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Duty-free purchase limit scrapped for Koreans

March 17, 2022 - 16:23 By Hong Yoo
Duty-free purchase limit for shoppers traveling abroad scrapped by gov't to help duty-free industry recover from COVID-19 fallout (Yonhap)
South Korea’s Finance Ministry will no longer limit duty-free item purchases to $5,000 for outbound Korean nationals starting Friday, it said Thursday.

But a government cap on how much is exempt from tax remains unchanged. Duties are exempt for purchases up to $600 of goods, one bottle of liquor worth up to $400, 200 cigarettes, and up to 60 milliliters of perfume.

The Finance Ministry explained that the tax exemption limit in other countries are also around $500 and $600 and there was no need to increase the limit.

The abolition of the duty-free purchase limit for shoppers traveling abroad comes 43 years after the measure was first implemented.

The government had continuously increased the cap since 1985 from $500 to $1,000, in 1995 to $2,000, in 2006 to $3,000, and in 2019 to $5,000.

The decision to scrap the duty-free purchase limit is part of the government’s effort to help the duty-free industry recover from the COVID-19 fallout by increasing domestic consumption.