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Japan eyes revamping tax-free shopping rule to stem illicit resales

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Watch the tourists decamp to other countries

Imposing more rules is just a big turnoff for any tourist

-8 ( +10 / -18 )

Charge the tax which can be reclaimed at the exit airport.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

If a traveller buys things for tax free, what difference does it make what he or she does with them afterward? You've already made your sale and money here in Japan. The products would've never been sold unless the tourists actually paid to come here. They don't reap any benefits from paying taxes to foreign governments. This is just greed and more exploitation against the returning tourists.

-2 ( +12 / -14 )

If you’ve made your money already by selling it, why would you care? Seems like big businesses really hate it when someone else turns around and re sells what they just sold for a bigger profit?

1 ( +10 / -9 )

According to the Finance Ministry, it is usually difficult to collect the tax from such travelers because they often do not have the money to make the payment when they are departing the country.

Err... Credit card?

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

the whole "tax free" system is more of a bureaucratic mess than a useful revenue stream, as someone who has waited in the "tax free" line at akiba donkey while various ppls passports failed to scan, please just kill it with fire

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Resell exist and will forever, many people do that including Japaneses with friends coming from abroad. Products are bought by the tourists and help your economy, you should think before to talk Kishida...

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Tax free scam shouldn’t apply for bulk purchases. If someone buys something from Apple, it should be only one phone, and one ipad. The scheme shouldn’t apply to bulk purchases.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Resell exist and will forever, many people do that including Japaneses with friends coming from abroad.

BS, since most Japanese are going aboard anymore.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Maybe it’s a bit overhyped and only a few poorer tourists from poorer countries try to make some little profits, because it is not checked at their return destination. But in most other cases, I guess it won’t even nearly work. Try to bring such an expensive tax free product to Europe, and even better, try it with more than two or three of the same kind. I guess, you don’t want to make the experience of what happens then. If you are really unlucky it costs you amounts of import VAT , additional toll duty and on top of that a big penalty because it is considered for trading but you didn’t declare beforehand etc. Then those few nice things, bough tax free during your travel, bring you financially to the edge or ruin, maybe even quickly exceeding the whole flights’, trip &hotel costs.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If you’ve made your money already by selling it, why would you care? 

First, it is against the law. Second, Japanese have to pay the full sales tax on all items and thus it is not fair.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

The government is now considering shifting to a scheme where they pay tax-inclusive prices and apply for refunds afterward,

Which is the way everyone else does it.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Or foreigners might buy, give it to a Japanese friend who will sell it as a new to make $$ profit they will share.

So you buy a new iphone tax-free saving 10% and then your Japanese friend has to sell it cheaper than normal tax-inclusive retail price but you both need to earn from this transaction otherwise it's pointless. The price being offered by your Japanese friend is then very close to the normal retail price but without any warranty and the risk of being caught out assisting an offender. Most unlikely.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Tax free scam shouldn’t apply for bulk purchases. If someone buys something from Apple, it should be only one phone, and one ipad. The scheme shouldn’t apply to bulk purchases.

Quite so, nothing could be less obvious.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It reminds me of some countries that impose heavy taxes on foreign made cars. Embassies' staff can buy them tax free. A top grade Lexus or Benz has a tax tag of more than $60,000. The tax free bought car is immediately passed over to a rich local resident with a post-dated sales contract as a used car and the tax free buyer gets a present of e.g. 50 per cent of the tax. The rich resident gets the car at $30,000 cheaper and the Embassy staff makes a profit of $30,000. It is what Americans call a win-win situation.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Good idea, revenue enforcement beats new taxation!

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

apply for refunds afterward.... WTF

Japan will never refund, it is a hidden strategy.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I've never bought anything tax free neither my family when they visited.

Tax free shops are a scam - they sell (overseas) items at an inflated price that's higher than the shouhizee included Japanese original model ! You just need to do your research and be shure to have English menus in the electronics for example. For dresses, etc. why bother.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The problem with buying an expensive item like a camera, does it have an international warranty and whether you will be able to send it in for repairs when you get home?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

In Japan, travelers are exempted from paying the consumption tax when purchasing goods totaling 5,000 yen or more as long as they intend to use the items in their home countries.

