• Duty Free & Tax Refunds

        • 04/03/2023

        • 30.6K



        • Discount Shopping

        • Tax refund

        • Korean Shopping

        • shopping

  • Korea’s Tax Free System can largely be divided into “Duty Free” and “Tax Refund.” Read on and find out how you can receive tax benefits while shopping in Korea!           

    CategoryDuty FreeTax Refund             
    (Applies to stores with “Tax Refund” or “Tax Free” label)
    Regular tax refund Immediate tax refund
    Store typeDuty free storesTax refund storesTax refund stores
    Retail priceExcludes value-added tax & individual consumption taxIncludes value-added tax & individual consumption tax
    Tax-free systemTaxes are waivedTaxes are refunded within 1~2 monthsTaxes are refunded within 1~2 months
    Tax-free / Tax refund locationsDuty free stores in downtown and inside airports* Tax refund booths inside airports and port terminals (no limit on purchase amount)        
    * Downtown tax refund booths (Purchase must not exceed 6,000,000 won per receipt)
    Select stores in downtown

    In duty free shops, taxes are not applied on the retail price, including Value Added Tax (VAT) and Individual Consumption Tax. Duty free shops are generally operated by large department store chains, including Lotte, Shilla and Shinsegae among others, and are located within airports and downtown.      

    In comparison, tax refund is a system where shoppers buy items at full price, including tax, then apply for a refund on the paid tax before leaving the country. In general, tax refunds can be received by submitting the applicable receipts at a proper tax refund booth or kiosk before leaving the country. Since January 1, 2016, tourists have been able to effortlessly receive an immediate tax refund up to a certain limit when shopping at certified stores. Department stores and large supermarkets were the first to implement immediate tax refund system, which have now expanded to even smaller shops as well as select convenience stores.


    Tax Refund Requirement & Eligibility

    * Purchase amount must be 15,000 won or more 
    * Product(s) must be new (unopened and unused) 
    * Must depart Korea three months within purchase date
    * Non-Korean citizens staying in Korea for less than six months
    * Overseas Koreans staying in Korea for less than three months and have lived overseas for more than two years or hold a permanent residency in another country 


    Tax Refund Guide

    Step 01   

    Step 02   
    Ask for tax refund

    Step 03   
    Receive refund

    Step 04   
    Depart Korea


    [Step 1] Receive and keep tax refund receipts when purchasing items.  
    Before making your purchase, be sure to check that the retail business is a participating store of the certified tax refund brands. Shops with the refund service should have signs written “Tax Refund” and have “Tax Refund” indicated on their tax refund receipts. Upon check out, present your passport to the cashier and mention you would like to get a tax refund.

    Tip Before making a purchase, be sure to check for the store mark!

    If the store sign or receipt has one of the following certification marks with either “Tax free” or “Tax refund” written, you can claim your tax refund.

    【 Photo: Logos of companies offering tax refund services 】

    [Step 2] Claim your tax refund at major airports and service branches located nationwide.

    Tax Refund Procedure

    1) At airport and port terminals           

    There is no purchase amount limit during the stay, and tax refunds can be received at the tax refund counter or kiosk. If there is no tax refund counter or if it is closed, write the information of the person who will be receiving the tax refund on the receipt and place it in the designated box on site. If the tax refund request is successfully processed, the amount will be refunded automatically to your international credit card, Alipay, or WeChat Pay within 1 to 2 months.            
    * The procedure may vary by airport or passenger port terminal; travelers are strongly advised to check with a staff on site.


    Airport and port terminal tax refund guide


    Step 01   
    Check in

    Step 02   
    Show refund receipt

    Step 03   
    Check baggage

    Step 04   
    Receive refund


    ① Claim your boarding pass, but do not check your baggage and have your VAT refund receipts ready.            
    ② Show the purchased goods and VAT refund receipts to the customs officer and get the Customs Export Approval stamp on the receipts.            
    ③ Proceed to the oversized baggage counter at the check-in area and check your luggage.            
    ④ Proceed to a nearby tax refund counter or kiosk machine with your passport and tax refund receipt. Actual cash refund can be received in the Duty Free Zone after security inspection and screening.

    Tip! Main refund locations at Incheon International Airport

    * Tax refund counters            
    - Terminal 1: 3F Duty Free Zone near Gate 28            
    - Terminal 2: 3F Check-in counters D & E / 3F Duty Free Zone near Gate 253 

    * Tax refund kiosk machines            
    - Terminal 1: 3F Concourse near the central pharmacy / 3F Duty Free Zone near Gate 28            
    - Terminal 2: 3F Duty Free Zone near Gates 250 & 253            
    ※ As locations may change, travelers are advised to check the locations upon arrival at the airport.

    2) At downtown tax refund booths 

    You can receive either credit card refund, including Alipay and WeChat Pay, or immediate cash refund at tax refund booths in major city downtowns. To receive tax refund at a downtown refund booth, present your purchased goods, VAT refund receipt, passport, and international credit card.


    Downtown tax refund booth guide

    Purchases must not exceed 6,000,000 won per receipt
    Report tax refund and present refund receipt at the customs office or designated refund counter at the airport upon departure
    Tax refund booths in the city downtown only offer refunds for their respective company
    * Tax refund booths in airports and port terminals accept all companies.

    As the refund amount and period may vary depending on the credit card, travelers are advised to check with their credit card company before processing.

    [Immediate tax refund]

    How to receive immediate tax refund on site  

    Travelers who are eligible for tax refund can also receive immediate tax refund at select duty free shops. Immediate tax refund service has its own limitations: the amount of a single payment must be at least 15,000 won but less than 1,000,000 won, and the traveler must have spent no more than 5,000,000 won during the whole trip. Present your passport and ask for a tax refund upon making your purchase.


    ▼ Looking for more info? ▼            
    Global Blue: www.globalblue.com (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Indonesian, German, French, Portuguese)           
    GLOBAL TAX FREE: https://web.gtfetrs.com (Korean, English, Chinese)           
    Easy Tax Refund: www.easytaxrefund.co.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)           
    CubeRefund: www.cuberefund.com (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)           
    eTAX FREE: http://hwp.dothome.co.kr/ (Korean only)


    1330 Korea Travel Helpline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Thai, Malay)               
    * This page was last updated on June 25, 2024 and therefore information may differ from what is presented here.

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