In a bid to attract more tourists to Sri Lanka, the government is launching a new system for tourists to reclaim 15 percent VAT for the goods they have purchased in Sri Lanka, with effect from today, the Finance and Mass Media Ministry announced yesterday.
A special counter will be launched at the departure terminal of Katunayake Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) by Finance and Mass Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera in the evening today.
The initiative is part of the government’s vision to transform the country into a trading hub of Asia, in line with the 2018 budget proposals.
The Finance and Mass Media Ministry expects that the initiative would attract more foreign tourists to Sri Lanka by becoming a competitive trading hub. The initiative is also expected to attract more tourists to Colombo’s expanding retail space. According to JLL, around 8-10 retail mall developments are expected to be launched in Colombo during 2018-2019.
The VAT refund scheme has been proposed by the 2018 budget and it is implemented by the Department of Inland Revenue (IRD) and the business enterprises should register with the IRD under this programme for repayment of VAT to become eligible under this scheme.
According to the IRD, 18 shops that sell goods and garments have already been registered under the IRD to become qualified under this procedure.
The ministry also stated that any enterprise that is willing to be stakeholders of this system can register under the IRD based on their permanent VAT number.