Colombo, Sri Lanka Colombo, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka VAT refund scheme

Sri Lanka has introduced a new system enabling tourists to obtain refunds of 15% Value Added Tax (VAT) payments for goods they purchase from shops in the country.


A VAT refund counter was opened at the Bandaranaike International Airport’s exit terminal last week. Tourists are able to obtain the VAT refund of 15% of the value of the goods at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) special counter after receipts are produced. Shop owners and traders will have been required to register for this scheme at the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) under the Tourist VAT Refund Scheme and it is suggested that travellers check prior to making their purchase.


Shamraz Azeez, operations manager, Tour Blue says Sri Lanka is already a brilliant destination to visit. ‘The tax refund is the icing on the cake.’ Local Sri Lanka expert, Mark Snoxell of Exposure Downunder, reports a lot of interest in small group tours for women that feature wellbeing retreats such as ayurvedic spas and ending up with retail therapy. ‘A few years ago one wouldn’t rate Colombo as a world class place to shop. That’s really changed. Now with trendy cafes, restaurants, bars and great stores with both quality global brands and local designers, this has become a shoppers’ paradise.

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