Thailand Adopts Blockchain to Refund Tourists’ Taxes

26th Nov 2019

AirAsia Plane

Foreign nationals visiting Thailand will enjoy a more convenient way of refunding value-added taxes (VAT) beginning November 30, 2019 as the government adopted the use of technology for such incentive.

The government of Thailand announced on November 15 that it has switched from paper works to WeChat mobile application to process VAT refunds to foreign tourists. The application, which is very popular to Chinese tourists, is equipped with blockchain technology to process the refunds. China is Thailand’s largest market in terms of tourist arrivals.

On the other hand, tourists can also opt to get the refunds directly through their credit cards.

The government said part of the seamless transaction was to also increase the ceiling to 30,000 baht per tourist from only 12,000 baht previously. It has likewise extended the refunds to 10 international airports from only two at present.

The new refund scheme will now be available at international airports namely Suvarnabhumi, Don Muang, Hat Yai, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, Krabi, Pattaya U-Tapao, Koh Samui, and Surat Thani.

The government, through the Ministry of Finance, said it partnered with state-owned Kringthai Bank for the agreement. It covers three pilot projects with the first being the use of blockchain technology; the second which is the inclusion of a facility that will allow members to apply and be issued of savings bonds, and thirdly, allowing for letters of credit ratings to be issued with more convenience.

Thailand expects up to two million tourists to benefit from the new scheme when purchasing goods.

In October this year, the Ministry designated three 7-Eleven convenience stores in Bangkok to process refunds, a move which drew flak from a non-profit organization, after five well-known shopping centers filed to assist with refunds but were disregarded to process refunds.