Thailand has always been known as a shopaholic’s Paradise. Furthermore, according to recent market research, along with a shift in where Thailand’s tourist visitors are arriving from, there is also a shift in what they’re coming here for. It’s not just about the beach anymore; shopping is gaining momentum as strong demand catalyst.
Most of Thailand’s main tourist areas, Phuket included, with their massive, modern, multi-storey shopping malls, with their international brands and world’s top quality designer wear, provide a myriad of choices for every budget and need.
For those who have entered Thailand on a tourist visa you are actually entitled to refunds of the 7% value-added tax (VAT) paid on goods purchased from stores displaying a “VAT REFUND FOR TOURISTS” sign. There are many shops and department stores which display these signs and these outlets are the ones that also provide overseas visitors with P.P.10 VAT Refund forms for purchases they have made. The VAT Refund forms can be obtained when purchases are made of 2,000 THB baht or over from the same store on the same date. However, refunds can only be claimed if the total amounts from all forms total 5,000 baht or over. The refunds of the VAT paid can be processed at most of the country’s main airports, Phuket being one of them.
On the day and at the store you make purchases, show your passport, which confirms you’ve entered on a Tourist visa, to the sales assistant, complete the VAT Refund form, and attach all the original receipts to the form. At the airport, on the day of your departure, show the Customs officers before checking in the goods you have purchased and hand them the VAT refund forms and original tax invoices to them for them to inspect. If the declarations for VAT refund are in order, customs will sign and stamp the VAT Refund Application Form, affix a sticker to the luggage containing the eligible goods, and return everything to you. You need to present the VAT Application Form approved by Customs to the Revenue officials after clearing immigration for a VAT refund. Please note that certain luxury goods such as jewellery, gold ornaments, watches, must be shown to an excise official at the VAT Refund Office.
For purchases not exceeding 30,000 baht, refunds can be made either in cash (Thai baht), by bank draft or credited to your credit card account. For purchases exceeding 30,000 baht, the refund will be made by bank draft or credited to your credit card account.
The goods for which you are requesting a VAT refund must be taken out of the country within 60 days of the purchase date.
There are fees that apply to refund requests: For cash refund there is a fee of 100 baht: for bank drafts a fee of 100 baht plus draft issuing fee at the rate charged by banks, and postage: for credits to credit card accounts there is a fee of 100 baht plus money transfer fee at the rate charged by banks, and postage.