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Understanding VAT Refunds for Non-Resident Businesses in Korea

Welcome to my blog article on VAT refunds for non-resident businesses operating in South Korea. In this guide, we will delve into the intricacies of VAT (Value Added Tax) refunds, explaining the eligibility criteria, the scope of goods and services covered, and the procedures for obtaining a VAT refund. We'll also discuss the option of appointing a representative to facilitate the process. Let's get started.

Scope of VAT Refunds

VAT Refund Eligibility Criteria

Before diving into the details, it's crucial to understand whether your business qualifies for a VAT refund in South Korea. Let's explore the eligibility requirements.

Goods and Services Covered

VAT refunds apply to specific goods and services. We'll provide a comprehensive list of what falls under the refundable category and what doesn't. It's included Food, Accommodation, Hotel, Advertising, Electricity, Rent of realty and so on.


However, not all purchases made by non-resident businesses are eligible for VAT refunds. We'll highlight some of the key exclusions to keep in mind.

Eligibility Requirements

Meeting the Minimum Refundable Amount

To qualify for a VAT refund, your business needs to meet a minimum threshold 300,000won. We'll break down the financial requirements for eligibility.

Reciprocity Principle

Understand the reciprocity principle and how it affects your ability to claim a VAT refund. We'll explore when this principle applies and when it doesn't. It may not applicable for the Hong Kong entity for example.

VAT Refund Procedure

Now that you know the basics let's walk through the step-by-step process of obtaining a VAT refund in South Korea.

Annual Application Period

Learn about the specific time frame during which you can apply for a VAT refund and the importance of adhering to this schedule. You need to submit the tax return in June for the previous year(Jan.01-Dec.31).

Required Documentation

Discover the necessary documents you must prepare to support your VAT refund application, including tax invoices and credit card receipts.

Approval Process

Gain insights into the approval process, including how tax authorities review and decide on refund requests.

Appointing a Representative

For businesses looking to simplify the VAT refund process, appointing a representative like JZ can be an effective strategy. We'll explain your options and the documentation required for this approach.


In conclusion, while paying taxes is an essential part of doing business, it's equally important to exercise your right to a fair VAT refund when applicable. Understanding the ins and outs of VAT refunds for non-resident businesses in South Korea can help you navigate the process with confidence.

For more details, please feel free to reach out at or If you would like a free consultation with an English-speaking Consultant/Accountant in Korea, please schedule a call at: Schedule a Call with Jz


Now, let's address some common questions about VAT refunds for non-resident businesses in South Korea.

FAQ 1: What is VAT, and why is it important for businesses?

VAT, or Value Added Tax, is a consumption tax levied on the value added to goods and services at each stage of production or distribution. It's essential for businesses because it affects pricing and financial operations.

FAQ 2: How can non-resident businesses benefit from VAT refunds?

Non-resident businesses can benefit from VAT refunds by meeting specific criteria and applying for refunds on eligible goods and services purchased in South Korea.

FAQ 3: What are the specific goods and services covered by VAT refunds?

VAT refunds typically cover goods and services such as accommodation, advertising, telecommunications, and real estate leasing, subject to certain conditions.

FAQ 4: Are there any limitations or exclusions to VAT refunds?

Yes, some goods and services, as well as specific conditions, may not be eligible for VAT refunds. It's essential to understand these limitations to avoid any misconceptions.

FAQ 5: What are the key deadlines for VAT refund applications?

The annual application period for VAT refunds in South Korea runs from January 1st to December 31st, with applications due by June 30th of the following year. Meeting these deadlines is crucial for a successful refund application.


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