International visitors to Vietnam should get value-added tax (VAT) refunds for their purchases right at the designated shops where they have bought them, instead of at airports before leaving, a tax expert has proposed as a measure to encourage their spending in the country.
Nguyen Thi Cuc, chairwoman of the Vietnam Tax Consultant Association, made the recommendation at a tourism conference held in Hanoi on Friday with the theme of “Restoration of Vietnam’s tourism: New directions, new actions.”
As the average per capita expenditure of foreign tourists in Vietnam remained low, the government should adopt effective steps to boost their spending during their stay in the country, VnExpress cited Cuc as saying.
One of the most appropriate measures is to make it convenient for international travelers to receive VAT refunds, the expert said.
Under a circular issued in May 2014 by the Vietnamese Ministry of Finance, foreigners and overseas Vietnamese are given a refund of 85 percent of VAT on their goods purchased at eligible shops.
The 15-percent remainder of the tax is accounted as service fees.
Currently, before leaving Vietnam, international travelers receive such refunds at airports or ports by presenting to a refund customs inspection officer the invoices and VAT refund declaration forms issued by the said shops.
After the officer checks and stamps the papers, visitors will take them to the payment counter to get their refund.
Such procedures are inconvenient and time-consuming for foreign tourists and discourage their spending in Vietnam, Cuc emphasized.
She therefore recommended that travelers be able to get VAT refunds right at such shops through some simple steps, as being applied in many other countries.
The expert believed Vietnam, which is building its e-government mechanism by applying digital technologies, can adopt the new practice easily.
Such simplified VAT refund procedures should be applied from the end of this month, when e-invoices are scheduled to be widely used across the country, Cuc suggested.