[Korea] How To Claim Tax Refunds At Incheon Int’l Airport

Who doesn’t like to save money when they shop? You might wonder if tax refunds actually worth the hassle, but even if you don’t make any expensive luxurious purchases, small purchases here and there can eventually accumulate into big money!

In this post, I will tell you all about the tax refund process and how to get a few extra bucks back at Incheon International Airport~

First, let’s clarify a few things:

  • Who are eligible for tax refund?
    • Foreigners residing in or visiting Korea for less than 6 months OR 
    • Oversea Koreans (holder of Korea passport and permanent resident) residing in or visiting Korea for less than 3 months OR
    • Korean students studying abroad for 2 years or more
  • When are you eligible for tax refund?
    • When you spend more than 30,000 won (including tax) at tax refund participating stores (listed below) AND
    • Those goods are purchased within 3 months of your departure from Korea. 
  • Which stores participate in the tax refund service? The stores with the following “Tax Free” logos tax free
  • How to ask for tax refund service at those participating stores?
    • When making payment, request for tax refund. A receipt and a tax refund slip, along with an envelope will be handed to you. The cashier may ask you to present your passport (but that has never happened to us).
  • What do you need to do afterwards?
    • When you get a chance (before arriving at the airport), gather all the receipts and tax refund slips. Fill out the tax refund slips, which require you to print your full name, passport #, nationality and address, and finally sign at the bottom. Remember, do not throw away the receipts.

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At Incheon International Airport:

  1. Arrive at the airport at least 3 hours prior your flight. Check in at the airline counter, get your boarding pass, and inform the counter staff that you have tax refund items packed in your luggage.
  2. The staff will tag your luggage and ask you to bring your luggage, along with the tax refund slips, to the Custom Declaration counter (behind D or J, as marked with a red star in the pic below).airport_mapIMG_1723
  3. Take all your tax refund slips out from the envelop and hand them over to the custom officer. He will stamp on every one of them and give them back to you. Ensure you get the “ALL Goods Exported” endorsement on all of them. He may sometimes ask to check the purchased items.IMG_2034
  4. Proceed to the Oversized Baggage Check-In counter (right besides Custom Declaration) to check-in you luggage.
  5. Head towards the tax refund kiosk machine (right next to Custom Declaration) and scan your passport and tax refund slips. Usually there will be staff in red t-shirt helping you out. (I just handed mine to them and they did all the work :P)IMG_1724
  6. You’re only one step away from receiving your tax refund! After the staff handing you back your receipts and tax refund slips, they will inform you at which gate  you will have to complete your tax refund process.
  7. Go through the immigration customs and proceed to the refund counter at the specific gate as directed by the staff. It should be at either Gate 27 or Gate 28. In general, for Global Blue (blue logo) or Global Tax Free (orange logo), you go to Gate 28 to receive cash refund through the service window; for KT Tourist Reward, you go to Gate 27 for cash refund using the tax refund kiosk machine. Simply pass your receipts and tax refund slips to the staff and they will help you out!

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Now, you have all your money and are happy to go!

Kev and I got 53,000 won back  (equals to CDN$59). Is it worth it? Well, we later spent that money on a fancy meal 🙂 

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For more detailed information, please check out the official websites of the organizations offering tax refund services:

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