CU convenience store develops on-site value-added tax refund system for foreign tourists

By Park Sae-jin Posted : December 27, 2022, 09:41 Updated : December 27, 2022, 09:41

[Courtesy of CU]

SEOUL -- South Korea's top convenience store franchise CU has developed an on-site tax refund system for foreign tourists. Using the system, tourists can receive tax refunds for purchases of more than 30,000 won ($23.6) and less than 500,000 won without having to carry their receipts to an international airport.
Just about every product or service that is provided in South Korea includes a value-added tax (VAT) of 10 percent. Foreign tourists who paid more than 30,000 won at a store can receive partial refunds when they submit their receipts to manned and unmanned kiosks at international airports and ports. The refund system does not apply to those who have stayed in South Korea for more than six months for receipts for products that were purchased more than three months before departure.
To help tourists get an easy refund for their taxes, there are some 110,000 stores across the country that provide on-site tax refunds. However, many of those stores are located inside large shopping mall complexes frequently visited by tourists.
BGF Retail, the operator of CU, said that the company developed a point of sales (POS) system that a clerk can use to scan the passport of a foreign customer to automatically deduct the VAT from the total payment of more than 30,000 won and less than 500,000 won. The special POS system will be applied to 50 selected stores that are frequently visited by foreign tourists and expand the number of supported stores to up to one thousand by the end of 2023.
According to data released by the Seoul Tourism Organization, a total of 492,727 foreign tourists visited tourist information centers in Seoul between January and November 2022. The number of tourists increased by eight times compared to the same period last year.
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