It’s no news that Asia’s big cities are a heaven for shopaholics. Shopping malls, markets and designer boutiques line the streets and the choice of clothes, accessories and electronics is practically endless. When buying more expensive wares, getting tax refund should be something to keep in mind. With only a little effort you can nibble some cash off your holiday budget – that means there’s more to spend on the next getaway!

Getting your tourist tax refund right before you leave the country may seem like a difficult procedure, but luckily it’s not that hard. Just make sure you have some extra time at the airport before your flight departs. We give you a short overview on how to get your tax back at some of Asia’s best shopping cities.


In Singapore, a lot of products you buy will be levied with 7% Goods and Service Tax (GST). Luckily, it’s quite easy to get this tax refunded when you leave the country as a tourist. First, make sure the shop you bought your goods at has a “Tax Free Shopping” or “Premier Tax Free” sign and that the purchase is at least SGD100 of value. Upon checkout, present your passport at the counter and ask for the tax-refund form. Since 2012 Singapore has an electronical tax refund system, stores that support this will hand you the eTRS forms.

At the airport, go to the eTRS or customs desk and show the tax refund froms, your passport, air ticket and purchased goods. If everything is checked and OK, you’ll receive a slip. Show this to on of the Refund counters in the departure lounge to receive your money. For more detailed info, check the official Tourist Refund Scheme Singapore website.

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Bangkok (Thailand)

Bangkok is a perfect place for shopping luxury wares and electronics, and luckily more and more stores will give you tax refund if you’re on a Tourist Visa, look for the sign that says VAT refund. To be eligible for the refund, you need to spend at least 2000 THB at a single store, and your total claim must exceed 5000 THB.

When you purchase the item, request the VAT refund form (P.P.10) and the original tax invoice from the store. At the airport, show the forms, the receipt and the purchased goods at the customs desk in the departure area. After check-in, at the departure lounge, proceed to the VAT refund office and receive your payment in either cash or transfered to your credit card account. Check the VAT Refund website for more details.

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Hong Kong

We cannot name this article “How to get Tourist Tax Refund in Asia’s best shopping cities“, and then leave Hong Kong out. Hong Kong is shopping heaven on earth, and luckily there’s no tax on most items. No need to get your tax refunded, as you simply didn’t pay any!

Taipei (Taiwan)

Tourist who purchase at least NTD 3000 worth of goods on the same day from the same Tax Refund Shopping (TRS)-posted store, are eligible for a refund of the 5% VAT paid on those purchased items. To claim the refund, simply apply at the departure airport within 30 days following the date of purchase. Make sure you show the refund forms, receipt and the purchased items. More info at the official VAT Taiwan website.

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Melisa Richter author profile

Melissa is a passionate foodie, travel writer, and editor working in media internationally and in the USA. She has lived in Bangkok since 2004 and has a background in the travel industry. Melissa’s writing has been published globally in many prestigious online and print magazines for over a decade. Her motto for life is “You cannot live or love well if you have not wined and dined well!”