Thu, Jun 23, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Foreign tourists to get sales tax refund

By Amy Su  /  Staff Reporter

The Ministry of Finance said yesterday that foreign tourists would be allowed to receive sales tax refunds of under NT$1,000 at specified stores as of July 1.

The finance ministry and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications decided to allow foreign tourists to collect sales tax refunds of less than NT$1,000 at stores carrying “Authorized Cash Tax Refunds-TRS” signs, a Tax Administration official said.

“This would encourage foreign tourists to buy more because they would be able to get their refunds at the stores. It would also reduce the number of people waiting in line of at airport customs to collect their refunds,” tax administration deputy director Hung Chi-shan (洪吉山), told a media briefing.

A total of 153 stores — including the Taipei 101 shopping mall and Shin Kong Mitsukoshi department stores (新光三越) — have been approved to participate in the in-store refund program, Hung said.

However, foreign tourists must first obtain an “alien’s exit-entry permit” to be able to collect the sales tax refund, which can only be applied to purchases made in the 606 stores identified as a “Tax Refund Store [TRS],” he said.

The government began refunding the 5 percent sales tax to foreign tourists in 2003. In the first four months of this year, foreigners received a total of NT$150 million in such refunds, the ministry said.

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