Sri Lanka to open VAT refund counter for tourists at Bandaranaike Airport

BIA Airport

Sept 10, 2018 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Finance Ministry is to open a special counter at the Bandaranaike International Airport to implement the new VAT refund system for foreign tourists.

When foreign tourists purchase goods that are tax deductible, they are able to claim 15 percent VAT charged on such goods as a refund through this special counter.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera is set to open this new facility at Bandaranaike International Airport’s departure terminal on Tuesday evening.

Business owners should register with the Department of Inland Revenue in order to enter this special VAT refund scheme.

So far, 18 shops have been registered with the Inland Revenue Department to contribute to the payment of VAT refunds to foreigners.

2018 budget proposed this refund system to attract foreign tourists to Sri Lanka as one of the measures taken to establish Sri Lanka as a trading hub.

Some Asian countries place dedicated VAT refund stations in international airports, where foreigners can present receipts and get a refund for purchased items while other countries provide tax refund desks within stores.

This new system is expected to create a stepping stone to make Sri Lanka a retail hub and an attractive shopping destination in the Southeast Asian region.