are some basics of tax refund one should know –

  • Taxes may vary and range from 10% to 20% depending on the country you visit
  • Tax refund can be provided by only the shops having necessary permissions and usually display a sign or board showing “tax refund”
  • One can claim the amount only if the minimum purchase amount is crossed and it varies for different countries
    Example- In Japan you can claim tax refund only if your purchasing of goods exceeds 5000 Japanese Yen.
  • Don’t consume the products during your stay as they must be unused and sealed.
    Example- If you buy and use a perfume during your stay and it meets rest of the norms of the reimbursement process, you cannot claim a refund for this used product
  • To claim the refund, one should buy goods on the same day, from the same shop and in one bill. You cannot claim and combine bills from different shops and purchased on different days to add up the total amount
    Exemption- In some countries like Singapore, some department stores have a separate “Tax Centre” usually on the top floor or the basement where you can sum up all the bills of shopping done on the same day
  • Typically, tax refund is applicable only for tourists or short-term visitors. Work visitors and long-term visitors don’t fulfill the requirement
  • Carry a copy or your passport and copy of your country’s address proof with you all times
  • You can claim tax refund only at airports and at the borders of exit and entry.
    Exemption- Some countries like Taiwan, immediately process the refund amount in the shop and refund it to you in cash or on your credit card to encourage more spending.
  • VAT refunds don’t apply for hotel Stays, food expenditures and some products

This process may sound tedious and tiring and you might think of giving a skip to collect the refund, but trust me it is worth the efforts

Here is a step by step guide to collect your Refund-

Step 1-
Shop all products in one bill, from same day and same shop

Step 2-
Provide passport copy and your visa proof and the shopkeeper will create a receipt which will include all your details

Step 3 –
Check the receipt for the total bill and the refund amount you will get back

Step 4-
While packing make sure the items are in your cabin bag, and if not possible make sure they are all in one check in bag with ease of finding them

Step 5 –
At the airport before checking in your luggage visit the tax refund counter/local customs office and present your passport and all receipts

Step 6-
The customs officer may demand to view all your goods for which you are claiming the tax refund

*Usually they check only luxury items, electronics and high price items in countries which are strict

* In many countries, this process is electronic if your purchases are clothes, shoes etc where one has to just scan all the receipts and the passport in the machine after which he will get a new receipt mentioning the total refund amount

Step 7- A receipt with a stamp will provided after showing respective items  

Step 8- Now you can check in your luggage. After security check you will find one counter mentioning tax refund where you should head and show the receipt collected in Step no 6

Step 9- The officer which check all details and will ask for your credit card to refund the amount. Some countries also provide cash, and they will ask which currency you need refund in.

Step 10- The office will convert the amount in the required currency and hand over to you and ask you to sign a document stating the collection refund


I highly recommend tourists and visitors should always take benefit of Tax Refund and save your money. 

NOTE- No Custom Officer’s Stamp= No Refund

Tax Refund

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Apeksha Shah