Thailand to introduce blockchain vat refund for tourists

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BANGKOK, Jan 15 (TNA) – The Revenue Department will launch the blockchain technology project, which will allow foreign tourists to claim VAT refunds via an application on Friday (Jan 17), said the department’s Director-General, Ekniti Nitithanprapas.

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Initially, the blockchain-based value-added tax (VAT) refund service will be adopted by shops at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The blockchain technology for VAT refunds will shorten the process in the document verification and lower management cost as details of their purchases at the shops will be shared in real time with the Revenue Department and the Customs Department.

When tourists show their passports to the shop for the first time of their purchase, the shop will key information into the system. Their next purchases at other shops will be added into the system automatically when they submit their passports to the shops.

The tourists can choose to get their refunds through credit cards or bank accounts. At the time of their departure, the Customs Department will transfer the money back through the channel, registered by tourists. The service will help reduce congestion at VAT refund counters.

Last year, 2.6 million foreign tourists claimed VAT refunds. Their purchases of goods in Thailand were valued at more than 46 billion baht. The new blockchain-based service is expected to stimulate tourists’ spending in the country.

Any shops, interested to join the blockchain VAT refund project can apply for the service free of charge. So far, six shops, including King Power Duty Free Co. have prepared to operate the service.  (TNA)