A Step-by-step Guide to Korean Tax Refunds 2020

This post shows you how to get a tax refund in Korea.

It covers:

  • Where to get a refund
  • How tax refunds work
  • And more!

Let’s check it out!

A Step-by-step Guide to Korean Tax Refunds 2020

*** Disclaimer ***

The information here is valid as of October 2021. Tax refund rules change regularly. Make sure to check the Korean Customs Service website before traveling to South Korea.

Korea has a great tax refund system for tourists who shop at the right stores. It will help you save money on unique items that Korea makes.

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How do tax refunds work in Korea?

Korea’s Tax Free System can be divided into two categories, tax refund and duty-free

Tax refund means you can get the Value Added Tax (VAT) and Individual Consumption Tax on certain items refunded at the airport before leaving Korea. 

Duty-free means the taxes are excluded when you shop at a duty-free store.

More about Online Shopping in Korea

The end result may be the same, but their procedures are very different.

How much is VAT in Korea?

Korean VAT(value added tax) is 10% on most goods and services. The merchant must collect the tax and pay it to the government. Fortunately, it’s built into the price, so you don’t need to calculate it and get awkward amounts of change.

How many percent is tax refund in Korea?

10% on items from participating stores. This may vary depending on terms and conditions and the amount you spend.

Am I eligible for a tax refund in Korea? 

You’re eligible to get a tax refund on goods worth over 30,000 KRW but under 5 million KRW in total. The items must be bought within three months of your departure. 

Non-Korean tourists without an f-4 visa must have stayed in Korea for less than 6 months to qualify. 

Overseas Koreans must have stayed in Korea for less than 3 months and lived overseas for over 2 years. 

Is it worth getting a tax refund in Korea? 

Depending on the amount you spent and your level of patience, getting a tax refund can be very much worth it.

For example, I bought a 2,000,000 KRW laptop and received around 200,000 KRW back. I felt this was worth the effort.

There’s even a way to get refunded immediately in stores now. We’ll go over this in the next section.

How do I get a tax refund in Korea?

Tax Refund Logo

This process is a bit more complicated than just shopping duty free. There are a few hoops to jump through that may seem unnecessary, so make sure to arrive at the airport at least 30 minutes earlier than usual. 

The benefit is that you have a much wider range of products to choose from all over Korea. Don’t worry, we’re here to simplify things.

Tax Refund Steps

Step 1

Ask for a tax receipt at the register when you buy a product that meets the previous criteria at a designated shop. It’s a special form that you need to fill out. You will have to show your actual passport and provide flight info.

Step 2

When you arrive at Incheon Airport, don’t check in refund items or any luggage that will hold refund items and tell the person at the check-in counter that you intend to get a tax refund for them.

Step 3

Bring the item and VAT refund receipt you received at the store to the Customs Declaration Counter to get a Customs Export Approval stamp on the receipts. There’s a kiosk for refunds under 75,000 KRW, but the service isn’t always available.

Step 4

Take your luggage to the oversized baggage counter to check it in.

Step 5

Finally, take the stamped tax refund slip to the Tax Refund Counter and get your refund.

Insider Tips

* Tax Refund Counters

– Public area: 3F Check-in counters D & E in Passenger Terminal 2

– Duty Free zone: 4F Gates 26 & 27 in Passenger Terminal 1 / 3F Gate 253 in Passenger Terminal 2

* Tax Refund Kiosk Machines

– Public area: 3F Check-in counters D & E in Passenger Terminal 2

– Duty Free zone: 3F Concourse near the central pharmacy, 3F Gate 28 & 4F Gate 27 in Passenger Terminal 1 / 3F Gates 250 & 253 in Passenger Terminal 2


As of April 1, 2020, you should be able to receive an immediate refund in stores for items that cost more than 30,000 KRW and less than 500,000 KRW. Make sure to have your actual passport and flight info on hand as well. These immediate refunds are limited to a total purchase amount of less than 2,000,000 KRW during your trip in Korea. 

If this method works, I would highly recommend it over doing it at the airport to save you a lot of hassle.


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Getting a tax refund can be a bit complicated, but it’s usually worth it.

Let us know if you have any questions in the comments!

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