As an international tourist in South Korea, you can claim a hotel tax refund if you stay in certified hotels within Korea for less than 30 days.
Who doesn’t love a little shopping frenzy in Korea? Or staying the night on a rooftop luxury hotel? Did you know you can actually claim tax refunds from the Korean government if you stay at certain hotels in Korea? First initiated in the year 2014, it only became popular in early 2020. It is unfortunate that most foreigners are unaware of this huge benefit, but in this blog, we will cover every detail so you can take advantage of your rights!
So how can you know if the hotel you’re staying at is eligible for a tax refund? What qualifications need to be met? Let’s find out together!
General Tax Refund System in Korea
You must be a foreigner and on a short-term visa
Hotel tax reimbursements are only available to foreigners without long-term visas to Korea, according to Korea’s general tax refund procedure. Tax refunds for hotels and accommodations are unavailable for those with visas that last more than 90 days and those employed or married in Korea. You can profit from tax return benefits if you enter the nation without a visa (on K-ETA) or remain there for fewer than 90 days on a tourist visa.
Tax refunds can only be claimed from designated tax-refundable hotels
Tax refunds are not available for all hotels in Korea. To be qualified for this advantage, the hotels must submit an application to the government each season and be accepted as a “special hotel.”
Therefore, asking the hotel directly or clicking here to check the list is the quickest way to learn if the hotel you want to stay at is approved for the fourth quarter of 2022 (October to December). If the hotel you want to stay at is on the list, the next thing to do is to make sure that everyone who will be staying there complies with the requirements for a tax refund.
Payment must have been made directly to the hotel
You must make sure to complete payment straight to the hotel if you visit Korea as a tourist qualified for this advantage and select an authorized hotel that can be tax-refunded. If you reserve a hotel through a third-party website (such as Agoda, Booking.com, etc.) and make your payment there, you won’t be eligible for a tax refund.
You must make a reservation on the hotel’s official website to receive a tax refund. When making a reservation on a third-party website, you can request that the payment be handled on your behalf when you arrive. There is no method to produce formal receipts and tax return forms in the hotel’s name if the payment is made directly through a third-party platform and does not flow directly to the hotel itself.
You cannot receive a tax refund if you make a hotel reservation through a travel agency without paying in person. Please remember this.
As long as you haven’t paid the check-in charge through another platform and the hotel conforms with the tax return certification, you will receive a tax refund when paying on-site at the hotel, whether with cash or a card.
There is a limit on how long you can stay
You must stay between one and thirty nights if you want a tax refund. You won’t be given a tax refund if your stay is longer than 30 nights. Additionally, to be eligible for a refund, you must depart Korea within three months of checking out of the hotel.
At the end of your trip, after paying the hotel fee, you may be eligible for a tax refund of between 7% and 10% if you satisfy all four of the requirements above. Congratulations!
Hotel Tax Refund Process
1. Check the tax refund eligibility and get a tax refund checklist
Please be sure to thoroughly verify your hotel’s eligibility. In the final three months of the current year, but not in the first three months of the following, the hotel you reserved might be eligible for a tax refund. Please confirm with the hotel before making a reservation!
2. Receive a tax refund form after submitting the checklist
When you check out of the hotel, hand the staff the tax refund checklist, ask for the hotel tax refund form, and be ready to wait for your tax refund.
3. Collect your tax refund amount at the airport or a city kiosk
Within three months of checking out, you must locate a tax refund kiosk in the city or pick up your tax refund at the airport. Please be aware that while tax refunds at the airport can be obtained instantly in cash, you’ll need a credit card to use the machines in the city.
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