SINGAPORE – A newly-launched tax refund and rewards platform is promising to help tourists through an often tedious tax refund process.
The goal of Utu has always been to innovate the tax refund process, which has remained mostly unchanged for decades as a complex, paper-based and commission-ridden system. Our solutions ensure tourists the choice in how they wish to receive their refunds, getting more for their VAT refund every time,
Singapore-based digital rewards provider Utu launched a tax refund app Utu Direct on Tuesday (Nov 19) to enable international tourists to process tax refunds across major tax refunds operators in Europe and track their refunds on a mobile application.
For instance, tourists can process tax refund forms issued within Italy by any tax refund operator at Utu service counters located at airports, city centres or Utu’s lounge via Montenapoleone in Milan.
The platform is co-founded by Asad Jumabhoy, a veteran in the industry who brings with him 25 years of experience at companies such as Global Blue and Premier Tax Free (now Planet).
The company works with various various card schemes and bank-issued cards to enable tourists to receive tax returns on their purchases on their preferred credit card.
The company claims it can provide travellers up to 85% of the value added tax (VAT) refund amount, more than the 55-60% that tourists currently receive. It is estimated that Singaporean travellers spend some €1 billion (US$1.1 billion) in Europe annually.
One issue is that shoppers may not be aware of their rights that they can exercise choice in claiming VAT refunds.
“The goal of Utu has always been to innovate the tax refund process, which has remained mostly unchanged for decades as a complex, paper-based and commission-ridden system. Our solutions ensure tourists the choice in how they wish to receive their refunds, getting more for their VAT refund every time,” said Sanjay Chinchwade, SVP of marketing, UTU.
The company is also preparing to launch other products in the coming weeks, such as a VAT refund product Utu Plus, a refund product for travellers and shoppers across 19 Eurozone countries, providing up to 5% more on all qualifying VAT refunds.
Utu is also in the process of beta testing its 100% VAT Refund product in Italy at selected stores, pending a general roll out.
Tax refund solutions provider Utu was first established in 2015 with the launch of a cross border rewards platform in Thailand. It currently offers VAT rewards and refunds in 19 countries and has establishments bases in eight countries.