Home DestinationsAsia South Korea Tax Refund 2024 : Calculations, Limits, and Procedures

South Korea Tax Refund 2024 : Calculations, Limits, and Procedures

by Ethan
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South Korea Tax Refund 2023 : In this article, we’ll delve into the intricate details of the 2023 South Korea tax refund process, covering various aspects of this enticing financial advantage for travelers. Whether you’re planning to shop for cosmetics or fashion items, South Korea offers a unique shopping experience that makes it a haven for female shoppers, especially with the current favorable exchange rates for the Korean Won.

South Korea Travel Essentials

Before embarking on your journey, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the various aspects of South Korea’s tax refund system. Let’s explore how you can maximize your savings through tax refunds, step by step.

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South Korea Tax Refund Calculations

South Korea’s tax refund system operates on a tiered basis. While the refund amount remains consistent across all tiers, the refund percentages differ. The highest refund percentage is a remarkable 7%, applicable when making purchases worth 50,000 Korean Won or more.

South Korea Tax Refund Rates

To give you a clearer picture of the tax refund rates in South Korea, here’s a breakdown of refundable amounts and percentages from two renowned tax refund providers:

  • Global Blue Tax Free (Blue):
    • For purchases ranging from 30,000 to 49,999 Korean Won, you’re eligible for a refund of 1,500 Korean Won (equivalent to a 3-5% refund).
    • On purchases from 50,000 to 74,999 Korean Won, you can receive a 3,500 Korean Won refund (4.7-7%).
    • The refund amount increases with higher spending tiers, reaching up to 16,000 Korean Won for purchases between 250,000 and 274,999 Korean Won.
  • Tax Free KOREA (Red):
    • The refund structure under Tax Free KOREA is similar to that of Global Blue Tax Free.
Consumption Amount (Korean Won)Global Blue Tax Free (Blue)Refund PercentageTax Free KOREA (Red)Refund Percentage
30,000-49,9991,5003 – 5%2,0004 – 6.7%
50,000-74,9993,5004.7 – 7%3,0004 – 6%
75,000-99,9995,0005 – 6.7%5,0005 – 6.7%
100,000-124,9996,5005.2 – 6.5%7,0005 – 6.7%
125,000-149,9998,0005.3 – 6.4%8,0005.3 – 6.7%
150,000-174,9999,5005.4 – 6.3%9,0005.1 – 6%
175,000-199,99911,0005.5 – 6.3%10,0005 – 5.7%
200,000-224,99912,5005.6 – 6.3%12,0005 – 5.7%
225,000-249,99914,0005.6 – 6.2%13,0005.5 – 5.8%
250,000-274,99916,0005.8 – 6.4%15,0005.5 – 6%

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South Korea Tax Refund Limits

The tax refund you can receive depends on where you shop and the specifics of your purchases. Let’s explore the scenarios:

  1. Shops with Tax-Free Labels (On-the-Spot Tax Refunds):
    • Some larger supermarkets offer on-the-spot tax refunds. However, certain conditions apply. Your single purchase should be a minimum of 30,000 Korean Won, with a maximum of 50,000 Korean Won. Alternatively, your cumulative spending during your stay in South Korea should not exceed 2.5 million Korean Won. If your expenses surpass this limit, you’ll need to seek refunds through other means.
  2. Post-Purchase Tax Refunds:
    • South Korea raised the total tax-free spending limit to 5 million Korean Won in 2017. Any amount exceeding this threshold is not eligible for a refund.

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Navigating the Tax Refund Process

The tax refund process in South Korea is straightforward and convenient, comprising three methods:

1. On-the-Spot Tax Refund

Applicable for stores with Tax Free labels:

When shopping at these stores, you can instantly receive your tax refund if your purchase exceeds the specified minimum. Simply present your passport during the checkout, and the refund amount will be deducted from your total payment. Alternatively, the staff may refund the amount after the transaction is completed.

2. Post-Purchase In-City Kiosk Tax Refund

For a hassle-free tax refund process, consider utilizing city kiosks. To be eligible for this method, your tax refund amount must be less than 75,000 Korean Won. You’ll receive the refund in cash, but a security hold will be placed on your credit card for the refund amount. You can expect the refund within three weeks after your departure.

Remember to retain your tax refund receipt and have it stamped by customs at the airport when using this method.

3. Post-Purchase Airport Tax Refund

For tax refunds less than 75,000 Korean Won:

Use a self-service electronic tax refund kiosk at the airport. You won’t need to have your goods inspected by customs during your departure, and you can place the items directly in your checked luggage.

For refunds exceeding 75,000 Korean Won:

If your refund surpasses this amount, your goods will require customs inspection. You can bring carry-on luggage for customs examination upon exiting the country. As for checked luggage, notify the airline staff at the check-in counter that you have items for customs inspection. Bring your boarding pass and luggage to the customs counter for inspection and the refund process. Once the inspection is complete, you can check in your luggage.

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Airport Tax Refund Locations

For your convenience, here are the tax refund counter locations at South Korea’s major airports:

1. Incheon Airport

  • Terminal 1:
    • Pre-Departure: Departure Halls B, D, J, L Areas
    • Post-Departure: Boarding Gate 28
  • Terminal 2:
    • Pre-Departure: Departure Halls D, E Areas
    • Post-Departure: Boarding Gates 249 or 253

2. Gimpo Airport

  • Pre-Departure: 2nd-floor Departure Hall Gates 1, 2, 3
  • Post-Departure: In front of Lotte Duty-Free Shop

3. Jeju Airport

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