Traveling in Thailand is a captivating experience, rich in culture, delicious cuisine, and unique shopping opportunities. Many international visitors often wonder if it's possible to reclaim the Value Added Tax (VAT) on purchases made in the country. The good news is that yes, you can reclaim VAT on certain purchases in Thailand, but there are some rules and procedures to follow. Reclaiming VAT on purchases in Thailand is also an additional reason to bring back valuable gifts so as not to arouse suspicion that you've engaged with some of the best escorts in Bangkok.
What is the VAT rate in Thailand?
Despite being a lower rate compared to many European and other worldwide countries, this tax is also applicable here in the "Land of Smiles." In Thailand, VAT is applied at a rate of 7% on the price of goods and services. This tax is included in the price of many products and services you'll purchase during your stay.
However, not all purchases made in Thailand are eligible for VAT refunds. You can reclaim 7% of the amount spent on goods you intend to take with you overseas and that meet certain criteria. These may include jewelry, clothing, electronics, souvenirs, art objects, etc. In all cases, these are physical objects and tangible assets. Services such as hotels and restaurants are not included in the VAT refund process.
How to request a VAT refund in Thailand
There are some conditions to meet and procedures to follow to correctly receive a VAT refund.
The first thing to do is to make purchases only in stores that participate in the VAT refund system. These are easily recognizable by the logo, typically a sign on the store's entrance with the text "VAT Refund for Tourists." In case of doubts, it is better to ask the store's staff if the shop is part of the VAT refund system.
When making an eligible purchase, ask the seller to provide you with the VAT refund form (P.P.10). Carefully fill out this form with your personal information, purchase details, and passport number. Make sure to keep the items you've purchased and their original receipts. These may be required as proof when you apply for the refund.
The minimum amount to spend to request a refund is 2,000 baht at the same store. This amount can also be reached with different items or different receipts as long as they are issued on the same day and from the same store. However, spending only 2,000 baht is not sufficient because, at the time of the request, you must present receipts or purchase invoices for a cumulative value of at least 5,000 baht. The deadline within which you can request the refund is 60 days from the date of purchase, based on the receipt date.
Where to request the VAT refund
The request for a refund of 7% of the value of purchases is made directly at the airport. There are two steps to follow:
- Go to the customs office to declare and have the goods you want to request a VAT refund for inspected.
- Submit the request at the VAT Refund Office and collect the refund.
The office that actually issues the refund is located after passing through passport control and obtaining the exit stamp from the country. The VAT Refund Office is available at both Bangkok airports, Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang, as well as at airports in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, Hat Yai, U-Tapao, Krabi, and Samui.
At the VAT Refund Office, you must submit the purchase documentation and the P.P.10 form provided by the shopkeeper. Remember that you can submit refund requests only if the total value exceeds 5,000 baht with purchases of at least 2,000 baht from each store.
Additionally, items considered luxury goods, i.e., with a unit value exceeding 10,000 baht, must be hand-carried and presented again directly at the office where the request is made. A customs official will inspect the goods and stamp the form as confirmation of the exit of the goods from the country.
How to collect the refund
There are several ways to collect the Thai VAT refund. The main variable is dictated by the refund amount itself. For refunds up to 30,000 baht, these methods are available:
- Cash, only in Thai baht.
- Bank draft issued in USD, EUR, YEN, or GBP.
- Transfer to one of the accepted credit cards, Visa, MasterCard, or JCB.
Who can apply for it
Not everyone can access the procedure to reclaim the 7% Thai VAT. Thai citizens, holders of diplomatic passports, foreigners officially residing in Thailand, and airline crews and employees leaving Thailand for service reasons are excluded.
Furthermore, the refund may be denied if the purchase was made more than 60 days before the request, if there are irregularities in the P.P.10 form (which must be issued on the same day as the receipt) or if the name on the passport of the person requesting the refund is not the same as that listed on the P.P.10 form.
Reclaiming VAT on purchases made in Thailand can be an advantageous way to save money during your trip. Make sure to carefully follow the steps described above and keep all the necessary documents to ensure a smooth process. With a little planning, you can enjoy your shopping in Thailand and get the VAT refund you're entitled to. Don't hesitate to contact us!