Tax Free option gains popularity

Belarusian shops are actively introducing a Tax Free system
Tax Free in Minsk GUMBy Oksana Zakharova

On the eve of the Ice Hockey World Championship, Belarusian shops are actively introducing a Tax Free system, which allows the return of VAT for purchases made by foreigners.

According to the experience of other countries, where such a system has been long operating, buyers don’t miss an opportunity to save money on VAT, so sales volumes also increase. The Tax Free option was launched in Belarus last year and is now functioning in 70 Minsk shops. Over that period, about 300 VAT return cheques have been issued in the capital alone — worth over Br800m. In particular, guests from Lithuania, Ukraine, Austria, Germany, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden, China, Israel, Italy, Angola, Cyprus, Yemen and Azerbaijan have taken advantage of this opportunity. Minsk’s GUM (city department store) became a pioneer in the Tax Free system in Belarus, where the first cheque to return 15 percent of the goods’ cost was drawn last October.

“At present, 85 cheques have been already drawn,” notes GUM’s Deputy Director Svetlana Pristupa. “The number of those wishing to use this bonus is increasing, with foreigners buying mostly jewellery, clothes, particularly Belarusian knitwear goods, as well as watches and souvenirs.”

The number of trade outlets, introducing the Tax Free system, has recently increased in the border regional centres. For example, it has now been operating in the central department store in Brest since February.

VAT in our country is returned to foreigners if the purchase is over Br800,000, the goods must be purchased on the same store and if made during one working day.
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