For many a traveler, shopping is part of the fun when visiting a foreign country, especially in a place like Taiwan where shops sell high-quality yet affordable goods, many with distinct local flavor.
Such fun is significantly heightened when receiving refunds for the value-added tax paid in the stores.
If you plan to visit this beautiful island and are intent on going on a shopping spree, or just want to buy some special gifts for yourself or for folks back home, note that you can, upon leaving the country, claim the 5% value-added tax (VAT) you will pay at time of purchase. Certain conditions apply. First, you need to buy the goods at an authorized tax refund store. You can find an extensive list of stores at www.taxrefund.net.tw/ttr/shop.
To be eligible for a VAT refund, you need to be a foreign traveler holding a passport from a country other than the R.O.C. (Taiwan), other travel documents, or an R.O.C. passport without a personal ID number attached. You have to make a purchase of at least NT$2,000 (about US$60) on the same day at the same store, and you need to collect anApplication Form for VAT Refund and the invoice.
Following the purchase, you have 20 days to claim the refund at the port of your departure. Go to an E-VAT Refund machine or a Foreign Passenger VAT Refund Service Counter in the airport or seaport to apply for the refund. Since the procedure can take time, arrive three hours before your departure and apply for the refund before checking in your luggage.
If you opt to do the procedure at an E-VAT Refund machine, you need to do the following:
1. Scan your entry document (such as passport).
2. Scan the Application Form for VAT Refund.
3. Select the items available for VAT refund.
4. If an inspection is required, you need to take the inspection form to Customs before proceeding.
5. Select the method of refund (Cash, Credit Card, or Check) and collect your VAT Refund Assessment Certificate.
6. Go to a designated bank counter at the airport/seaport and present your VAT Refund Assessment Certificate to receive the tax refund.
If you go to a Foreign Passenger VAT Refund Service Counter, present the Application Form for VAT Refund, your passport (or other designated travel document), your purchased goods to be taken out of the country, and an original copy of the uniform invoice to the customs officers. After verification, you will receive a VAT Refund Assessment Certificate, which you need to take to a designated bank counter to receive the refund.
Note: payment of VAT refunds is made in NT dollars. Applications for a VAT refund submitted after you have departed the country will not be accepted.
Should you have any questions concerning VAT refunds, please contact (depending on your port of departure):
-Directorate General of Customs Information Center at Taiwan Taoyuan Int’l Airport / Tel: 0800-311-006 or 886-3-398-2308
-Taichung Travel Section / Tel: 0800-422-022 or 886-4-2254-0809
-Tainan Travel Section / Tel: 0800-611-011 or 886-6-226-5681
-Kaohsiung Travel Section / Tel: 0800-711-765 or 886-7-281-1513
-Taiwan Taoyuan Int’l Airport Tourist Service Center / Tel: 886-3-383-4631~2
-Kaohsiung Int’l Airport Tourist Service Center / Tel: 886-7-805-7888
-Service Center, Tourism Bureau / Tel: 0800-011-765 or 886-2-2717-3737
Happy travels—and happy shopping!