The pilot value-added tax (VAT) refund scheme for foreigners passing through Vietnam’s two biggest airports should be rapidly implemented throughout the country, said attendees at a seminar in HCM City.
Addressing the seminar, vice chairwoman of the HCM City People’s Committee Nguyen Thi Hong said the planned two-year pilot scheme was too long and that it should be foreshortened to six months or at most a year.
The government has decided to pilot the VAT refund scheme from July in an attempt to boost sales of local products and promote tourism. Foreigners who buy goods in Vietnam and leave via Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi or Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCM City will be reimbursed the VAT they have paid. The pilot programme is intended to run from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2014.
Pham Gia Tuc, vice chair of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said if the refund scheme was working effectively, it should be implemented at other international airports before the end of the trial period.
Meanwhile, deputy Finance minister Do Hoang Anh Tuan said the pilot refund programme would bring huge benefits to tourism and trade.
The programme would also help businesses promote their products and boost sales, Tuan said, adding that nearly 200 firms registered to take part in the programme as of April 18.
Tuan also urged the general Department of Taxation to promote the scheme to local retailers in HCM City, Hanoi, or handicraft villages -the only locations eligible.
A valid invoice with a value of at least VND2 million ($95) and a tax claim form are required.
Commercial banks selected to handle tax repayments are allowed to charge a service fee of up to 15 per cent of the refund value. The refund will be made in dong or can be converted to other currencies accordingly.