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Departure Tax Refund in China

The Departure Tax Refund refers to the policy of refunding the VAT to the items purchased from tax-free stores by foreign travelers when they leave the departure port of China. Here is a guide for the departure tax rebate policy in China.

Concepts Clarification

Foreign Tourists: foreigners and tourists from Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan who have stayed in mainland China for less than 183 consecutive days.
Departure Port: includes the airport, waterway port, and land port where the Policy of Departure Tax Refund is officially implemented, and there are tax rebate agencies established.
Tax Refund Items: personal items purchased by overseas travelers at the tax-free stores meeting the tax refund conditions. The following three kinds of items are excluded: 1) items prohibited to take out; 2) items subject to the VAT exemption policy; 3) other items specified by the Ministry of Finance, General Administration of Customs, State Administration of Taxation such as gold, silver, rare metal or the products thereof, priceless cultural relics or antiques, food, and medicine.

Four Requirements for Overseas Tourists

1.Foreign passengers holding a valid passport and stay in China mainland for less than 183 consecutive days.
2. The amount of the tax-free items purchased by the same overseas tourist at one single store must reach 500 RMB.
4. The tax-free items must be purchased within 90 days before the departure date.
5. The tax-free items remain wrapped and unused.
6. The tax-free items must be carried or checked by the tourist and leave China.

How to Apply for Tax Refund for Tax-free Items?

Step 1: Obtain VAT Refund Form and Invoice

Shop at a store with a “Tax-Free” sign and ask for the VAT Refund Application Form of Foreign Traveler (hereinafter referred to as VAT Refund Form) from the Tax-free Store with valid ID and General VAT Invoice of the purchased goods.

Step 2: Customs Check and Verification

At the departure port, the foreign visitors will declare the tax-free items, VAT Refund Form, and the sales invoice to the China customs, who will check the goods and stamp the refund form after verification.

Step 3: Get the Refund

1. After the security check, foreign passengers will get the refund by showing their passports and the tax refund application form with the stamp from customs to the Tax Refund Agency.
2. The tax refund can be either cash or bank transfer if the amount doesn't exceed 10,000 RMB. Otherwise, the refund will only be made by bank transfer.


1. It's recommended that you arrive at the airport three hours before the flight, allowing sufficient time for departure tax refund application.
2. Reserve the sales invoice, Tax Refund Application Form, your valid passport, and the unused tax-free items.
3. Receive the customs stamp before you go through the exit security inspection. No customs stamp, no refund.
4. The tax rebate application must be submitted and processed before departure. Travelers who failed to submit within a limited time will be deemed as automatically abandoned their declare.

How to Apply for Tax Refund

Which areas have implemented the Departure Tax Refund Policy?

By now, there are 26 provinces and cities that have implemented the policy, including Shanghai, Tianjin, Anhui, Fujian, Sichuan, Xiamen, Liaoning, Qingdao, Shenzhen, Jiangsu, Yunnan, Shaanxi, Guangdong, Heilongjiang, Shandong, Xinjiang, Henan, Ningxia, Hunan, Gansu, Hainan, Chongqing, Hebei, Guangxi, and Jiangxi.

Tax Refund Rate

For ordinary goods: Refunds = Invoice Value (VAT included) x Rebate Rate 11%
For agricultural products, edible plant oil, books, audio, and video products: Refunds = Invoice Value (VAT included) x Rebate Rate 8%

Main Ports with Tax Refund Counters

Beijing Capital International Airport
Shanghai Pudong International Airport
Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport
Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport
Shenzhen Shekou Cruise Port
Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport
Qingdao Liuting International Airport
Tianjin Binhai International Airport
Xian Xianyang International Airport
Urumqi Diwobao International Airport
Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport
Lanzhou Zhongchuan International Airport
Changsha Huanghua International Airport
Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport

Designated Tax-Free Stores


Tax-Free Stores


524 stores including Wangfujing Department Store, Baisheng Shopping Mall, Xidan Commercial Street, Laoshe Teahouse, Qian Xiang Yi Silk Warehouse, Yansha Outlets, Tongrentang, Cuiwei Department Store, etc.


371 stores including Shanghai New World, Bailian Department Store, Shanghai Sanlian, Shanghai Marks & Spencer, Oriental Department Store, Pacific Department Store, etc.


69 stores including Maoye Department Store, Bama Tea, China Resources, Tianhong Shopping Mall, Boss Optical, etc.


103 stores including Chicony Square, Renhe Spring Department Store, International Finance Square


12 stores includes Kaiyuan Shopping Center, Parkson Shopping Center, Century Ginwa Shopping Plaza, China Resources, Intime Department Store, and more.


10 stores including Guilin Yuzi Paradise Art Park, Wei Xiao Tang Plaza, Guilin Department Store, Renrenle Business, and more.


34 stores includes Hisense Plaza, Binjiang Shopping Center, Yishang Youyi Building, Florentia Village, Sea Gull Watch, etc.

More and more cities in China are open to the Departure Tax Refund policy. The next time you visit China and shop for something, you can consider buying in some of the Tax-Free stores where you can get a refund before departing China.

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