Tax-free shopping to go paperless in Japan
Nikkei -- Aug 28
With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in sight, the Japanese government aims to simplify tax-free shopping by digitizing the paperwork.

Foreign tourists who seek exemption from local consumption tax currently need proofs of purchase stapled or glued to their passports to show customs when leaving Japan. This not only makes the passports bulkier, but also raises the possibility of damaging the passports when detaching the many sheets of paper attached.

The Ministry of Finance and the National Tax Agency will work together on the digitization initiative, which will include installing special terminals at customs. They hope to go digital in April 2020, in time for the Olympics, when an influx of tourists is expected.

Funding for the project, such as expenses to develop the necessary systems and install the terminals, will likely be included in the fiscal 2019 budget.

Retailers that sell tax-free goods will digitize passport and other information, such as date of purchase, and provide it to the National Tax Agency. The terminals at customs will match the data to items that travelers are taking home.

News source: Nikkei
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