Korea tax refund

Duty Free and Tax Refunds in Korea

Scared of having spent too much on your vacation? Hesitating to purchase as you see the total amount after taxes? Fidgeting as you board the return flight back home, laden with shopping bags, thinking you went off-budget? Fret not, because shopping in Korea for foreign visitors is a breath of fresh air, as it entails a tax refund.

Let’s see how to get a tax refund in ICN and an instant tax refund in stores

How to get a tax refund in Incheon Airport

For the unaware tourist, how to get a Korean tax refund at the airport is a big question. But it is a fairly easy process. First, have all your tax refund and original receipts in hand. Secondly, reach the airport a bit early, at least 3 hours prior to your flight. Thirdly, get your boarding pass and inform the counter personnel about your tax refund intentions. You will be guided to a Customs Declaration counter, where your receipts will be verified and stamped “All Goods Exported.” Fourthly, check-in your luggage, and move to the tax refund kiosk, to scan the required documents. Lastly, the tax refund counter will await your arrival, money in hand for you, to take back home and enjoy. 

Here, check the tax refund counter in Terminal 1 where the Duty-Free Zone Floor 4, near Gate 26-27, is located. Operating hours from 7 am to 10 pm.

Korea tax refund

In Terminal 2, you can find counters in the Duty-Free Zone Floor 3, near Gate 253. Operating hours from 7 am to 10 pm.

ICN tax refund

In case you arrive outside of the operating hours of the Refund Counter, you can still get your refund by using the automated kiosks which operate 24 hours.

Korea tax refund

Terminal 1

  • Public accessible area Floor 3, near Customs Desks and near the central pharmacy
  • Duty-Free Zone Floor 4, near Gate 26

ICN tax refund

Terminal 2

  • Duty-Free Zone Floor 3, near Gate 250, 253

ICN tax refund

Instant Tax Refund in Stores

Korea’s enticing tax refund scheme means, that the Value-Added tax included in products you buy, might not have to be paid by you, or you will get an instant tax refund since you are merely a visitor and not a Korean national. When someone says tax-free, the duty-free shops of the airport flash in our minds, and rightly so. Shopping at the airport has its own benefits, as you do not have to pay the duty or taxes on most products. However, the Korean government has taken this idea up a notch to give tourists economic grace.

Obtaining a tax refund in Korea has never been easier with the attractiveness of more than 12,000 shops sporting the label of ‘Tax-free’. Some of these shops may be an instant tax refund shop, meaning that they would not apply the tax to your purchase, but might ask you to show your passport for verification (a small feat for a large saving!), thereby making it less expensive, resulting in an ecstatic tourist 🙂 . Or the shops may not give you an immediate tax refund, and instead hand you a tax refund slip along with the receipt, requesting you to obtain a refund in the machine.

Korea tax refund

In the mood for a shopping spree when visiting Korea? Korea’s tax refund system makes it easier and viable for you. Shop your heart out at Myeong-dong Street – get your hands on those famous Korean beauty products, or local fashion ensembles, whilst guaranteed of a Seoul tax refund courtesy of the Tax-free logo in the store. Or visit the Yongsan district for all things electronic. But remember, there is a minimum limit to the amount spent before you get a tax refund. So be sure to check the tax refund eligibility on Korean tourism websites, and plan your spending accordingly.

Happy shopping!

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