Tax Rebates & Refunds

Belarus launches tax rebate scheme for tourist shoppers

January 20, 2013
Posted in Tax Rebates — Written by Geoffrey

Belarus has launched a VAT tax refund scheme for foreign tourists making purchases from its retail outlets, becoming the first country in the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan to do so.

The country’s government has altered its tax system in order to offer the tax refund to foreign visitors, who will need to spend a certain amount at one participating outlet in one day in order to qualify for the new system. The figure that has been named is BYR 800,000, which is around £57or $92.

At present, VAT in Belarus is 20 per cent. However, tourists who meet the qualifying criteria and spend the aforementioned amount on their visit to Belarus can now claim this VAT back. They will need to produce a receipt to border checkpoint staff, who will then process the VAT tax refund. The only exclusions to the scheme are reduced rate VAT items, souvenirs, alcohol and tobacco.

The aim of such a system, which has proved successful in Jersey and other Channel Islands as well as in other countries worldwide, is to encourage spending by tourists and to bring more visitors into the country. The Belarusian government is particularly keen to implement the changes to the tax system ahead of the World Hockey Championship which will be held in the nation’s capital Minsk, in 2014, during which it can expect to see an influx of foreign visitors.

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