One pleasure foreigners cannot miss out on when visiting Korea is shopping! To make your shopping experience not only more enjoyable but also easier on your budget, try shopping at a Duty Free or Tax Free shop.
Tax Free System
Korea's Tax Free System can largely be divided into "Duty Free" and "Tax Refund." In Duty Free shops, no tax is applied to the price of the items, including Value Added Tax (VAT) and Individual Consumption Tax. These stores are generally operated by large department store chains, including Lotte, Shilla and Shinsegae among others, and are located in airports and downtown.
In comparison, Tax Refund refers to shops that apply a tax to the items and after purchasing at the full price, tourists can apply for a refund of the taxes paid before leaving the country.
In general, tax refunds can be received by submitting the receipt at the proper tax refund booth when leaving the country. However, from January 1, 2016, tourists can receive an immediate tax refund below a certain limit when shopping at certified Tax Free stores. Starting at department stores and marts where foreigners typically shop, the immediate tax refund system is expanding to all Tax Free shops.
☞ More info on Duty Free Shops
Tax Free Stores
1. Procedure for immediate tax refund when purchasing goods at Tax Free stores
To receive an immediate tax refund on purchases at Tax Free stores, you must present your passport. The total purchase price, tax included, must be more than 30,000 won and less than 200,000 won and is limited to a total of less than 1,000,000 won for the duration of one's trip in Korea. For purchases over these limits, you can apply for a tax refund at the airport or one of the certified refund booths throughout the country.
☞ Immediate tax refund benefit upon purchase
2. Procedure for delayed tax refund after purchasing goods at Tax Free stores
[Step 1] Keep your VAT refund receipts when purchasing items.
Be sure to check the retail business is a participating store of the certified "Tax Free" brands offering the tax refund service when making your purchases. Shops with the refund service should have signs saying "Tax Free," as well as have "Tax Free" listed on their VAT refund receipts.
※ For Easy Tax Free and SJ TAXFREE, refunds are only available at designated airports and ports.
[Step 2] Claim your tax refund at major airports and service branches located nationwide.
- ① Get your boarding pass but do not check in your luggage.
- ② Show the purchased goods and VAT refund receipts to the customs officer and get the Customs Export Approval stamp on the receipts. For a total refund of less than 75,000 won, you can use the kiosk machine. However, please be aware that the kiosk system is sometimes not available.
※ For a total refund of less than 75,000 won, you can use the kiosk machine. However, please
- ③ Proceed to the oversized baggage counter at the check-in area and check-in your luggage.
- ④ After going through customs, proceed to the appropriate refund counter (4F Tax Refund Zone by Gate 27) on the departures floor to get your cash refund upon presenting your passport and receipt.
Using the tax refund service at airports/port terminals without service desks or when the service booth is closed: Fill out the tax refund application form then put it into a designated box available on site. The tax refund will be credited back to your international credit card within a period of 1-2 months if your request is successfully made. Be aware that the process is slightly different from the process for applying in person so please confirm the details in advance.
2. At other tax refund booths available outside of airports or ports
Present your purchased goods, VAT refund receipt, passport, and international credit card at the VAT refund booth to get an on-site refund in cash. However, if the tax refundable goods are already endorsed with clearance to carry out, the receipt should be submitted at the customs office or designated refund service desks. Another note to remember is that tax refund booths outside of the airport can only provide refunds offered by their respective company. Only the booths inside the airports and ports can provide total refunds, regardless of company.
Refunds for Alipay and UnionPay may differ by company from the aforementioned.
※ Tax refund booths outside of the airport can only provide refunds offered by their respective company. Only the booths inside the airports and ports can provide total refunds regardless of company.
|Location of Tax Refund Booths
* As of December 2016
Global Blue service window
Global Tax Free service window
Global Tax Free kiosk machine
KT Tourist Reward service window
KT Tourist Reward kiosk machine
Easy Tax Refund service window
Easy Tax Refund kiosk machine
CubeRefund service window
eTAX FREE service window
Global Blue and Global Tax Free, as well as Easy Tax Refund and Easy Tax Free are separate organizations offering tax refund services. Therefore, please check the logos at the shops when purchasing goods for tax refunds.
- ☞ Global Blue: www.globalblue.com (English, Chinese, Russian)
- ☞ Global Tax Free: web.gtfetrs.com (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
- ☞ KT Tourist Reward: www.koreataxfree.com (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
- ☞ Easy Tax Refund: www.easytaxrefund.co.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
- ☞ CubeRefund: www.cuberefund.com (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
- ☞ EASY TAX FREE: email inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
- ☞ eTAX FREE: email inquiries to email@example.com (English, Japanese, Chinese)
- ☞ SJ TAX FREE: www.sjtaxfree.com (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
- ☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
< Last updated on December 19, 2016 >