Lao Customs to impose VAT on passengers’ personal effects

Lao Customs to impose VAT on passengers’ personal effects

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The Customs Department under Laos’ Ministry of Finance will begin collecting valued added tax (VAT) payments from passengers starting November.

The tax will be initially collected at the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge between Thailand’s Nong Khai province and Laos’ capital Vientiane before it is extended to other international border crossings, Bounpaseuth Sikounlabout, acting director general of the Customs Department was quoted by local Vientiane Times on October 9.

Earlier, the Ministry of Finance had issued a Provision on the Levy of 10 Percent VAT of Passengers’ Personal Effects. The ruling stipulates that Lao citizens and expat passengers living in Laos must, upon entry through border checkpoints including international airports, pay a 10% VAT on their new or used personal effects.

Infrequent passengers who travel less than twice a month and who bring in items costing less than US$50 dollars are exempted from paying VAT.

Frequent passengers to Laos are not exempted and will be charged accordingly. Incoming passengers must fill in a Customs Declaration Form for Personal Effects and submit it to customs officials upon entry into the country.

If the personal effects are new, the passenger should attach a purchase receipt to facilitate the calculation of VAT. If the person doesn’t have all the receipts or eligible documents, or has no documents, Lao customs officials will have the right to evaluate the items and calculate the VAT, according to the news report.

While the government is not expecting large sums from the VAT collections, the new tax policy will help improve revenue collection in the country and assist Laos in adjusting to international integration efforts, added the paper.

Photo: Jim Holmes/AusAID

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