The value added tax (VAT) is a sales tax applied to the private consumer. The VAT is included in the price you pay for the products purchased on your trip. As a visitor to the EU who returns home or travels to another non-EU country, you may be entitled to buy products in a store without VAT or at least get a refund for it.
Who is considered “visitor”?
Anyone who lives permanently or usually in a country outside the EU. The address you register in your passport or some other document is considered the place where you live.
In some countries, you can also be considered a “visitor” if you live for a specific time in an EU country for a specific purpose, but your permanent residence is outside the EU. Citizens of the Union with permanent residence in non-EU countries are also entitled to VAT reimbursements.
How can I pay the price of my products in the store without Sales Tax?
You have to pay the full price in the store, including VAT. The Sales tax will only be refunded once you have completed the necessary procedures.
How do I do that?
- If you are in the business, ask the seller in advance if the company offers this service.
- Ask the seller for the minimum value that qualifies for the VAT refund.
- At the cash register the seller will ask you to prove that you are a visitor to the EU. To do so, you must present your passport or other identification document.
- The seller will ask you to complete a form with the required information. You may be asked to present your travel ticket as proof that you are leaving the EU.
- The seller will enter the information required by the business in the appropriate sections of the form.
- Make sure you understand exactly what you should do and how to recover the Sales tax. In some cases, the refund will be made directly by the store. In other cases, the company will charge a third party to make the refund on their behalf.
What must be considered?
- Check if the store requires a service charge. This will be deducted from the refund amount later.
- Ask for an invoice for your buy. The invoice, the reimbursement form, the goods and any other necessary documents must be presented to the customs officer at the time of leaving the EU. Customs officers attach a stamp as proof of export. Without this seal, you will not receive a refund.
Then proceed as described in your refund document or as described by the seller. At larger airports, you can request VAT refund directly. Otherwise, send the refund form to the address provided in the store.
Important! The exact details depend on how each company handles the reimbursement process.
If you have any more complex questions, we leave you this link with the tax web pages of the member countries of the European community. CLICK HERE
Where is it better to go shopping? Well, find out in our article: Shopping in Europe!