Russia to Trial Tax-Free Shopping System for Foreigners

Russia will begin the gradual implementation of a tax free system, enabling foreigners to recover tax on purchases, starting on January 1, 2017, local media reported Tuesday.

The system that will allow foreign tourists to claim back the 18 percent value-added tax (VAT) on non-food goods purchased in Russia will be implemented in two steps: from January 1, 2017 — in a limited number of stores and from July 1, 2017 — the project would be launched on full scale, the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper reported. Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov entrusted the Ministry of Finance with preparing a road map for the project by the end of the year. As for now, three cities are being considered for the first phase of the implementation: Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kazan. The measure is expected to attract more tourists who should be able to apply for refunds on the tax paid on purchases of goods above 10,000 rubles ($150), thus encouraging trade development and investment., August 02, 2016