Thailand Planning To Adopt Blockchain-Based VAT Refund For Tourists
The Finance Ministry is planning to adopt blockchain-based VAT (i.e., value-added tax) refund service for foreign tourists, from this month-end.
The blockchain technology for VAT compensation must speed up the process for tourists all over the world as details of their purchases will be immediately shared with the Customs Department and the Revenue Department once shops store the information in the system, said Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana after signing a MOU along with Krungthai Bank to apply the blockchain technology in three pilot projects.
Foreign tourists will be able to demand VAT refunds with the help of the application from 28 November. He said they are prescribed to name the channel such as credit card or WeChat through which they want to receive the money-back.
At least 2 million foreign travelers purchase goods and services in Thailand, amounting to fifty billion baht yearly. On an average 200,000 tourists a month claim a VAT refund, 70% of whom are Chinese tourists who do not like to hold cash, said Mr. Uttama.
Reduction in the document verification process and the use of ten million sheets of paper yearly, slash congestion and, lower cash management costs at VAT refund counters can be done by implementing blockchain technology.
The blockchain-based value, added tax refund service, can automatically accept such claims even if the purchase amount is meager, revealed a source well known with the issue, without specifying any particular amount.
The value-added tax refund for foreign tourists is one of the three projects that has implemented this technology. The rests are letters of credit and scripless savings bond issuance for electronic or digital procurement.
Mr. Uttama said, “The Public Debt Management Office plans to allow people to access Bond Direct applications to purchase savings bonds, with values starting from one baht.” The first savings bond issuance available through the app is scheduled to sell in May 2020.
With the help of blockchain technology, people can smoothly access savings bond subscriptions and shorten the scripless bond issuance process to 2 days from 15 days presently. The process for blockchain-based Letter of Credit issuance for state acquisition will be conducted to inspect collateral put up by bidders and boost confidence about collateral security. The ministry is encouraging different agencies under its direction to implement blockchain technology.