2014年2月20日 星期四

[Travel Taiwan] Money Matters III: Tipping & Tax Refund


Tipping

There is no custom of tipping in Taiwan. However:
1. In nice hotels, the bellhops might expect you to tip a small amount of NT50 or NT100 (since NT50 don't come in paper money and it's rude to tip coins?), especially if you dress well. Nobody's gonna spit in your morning coffee if you don't though. I personally never tip because I'm a no-income student.
2. Most restaurants will add a fixed service fee (服務費) to the bill, this is not negotiable, and is usually 10%. 
3. In most restaurants, there will be a "tipping box" (小費箱) at the cashier, where you can drop in any loose changes or bills if you feel generous. The money may go to charity funds (it will say so on the box) or the store. 
4. Some places forbid their employees to accept any tips from customers. Others deem tips as part of their earnings and demand their employees to hand over any received tips to manager. If you go to such a place and really want to tip the waiter because they are just oh so sweet, do it secretly or try to give it to them in disguised forms.
5. When you tip, make sure the recipient understands it's for them! Most people are not familiar with being tipped and will think you've  handed them the wrong amount, returning the excess money. 

Tax


Shown price includes all taxes. No confusing tax calculation!


Tax Refund (VAT Refund)

Taiwan's tax is really low compared to other countries, which means the VAT refund for travelers is measly at only 5%. 
If you are going to buy higher priced items like designer bags or cameras, consider applying for tax refund. 
If you aren't going to spend a lot, or your main shopping destination is night markets, then I wouldn't suggest applying for tax refund, because the refund is so low and might not worth the trouble of filling out forms and long lines at the airport. (tax refund in Korea was 10% and it still drove me mad!) Besides, we could really use the revenue?
(As a Taiwanese citizen I've obviously never dealt with tax refund in Taiwan, so excuse any possible errors, and I might update this if I find any friends that had done so)

Who can apply for tax refund: 

Foreign travelers holding passports from countries other than Taiwan (ROC) who's leaving Taiwan in 30 days. (PRC citizens can too)

What is eligible for tax refund: 

Purchases of NT$3000 or more on the same day from the  same TRS (Tax Refund Shopping) store is eligible for 5%VAT refund.

Fresh produce like milk, fish and such are not eligible for VAT Refund because technically you can't take them out of the country.

As the refund is only for non-citizens, the purchased goods must leave Taiwan.

How to apply for tax refund:
1. Find a TRS store. (List of TRS stores in Chinese)

2. Make purchase of NT$3000 or more in the same store. Ask for Uniform Invoice統一發票 (paper receipt) and VAT Refund application form. Fill them out.

3. When at airport, don't check in your purchased goods! Put them in hand carry. Find Foreign Passenger VAT Refund Service Counter at port of departure. (If you bought a lot, maybe you can check your bags in after you finish tax refund?)
*chart courtesy of taiwan.net.tw
Point of Departure
Location of Refund Counter
Taipei Songshan AirportCustoms Service Counter
Taiwan Taoyuan Int'l Airport Terminal 1Departure Hall, 1F, Customs Service Counter
Taiwan Taoyuan Int'l Airport Terminal 2Departure Hall, 3F, Customs Service Counter
Taichung AirportCustoms Service Counter
Kaohsiung Airport3F, Customs Service Counter
Hualien Airport1F, Customs Service Counter
Keelung HarborEast 2nd Pier, West 2nd Pier
Taichung HarborCustoms Service Counter
Kaohsiung Harbor3F, Passenger Terminal
Hualien Harbor1F, Customs Service Counter
Kinmen HarborCustoms Service Counter
4. Present Application Form for VAT Refund, passport or other designated travel document, purchased goods, and original copy of Uniform Invoice to Customs officers.

*Some stores provide on-site VAT Refund service (list of stores in Chinese) so you will be doing this step in store. Be sure to keep the certificates and Uniform Receipt, the customs might check it later.
5. After verification, Customs officers will issue a "VAT Refund Assessment Certificate."

6. Present "VAT Refund Asses
sment Certificate" to designated bank at airport or seaport for issuance of refund due.



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