Thailand to introduce value added tax return via blockchain for tourists


File photo: CGTN

BANGKOK, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Thai Ministry of Finance's Revenue Department on Wednesday said it will launch a brand new blockchain technology project to allow foreign tourists to claim value-added tax (VAT) refunds at all tax-free shops at Thai airports via an application starting on Jan. 17.

The blockchain technology for VAT refunds will shorten the process in the document verification and lower management costs and piles of hard copy papers at shops; data input into the blockchain system will be shared in real time with the Revenue Department and the Thai Customs Department, said Ekniti Nitithanprapas, director-general of the Revenue Department.

Ekniti said that when tourists show their passports to the shop for their first purchase, the shop will have key information into the system; the tourists' following purchases in other shops will be added into the system automatically when they show their passports to the shops.

The tourists can choose to get their refunds through credit cards or bank accounts.

Ekniti said the new technology can help reduce congestions at VAT refund counters.

The Revenue Department also revealed figures indicating that 2.6 million foreign tourists claimed VAT refunds in 2019.

Meanwhile goods purchased at tax-free shops at Thai airports amounted to more than 46 billion baht (1.52 billion U.S. dollars).

Ekniti said he expects that the new blockchain-based service will stimulate tourists' spending.