Starting from the new year, Russian shops that operate on the tax-free system will be able to issue foreigners not paper, but electronic checks. Such a law comes into force on January 1, 2021.
The tax-free system was launched in Russia in 2018. It worked in pilot mode during the FIFA World Cup, and then more and more stores began to participate in it. It has been established that citizens of foreign states that are not members of the Eurasian Economic Union can recover VAT on goods purchased in our country. In Russia, the VAT refund rate is 20%. To get this discount, you need to purchase goods worth at least 10 thousand rubles in one of the tax free stores within one day. Their list is determined by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Previously, foreigners were issued tax-free paper checks, which indicated the total purchase price and the amount to be returned, as well as the name, surname and contact information of the buyer. When leaving Russia, this check was shown at the airport to customs officers, who put a special mark on it. VAT was refunded either immediately upon departure, or within a year after purchase to a bank account or bank card.
Now the procedure has been simplified. Tax-free shops can issue electronic checks to make it easier for the buyer to recover VAT. In this case, upon purchase, a check will be issued online, and its number should be reported at customs. Then the money will be transferred to the buyer’s bank card. Tax free electronic checks are now used in France, South Korea, Uruguay and Singapore.