Tax Refund In Vietnam: All You Need To Know

Venturing into the vibrant world of Vietnam’s commerce or just shopping around?

Navigating tax refunds can often be as intricate as a Vietnamese silk pattern.

Allow this guide to be your trusty lantern, shedding light on the ins and outs of reclaiming your dues in Vietnam.

Let’s dive in!


VAT In Vietnam

The standard Value Added Tax or VAT rate in Vietnam is 10% for most goods. The government recently reduced this to 8% as well. There is a reduced VAT rate of 5% on some food items whereas some items and services are exempt from VAT altogether.

If you are an overseas Vietnamese or a foreigner visiting the country, you will be able to claim a VAT refund on purchases you make in Vietnam and carry with you back home.

While this was initially implemented only on certain exit terminals, it has now been extended to many all over the country.

As a foreigner, you can obtain a refund for up to 85% of the VAT for eligible goods. The 15% that remains is usually the maximum that can be charged as a service fee by the bank.

You should remember that the refund that you get will be in the local currency i.e. Vietnamese Dong.

There are certain conditions that your purchases must fulfill if you wish to receive a refund. These include the following:

  • VAT must have been applicable on the purchased goods in the first place, the goods must be unused and actually allowed on an airplane.
  • They should not be on any export restrictions or prohibitions list.
  • You must have all invoices and should declare VAT refunds within 60 days of your departure from Vietnam.
  • The goods must have been bought from a certified retailer of VTA refunded goods, and from the same place in a single day duration.
  • The goods purchased should be worth at least VND 2,000,000.

Procedure To Get A VAT Refund

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If your purchases meet the conditions mentioned above, then you can apply for a VAT refund. 

When buying the products, you should specifically let the staff at the counter know that you wish to get a Tax Refund Receipt. They will require your passport to issue this receipt to you.

It is your responsibility to make sure that the information entered by retailers on the VAT invoices is accurate. If it is not, then you should have it corrected on the spot.

When you are leaving for the airport to catch your flight back, make sure you have these purchased goods properly packed, and are carrying your passport as well as the original invoices and the VAT declaration form.

Once you arrive at the airport, head to the VAT refund customs inspection office to present all the items for your claim. 

The airport staff will check all of these items on the spot, so it will make things easier if you pack them and carry them separately and you are able to retrieve them quickly when needed.

Once you have completed all the paperwork, the staff will collect your boarding pass from you. You can then visit the Tax Refund Desk to receive your refund.

This will be in the local currency, so you might also want to get it converted at the airport via a currency exchange.

Important Things To Remember

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Bear in mind that there are some common errors that might get you into trouble or hinder your refund. These include not registering your bank account where the refund will be coming in, not complying with VAT declaration forms or making multiple changes to the tax return without valid reasons.

Any missing documents will also lead to a rejection of the refund by Vietnamese customs authorities.

You must also know that only foreigners or overseas Vietnamese are eligible for this tax refund scheme. It is not applicable to any cabin crew for airlines or ship crew.


With the curtain drawn on Vietnam’s tax refund system, you’re now equipped with the savvy to claim back what’s rightfully yours.

Travel, shop, and enjoy the Vietnamese landscape, knowing you’ve mastered the fiscal fine print!

Refund Realized!

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