Why not raise the goods limit to '50,000 yen and anything higher than that will automatically be tax-free? Because I remember in Vietnam and Thailand there were so many stores that sold authentic Japanese products for 4 or 5 times the actual price they paid for. And don't even get me started on Chinese horders....I mean customers. They would show up in a group and clear the table of the products and STILL try to get a group discount for buying so many things. I saw this in a store in Roppongi and often times in Fukuoka.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If Japan doesn't like how foreigners are taking advantage of its tax-free program, just scrap it; problem solved. People legitimately paid for their product(s) so it's theirs. Honestly, they should be able to do whatever they want with their purchases. Tax-free or not, foreigners will still buy products here if they really want it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Stemming illicit sales, equals reducing tax cheats, equals revenue enforcement, equals good idea!

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Whenever friends visit from abroad we always go shopping for bigger ticket items together. Getting several thousand or more yen off a new device and what not is great. The system itself is weirdly lax and openly invites dubious use.

why let people get tax free on a tv? Are they taking it on the plane? We all know what’s up in that situation but it’s sold anyway.

recently saw someone doing this with Pokémon cards. A Japanese dude was in biccamera asking Chinese tourists to grab him a set tax free since it was one per customer, ended up with 24 in a super obvious exploit of the system. But no one ever says anything cause it’s japan.

put limits on obvious big ticket items and keep this to the cheap stuff like bulk purchases of candy and cosmetics at donki

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

So, a rework of the whole system, to include forms and processed and basically a whole load of bureaucracy.

Just limit the number of items to 1 (of any given type), so you can buy 1 iPhone and 1 iPad, but you can't buy 50 iPhone. Seems reasonable and simple.

Also limit the max value, so you can't buy more that 10,000USD at a time.

This simple change will NOT fix everything, but it will make a difference, and the cost of implementing and running this solution is exactly 0 yen per year.

But instead of being sensible about it, let's just waste tax-payers money. :(

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Just don't allow them to buy more than 2 or 3 of the items problem solved.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Tax free shops are a scam - they sell (overseas) items at an inflated price

These are same shops where locals shop but if you're a tourist they don't tack on the tax

1 ( +3 / -2 )

An interesting dilemma, you want people to visit Japan, you want people to buy things and you want to not have insane compliance requirements that discourage both.

For most, best prices online, so instore compliance likely not useful, as thrifty shoppers not even there.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

For most, best prices online, so instore compliance likely not useful, as thrifty shoppers not even there.

Won't work for most tourists, but I suggested that and did some shopping online for a visiting friend

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This likely refers to bulk purchase then resell within Japan, if you export it, there's other cost and let's face it, wholesalers get some sort of discount and likely had some tax preferential treatment over some run of the mill tourist.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Finally a solution to this widespread issue.!

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

wallace

The problem with buying an expensive item like a camera, does it have an international warranty and whether you will be able to send it in for repairs when you get home?

Plus, many Japan-market have only Japanese as the menu language, even though the same models are available in non-Japan-markets with multiple language options. I've noticed lately that English is sometimes added. But, still no Chinese, Korean, French, Spanish, Italian, etc. Although, some do include all, like Yamaha.

Conversely, Japanese is often not included outside the J-market. It makes it a little more difficult to sell used electronics good here that were originally purchased back in the US, that don't include J language menus. (Luckily Mercari is so popular that I can still find buyers.)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan is considering overhauling its tax-free shopping scheme for foreign visitors in response to a growing number of cases of tax-free items being resold overseas for profit at tax-inclusive prices, sources close to the matter said Monday.

sigh……

Japan…..are your products selling? Yes?

did you make the prices? Yes.

does it matter who buys it? No, as long as they paid the full price, who cares?

does it matter if they resell it? No.

You wanna sell it for more, go ahead.

You wanna go sell it in China, go ahead.

But once it’s sold, it’s no longer yours, and the consumer can do whatever they want with it.

raise your prices or stfu.

besides, if the resellers don’t buy the products, will any one else be buying?

didn’t think so.

Get over it.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

bogva

Tax free shops are a scam - they sell (overseas) items at an inflated price that's higher than the shouhizee included Japanese original model ! 

You must be thinking of those "duty-free" shops at the airports. Those are pretty scammy.

