UnionPay card holders to enjoy tourist tax refunds in urban areas

Taipei-Foreign tourists shopping with a China UnionPay bank or credit card will be entitled to value-added tax (VAT) refunds in the urban areas of Taipei and Kaohsiung, Taiwan's National Credit Card Center announced Monday.

Beginning on Tuesday, UnionPay card holders will be able to apply for the 5-percent VAT tax refund at four designated downtown locations in the two special municipalities, the center said.

The locations include Taipei 101, the A8 branch of Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store in Taipei's Xinyi District, the Zhongxiao branch of SoGo Department Store in Taipei, and the Hanshin Department Store in Kaohsiung.

Foreign travelers who make purchases of at least NT$2,000 (US$65) on the same day from the same store will be eligible for the downtown refunds, the center said, explaining that the measure is aimed at encouraging tourists to shop more.

It is hoped that the move will create "shop again" business opportunities in terms of high-end tourism, the center said.

As part of efforts to boost tourism, the government began electronic tax refund services in May last year at airports and ports around the country.

Also, the four landmark department stores in downtown Taipei and Kaohsiung were designated to provide tourist tax refund services, according to the Ministry of Finance.

Moreover, travelers can claim the refunds with various brands of credit cards, including Visa, Mastercard and JCB.

Because Chinese tourists are major foreign shoppers in Taiwan, the ministry decided to add UnionPay cards to the list.

Source: Overseas Community Affairs Council