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Panel agrees to boost tax break program for visitors

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Senior members of the tax panel of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party agreed on Wednesday to overhaul the current consumption tax exemption program for foreign visitors, in order to encourage them to boost expenditures in the country.

Foreigners are now allowed to use the tax break program only if purchases in each of two categories— “general goods” such as electric appliances and “consumable goods” like food and cosmetics — total ¥5,000 or more.

Under the revised program, the 8 percent consumption tax would be exempted on any purchases by visitors from abroad that reach ¥5,000, regardless of the product categories, according to the plan agreed at a meeting of the executives of the Research Commission on the Tax System.

The meeting was held for discussions on tax reform requests from government agencies.

The revamped tax relief program will be included in the LDP-Komeito ruling bloc’s fiscal 2018 tax reform package, to be drawn up on Dec. 14.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism asked for the scrapping of the product categories as part of its requests submitted to the LDP in August, based on opinions from foreign visitors that the current system is complicated.

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