But, the "tax-free" program mentioned in this article is available for foreigners with tourist visas at many big stores in Japan, including discount stores like Don Qixote, at the same prices paid by local residents.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

RighteousToday  02:48 pm JST

The government is broke! Scrounging for every nickel. Sad.

TRUE, only substitute your nickel for ichi en! Yet culture capture remains, nobody's jumping ship, honor till the end that nears. That's what impresses me most, this going down ship Captain's mentality.

Likely be Chinese robots collecting taxes at some point.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

I find to free very handy indeed s I have sooo many friends that visit annually (Covid times excepted of course). I take them around, they get some lovely bargains and with the current exchange rates, the bargains are great.

I then get treated to a slap up dinner and some lovely bevvies, it’s a win win situation for all including the government and the businesses.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Roy

Oh chill out mate, don’t be silly. There’s only a small amount that indulge in this as a money making scheme. Mostly from Asian countries where a Mr Big is in control. These people stay a few months and but tons of electrical stuff. You can see them in groups of two or here with huge wads of cash at stores. They will send the gear by Japan Post and claim the is used and very low value. This cannot be done with Fed Ex or Yamato, they get a cut from taking the customs charges, Japan Post Doesn’t you see.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Roy

You don’t punish the innocent for the crimes of a minority of criminals, or you shouldn’t should you. The stores should report suspicious buyers

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Roy

My dear fellow, the government always mess things up don’t you know.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

In Japan, travelers are exempted from paying the consumption tax when purchasing goods totaling 5,000 yen or more as long as they intend to use the items in their home countries.

There is a minimum limit of 5000 yen for this exemption. Supposed to be driving a minimum cap of spending by visitors.

No Maximum limit on amount of purchase and/or no restrictions on number of expensive products purchased for tax free exempt?

People are clever to seek loop holes and benefit from that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nothing in Japan is a "plan", it's always a "scheme". They are always busy scheming, I guess.

I see no problem with paying the tax and getting a refund lately. Stuff will still be resold for higher prices. Just check Merkari and you can find a wealth of foreign products at huge costs sometimes.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Lol such weird and full of holes rules, typical Japanese way to solve a problem by making it worse.

I can totally see the faces of the people making pointless campaigns to bring more tourist from overseas when this is reported and buyers stop coming

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

besides, if the resellers don’t buy the products, will any one else be buying?

> didn’t think so

If no else will be buying should they be called resellers?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I can totally see the faces of the people making pointless campaigns to bring more tourist from overseas when this is reported and buyers stop coming

Why would they stop coming?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

When a Japanese exporter sells to an importer in a foreign country? Does the exporter have to charge the importer the 10% tax? If that importer visits Japan and places an order here, is 10% added to the invoice?

So what is the big difference if the importer is an individual who comes here and do a little business for himself on his return? Is the problem that he is on a tourist visa not a business visa and he is a tourist working illegally by doing business?

Perhaps it is because prices in Japan are lower than through a Japanese company's subsidiary in another country. This is possible as some Japanese companies like Panasonic try to some their products foreigner-unfriendly by removing menus in all languages other than Japanese.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is one of the SCAM I noticed way back in the early 80's at many airports not only in Japan. If you shop around you will find that these shops are actually more expensive than the others unless you can't calculate!?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Not a lot of information on how much the government is losing in lost revenue.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

During the initial COVID and Apple was lining people up outside. On 2 different occasions I saw some Chinese speaking man passing out multiple Apple gift cards to various Chinese speaking customers in the line. He was talking to all of them and obviously orchestrating a mass buy of iPhones. I saw several of them walking out with purchases of multiple phones. It was very sketchy looking as he would not talk to them close to the entrance. I wonder these were tax free or not…

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Larr Flint Actually, MOST crimes in Japan are committed by Japanese citizens... even per capita. Generally, you don't let criminals into the country... but you're stuck with the ones that are born there.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The moderation policy here is totally screwed and JT's irresponsible and/or uncaring management allows moderator(s) to have their favourites and not apply the policy fairly. Obviously difficult to find good staff these days or maybe paying peanuts is having the usual effect.

Yet the original post to which I was responding and quoted is allowed to stand?

Reason of removal: Off-topic

Likely be Chinese robots collecting taxes at some point.

No, they are all too busy posting comments on news sites.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

bureaucratic greed disguised as virtue.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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