Thailand is a shopping haven. This country was able to market itself well as one of the best shopping destinations in Asia. And to attract more shoppers, Thailand is offering a VAT Refund for your purchases from participating shops. It’s easy to spot the shops that are participating because you can see a sign “VAT REFUND FOR TOURISTS” in their windows. If there’s no sign available just ask the store attendant if they are processing VAT refunds for tourists.
Most of my purchases in Bangkok were usually electronic goods and all of the shops where I bought my gadgets where offering VAT refund and I was able to get back 7% (of my purchases) at the airport.
Here’s a step by step process on How to Claim Your VAT Refund:
1. When you purchase an item, present your passport to the store attendant and ask them to complete the VAT refund application form. Make sure before you leave the store that the sales invoice is attached to the VAT refund application form. Minimum amount of purchased items to be eligible is 5,000 Baht.
2. Once you arrived at the airport, go to the customs office (before you check in), present the items that you purchased and the form (with the invoice) and they’ll stamped the form.
3. After check in and after you pass through the immigration control area, proceed to the VAT Refund office to claim your money. If it’s less than 30,000 Baht, you’ll be able to claim it in cash. If it’s more than 30,000 Baht then it’ll be credited to your bank or credit card.
Some reminders to make sure that you can claim your refund:
1. Make sure that you fly out of Thailand within 60 days from the date of purchase.
2. Participating international airports where you can claim your refund includes Bangkok, Phuket, Hat Yai, Chiang Mai and U-Tapao. I once flew out from Krabi and unfortunately I wasn’t able to claim my refund.
3. A fee amounting to 100 Baht will be deducted from your refund (for cash refunds). For bank drafts, it’s 100 Baht plus the bank issuing draft and postage fee. For credit card, it’s also 100 Baht plus money transfer fee and postage fees.
Information posted here are subject to change so to be sure that you’re updated with the VAT Refund Process check out their offical website here.
Enjoy shopping in Thailand and don’t forget to process your Vat refund!