|Foreign tourists are told about the value-added tax refund programme at Tan Son Nhat International Aiport. Foreign tourists can receive a 15 per cent refund on goods for bills worth more than VND2 million (US$94) and bought within 30 days of their exit date. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Hai
HA NOI (VNS) — General Taxation Administration under the Ministry of Finance has said it was necessary to increase the network of retailers registering to join the value-added tax (VAT) refund programme to make it more appealing to international tourists.
The administration's programme, which allows foreigners to claim VAT refunds for goods purchased in Viet Nam, took effect in July.
Tourists could get a 15 per cent refund on goods for bills worth more than VND2 million (US$94) and bought within 30 days of their exit date.
The programme had previously been on trial at HCM City's Tan Son Nhat International Airport and Ha Noi-based Noi Bai International Airport.
However, the programme only demonstrated a fraction of its potential due to the modest number of retailers who joined the programme.
Figures from the administration showed that after two years since the pilot programme launched, only 69 retailers had registered with 270 shops at shopping malls of Ha Noi, HCM City and Binh Duong Province.
Le Thi Duyen Hai, deputy head of the administration's unit of tax enumeration and balancing said that the modest number of shops created difficulties for foreigners who wanted to claim the refund.
Many shops had also failed to show signage claiming to offer the tax refund, meaning many international tourists did not take advantage of the scheme.
Hai said the administration had inspected the filling out of tax refund declarations at shops and had to remind them about the tax-refund signs.
The Circular 72/2014/TT-BTC stipulated retailers would be fined depending on their violations and required to stop selling tax-refund items to foreigners.
So far, none of the retailers have been fined or been forced to stop trading, Hai said.
She suggested that it was necessary to enlarge the network of shops at other localities where tours were organised to boost the consumption of made-in-Viet Nam items, such as handicrafts.
Currently, goods that were given tax refund were imported handbags, watches, sunglasses, cell phones and clothing items, she added.
Hai said the administration would work with local authorities to make a list of potential enterprises and encourage them to join the programme. The administration would also enhance the dissemination of information on the programme. — VNS