Shanghai launched its first centralized tax refund point in a central commercial district on May 1, offering better tax refund service for overseas travelers.
This centralized refund point for departure tax rebates is located in Plaza 66, one of the busiest shopping malls in Shanghai.
After shopping at stores that provide instant departure tax refund service, eligible overseas travelers will be rebated with the value-added tax at the centralized tax refund point in the mall.
In early 2019, Shanghai became China's first pilot city for instant departure tax refund service, which allows overseas travelers to get an instant tax refund in cash from merchants after shopping. However, some shops eager to participate in the program are restrained by cash management issues.
After the launch of the tax refund point, the tax will be rebated by tax refund agencies, which allows more merchants to easily participate in the pilot policy.
The Balmain store in Plaza 66 is among the first batch of participating stores. Yao Yunna, the person in charge of the store, said the company had always hoped to provide customers with instant tax refund service, but they were worried about the pressure of tax refund management.
"The centralized tax refund service provides more convenience, and I hope it can be promoted to other malls in Shanghai as soon as possible. As the global COVID-19 outbreak shows signs of improvement, I believe this pilot can effectively attract more overseas customers," Yao said.
Zafar Engin from Turkey went shopping at the Balmain store in Plaza 66 on the morning of May 1, and immediately received a cash refund of over 200 yuan (about $28). Engin said he received the tax refund in just five minutes, which is more convenient than in many countries that he had visited.
"I plan to use the cash to buy some small gifts for my family," he said.
On April 23, Shanghai rolled out a series of policies to promote consumption, including tax-free consumption. Sui Lei with the Shanghai Municipal Tax Service of State Taxation Administration said Shanghai will continue to expand the scope of the instant departure tax refund service to provide more convenience for travelers.
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