Bangkok is famous for being a shopping hub with great bargains to be had. Apart from sometimes unbelievably good prices - or at least very competitive - you can also enjoy the benefits of discount cards at many malls and department stores. Then there's a 7% VAT refund scheme on luxury goods. Sounds like a great idea to plan a shopping spree in the Thai capital, doesn't it?
VAT Refunds in Bangkok
Goods purchased in Thailand are VAT inclusive. However, foreign visitors (with a few exceptions) have the benefit to receive a 7% VAT refund on luxury goods purchased from shops that participate in the 'VAT Refund for Tourists' scheme. When you see a 'VAT Refund for Tourists' sign, you can receive a 7% refund of the VAT levied on goods at the shop. However, certain conditions apply, and you won't be able to claim your refund until you depart Thailand from an international airport.
How to claim a VAT Refund
Goods must be purchased from stores displaying the 'VAT Refund For Tourists' sign. VAT refunds only apply to goods taken out of Thailand within 60 days from the date of purchase.
Goods must have a value of at least 5,000 baht (including VAT), and single purchases must have a value of at least 2,000 baht per day.
On the day of purchase, present your passport and request the sales assistant at the store to complete the VAT Refund Application for Tourists form (P.P.10) and attach the original tax invoice to the form. Each application form must show a value of goods of 2,000 baht or more.
Before departure, present your goods and VAT Refund Application for Tourists form to Customs officers for inspection before check-in. Luxury goods, such as jewellery, gold ornaments, watches, glasses, or pens must once more be inspected by the Revenue officers at the VAT Refund Office at the departure lounge. You can present your claim to the Revenue officers, mail it back to the Revenue Department of Thailand, or drop it into the box in front of the VAT Refund Office.
For cash refunds, there is a fee of 100 baht. For bank draft refund, a few 100 baht plus a draft issuing fee at the rate charged by banks plus postage fees. For credit to credit card account refund, a few 100 baht plus a money transfer fee at rate charged by banks and postal fees.
For purchases not exceeding 30,000 baht, refunds will be made in cash, i.e. Thai baht, by bank draft or credit to your credit card account. For purchases exceeding 30,000 baht, the refund will be made by bank draft or credit to your credit card account.
Refunds will not be granted in the following cases:
- You carry a diplomatic passport and reside in Thailand.
- You are an airline crew member departing Thailand on duty.
- Your stay in Thailand exceeds 180 days in a calendar year.
- Goods were not taken out of Thailand within 60 days after date of purchase.
- You didn't depart Thailand from an international airport.
- Name or passport number not on original tax invoice attached to the VAT Refund Application form
- Value of goods purchased is less than 2,000 baht per day per store.
- Your purchased items fall under the following category: gem stones, fire arms or explosives, prohibited items
- VAT Refund Application for Tourist form was not prepared on the date of purchase.
- Total value of goods claimed for refund is less than 5,000 baht.
- Original tax invoices were not attached to the VAT Refund for Tourist form.
- You did not carry the goods out of Thailand on the day of your departure.
- Goods were not purchased from participating shops in the VAT Refund for Tourists scheme.
- Quantity of goods shown in the VAT Refund Application for Tourist form is less than that shown in the original tax invoice.
- Goods were taken out of Thailand without being inspected by Customs or Revenue officers.
- Luxury goods were taken out of Thailand without being checked by the Revenue officers.
- Tax invoices attached to the VAT Refund Application for Tourist were issued from a different store than mentioned on form.
Tourist Discount Cards
Here's a list of great shopping places that have discount cards, often offered exclusively to tourists:
Central Department Stores
Flash your passport or ID card at the Information/Customer Service kiosks at any Central Department Store and you will be given a 5% Visitor Discount Card. You can also use this card at subsidiaries such as Robinsons and Supersports (not applicable at Tops Supermarket, Powerbuy, MGA or Marks & Spencer, the liquor store, pharmacy, fabrics, electrical Read More...
Robinsons Department Stores
You can also get a 5% discount card from Robinsons Department Store by showing your passport to the Customer Service counter.
Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery, Siam Center and The Emporium Department Stores
Bring your passport along and head to the Customer Service counter to qualify for a Tourist Card which instantly gives you 5% discount for regular-priced merchandises throughout the store, excluding Pharmacy, Wine Cellar, Food Hall, Food Court, Take Home, Park Food Hall, Gallery Food Hall, service shops, rented shops and tenant shops in the malls. Also watch out for special privileges from participating stores.
The Mah Boon Krong Tourist Discount Card is available at information counters on the first and second floor. Discounts from 5 - 30% off the regular purchase prices apply to at least 50 participating merchandise and food and beverage outlets in MBK Centre. Applications and a brochure with a list of all participating outlets and the Read More...