You asked (06-03-2012)
I am interested in your handicraft products such as pottery and brocade items. I am going to visit and go shopping in Viet Nam. Could you tell me whether I can claim VAT refunds on purchases I make in your country? Which procedures should I follow to get a refund?
Arti Samkaria, Adyar City, India
Following a Prime Ministerial decision in January, Viet Nam will pilot a VAT refund procedure at Noi Bai International Airport in Ha Noi and Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2014.
If you visit our country during this time you can claim a VAT refund on purchases as follows:
1. Documentation: Identify yourself as a foreign tourist to shops in Ha Noi and HCM City and request a tax invoice for your purchases.
To qualify for a refund, goods subject to VAT must be unused, legal for export and bought within 30 days of leaving the country. The total value of purchases on one invoice must be at least VND2million (US$95).
2. Inspection: Present your purchases and the relevant tax invoices to a customs officer for stamping prior to the goods being checked in.
3. Claim your VAT refund: At either of the two airports, present your passport, flight tickets and stamped tax invoices at any commercial bank designated a VAT refund agent. Your refund will be made in VND or foreign currency.
Authorities will welcome any comments the public might have to help improve the new VAT refund procedure.