The Taiwan Tax Refund scheme is a well publicized way for foreign travelers to make tax-free purchases in Taiwan. If you make purchases of over NT$2000 on the same day in a store that has the scheme, you’ll be able to claim back the 5% VAT that is applied at the store. While it’s not possible to use it at all stores in the country, most department stores, large retail outlets and shopping malls will be part of the scheme. Most of these stores and shops will show the above logo on their storefronts. It’s a great way to save money on electronics, clothing and cosmetics, among others.
Who can use the Taiwan Tax Refund scheme?
Tax refunds are generally only available to those on a tourist visa, including those traveling on a ‘visa-free’ entry as tourists. You will be required to show your passport and entry stamp when purchasing your goods and when you apply for the refund. Taiwan citizens or people who have residence visas are not able to use the Taiwan Tax Refund scheme.
How do I get my VAT refund?
When purchasing something at a store, be sure to show your passport and ask for the Taiwan Tax Refund. You’ll then be given a ‘Application Form for VAT Refund’.
Large department stores and shopping malls such as Mitsukoshi Department Store near Taipei 101 will have their own on-site counters for your VAT refund, with multilingual staff on hand. In such cases, the store clerks will tell you this and direct you to the VAT refund counter, which will be located a short walk away. Shops that apply smaller amounts in tax refunds, such as drug stores, may also be authorized to give the refund in the store itself.
In other cases, you’ll need to keep the ‘Application Form for VAT Refund’ with you until you get to the airport. Here you’ll also find a VAT refund counter, or machines, making the process of getting your refund relatively easy. Be sure to do this before checking in your luggage, in case your items need a customs check. If this is the case, you’ll be given a checklist with any necessary information.
Anything I should be careful about?
- Items bought in Taiwan must be taken out of the country with you when you depart.
- Note that some items you purchase in Taiwan may be subject to import duties in your home country.
- If buying electronic items, check with store clerks that they will work outside Taiwan.
- For electronic items, video games and such, make sure they have English in their language settings if you cannot read traditional Chinese.
Official website and list of authorized stores: taxrefund.net.tw