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Belarus Introduces Tourist Tax Refund Scheme

by Tatiana Smolenskaya, Tax-News.com, Moscow

10 January 2013


Belarus has introduced changes to its tax system in order to give VAT refunds to foreign visitors who spend at least BYR800,000 (USD92) in one participating outlet during one day.

Belarus is the first country in the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan to introduce such a system.

VAT in Belarus is currently 20%. Under the system, the VAT will be returned to the purchaser at a border checkpoint on the production of a receipt. At checkpoints where there is no bank office, the money will be returned by bank transfer. Tobacco, alcohol, reduced rate VAT items and souvenirs will not be included in the scheme.

The new scheme in Belarus was implemented by Law No.431-3, which was passed on October 26, 2012. The country's Ministry of Sports and Tourism was particularly keen to see the tax break introduced ahead of the World Hockey Championship, which will be held in Minsk in 2014.

TAGS: tax | value added tax (VAT) | legislation | Belarus | retail

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