Cam Ranh International Airport in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa will officially open its VAT refund booth for foreigners next week, six months after it received approval from the Prime Minister to do so.
The Khanh Hoa branch of the Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank) has been allowed by the Ministry of Finance to handle VAT refund receipts for foreigners at the airport, starting on January 6, according to Dinh Van Luan, deputy head of the provincial customs.
Five businesses in Khanh Hoa have been licensed to sell goods subject to the VAT refunds, including Khatoco, Le Van Co., Me Trang Coffee, Salanganes’ Nest Khanh Hoa, and Viet Khanh Phu Co. Ltd., Luan said.
Foreigners began to be able to claim VAT refunds for goods they purchased in Vietnam in July 2012 during a pilot program run at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City and Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi.
They are now able to receive a refund for goods worth at least VND2 million (US$94) and purchased within 30 days of their exit date.
Foreigners will receive 85 percent of the value-added tax imposed on their purchases and the remaining 15 percent will be counted as service fees for the banks tasked with refunding the visitors.
Between July 1, 2012 and February 2, 2014, 8,628 foreigners obtained VAT refunds worth VND32.9 billion ($1.54 million) for more than VND425 billion ($20 million) worth of goods they purchased in the Southeast Asian nation, according to the Vietnam Customs.
Five exit terminals were added to the refund program in a fiat signed by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in May 2014, which took effect in July the same year.
The terminals include Da Nang International Airport and Da Nang port in central Da Nang City, Cam Ranh International Airport and Nha Trang port in coastal Khanh Hoa Province, and Khanh Hoi International Seaport in Ho Chi Minh City.
“Once the VAT refund booth at Cam Ranh airport functions stably, we will move on to set up the counter at the Nha Trang port,” Luan said.
How to claim your VAT refund?
According to regulations, in order to qualify for the refund, foreigners must present receipts worth at least VND2 million (roughly $100) apiece.
The VAT is paid back in Vietnamese dong. Thus, foreigners are responsible for exchanging dong for foreign currencies.
Payments are processed immediately after travelers complete refund declarations and invoice inspections at the airport.
Foreigners are required, upon purchase, to show their passport or immigration paper and in return, the retailer will provide them with a VAT refund declaration form that they then will check and sign in.
When they arrive at the airport, they will be requested to present the document to the customs office.
At the VAT refund counter, they will be required to submit the original copy of a boarding pass for an international flight and the original copies of invoices and the VAT refund declaration form with the customs office’s “checked” seal to get the VAT returned.
According to the Ministry of Finance, foreigners and overseas Vietnamese are both eligible for VAT refunds on purchases in local accredited stores with the ‘VAT Refund for Tourist’ logo.