Get Value-Added Tax refunded when returning from europe
Travellers can save from a minimum of 4% up to a maximum of 20% of the selling price for goods purchased during their travels in Europe.
This is, as long as they meet some minimum requirements.
There is also a website that can help you with tax-free shopping, check out Global Blue (a tip from one of the blog readers, very helpful. They received their cash return straight from them, after showing the custom stamp).
Below are the requirements for France, Italy and Switzerland.
Rules for French VAT refunds:
– You have to be non-residents of the EU
-Your stay cannot exceed 6 months
-You must purchase goods of a minimum value of Euro 175.00 in the same store, and at the same time.
-Goods must be exported within 3 months
How to obtain your refund:
Once you purchase your goods, the store will fill in a Tax Refund Form, called ‘Bordereau de Détaxe’.
You can choose between a refund in cash or a refund directly onto your credit card.
When leaving a country belonging to the EU, and prior to check-in, please present your Tax Refund Form with purchases and receipts along with passport and airline ticket. If you decide to have the tax back on your credit card, you will have to post the pink slip which will have a stamp placed on it and the address already on it.
Rules for Italian VAT refunds:
Here is the legal mumbo-jumbo directly from the Italian Government:
You can be granted VAT refund or relief provided that:
- You are a EU non – resident traveller;
- The goods are intended for personal or familiar use and are personally carried in your baggage;
- The overall value of goods exceeds 154,94 Euro (VAT included);
- The purchase is certified by an invoice containing the description of goods, your personal data as well as the particulars of your passport or of any such equivalent document;
- The goods leave the EU territory within three months after the purchase was made;
- The goods go through some special customs formalities;
- The invoice is returned to the Italian seller within four months after the purchase was made.
CUSTOMS FORMALITIES TO BE CARRIED OUT:
The goods purchased and the relevant invoice must be shown at customs when leaving EU territory.
The Customs office, after having ascertained that all the requirements are met, endorses the invoice. This endorsement is essential to prove that the goods have effectively left the Community territory.
The Customs office where the invoice must be presented in the last country belonging to the EU, before you are returning home.
If, for example, you purchase goods in Italy and then you travel to Austria, the Customs office to visit is the Austrian Customs office.
However, in case you are checking in only once, receiving your boarding pass for your connecting flight right away, and your final destination is outside of the EU, you can go to the Customs office located at your departure airport. (Example: You fly from Milano to Frankfurt, and then to New York. In theory, you would have to process your paper work at Cstoms in Frankfurt, as this is from where you are leaving the EU zone. But as you have already received your boarding pass for your connecting flight from Frankfurt to New York in Milano, and you have checked in your luggage in Milano, which means that Customs in Frankfurt can’t check that you are really exporting your purchased items, you have to go to Customs in Milano).
Note that the goods must be shown at the customs office: if you intend to pack the purchased items into your check-in luggage, you must go to Customs BEFORE checking in.
Customs controls and the certification required to obtain VAT refund may require a long wait, especially at the biggest airports or in concurrence with the departure of international flights going to certain third countries; therefore, in order to avoid unpleasant delays, please go to Customs at least two hours before flight departure.
HOW TO RETURN THE INVOICE TO THE ITALIAN SELLER
As for the refund, you will have to send the papers received by Customs to the Italian shop where you pruchased the items, within four months after the papers had been issued.
If the seller doesn’t receive your papers within four months, he will have to pay VAT for your purchase to the government.
This is why Italian salesmen, as a precaution, prefers to charge you VAT, and then refund it later once you have sent back the processed documents. Alternatively, there are some TAX-FREE companies that can grant immediate VAT cash refund when the goods leave the Italian or Community territory, i.e. without you having to return the papers to the seller: however you can use this procedure only at the big international airports or main border crossings.
However, the services supplied by TAX-FREE companies imply the payment of a sum which is directly deducted from the amount of VAT refunded to you.
Swiss VAT refund requirements:
A Sales tax (VAT) of 7.6% is included in prices. A refund for the VAT can be obtained for receipts of taxable amounts of CHF 300 or more. Visitors should ask shop staff for the refund form, which must be validated by a customs official at the time of departure from Switzerland and mailed by the customer back to the shop. The shop where the items were purchased will obtain the refund on behalf of the purchaser.
3 easy steps to claiming your refund in Switzerland:
– In the shop:
The total purchases in a shop must amount to CHF 300 (including VAT). Yout must reside outside of Switzerland and the goods must be exported within 30 days.
– Through customs:
When leaving Switzerland, the Tax-Free Shopping checks have to be stamped by Swiss customs authorities after showing the goods to them.
– Collecting the refund
You have several choices: immediate cash at a Cash Refund Office, direct credit to a chosen credit card or bank account, a bank cheque and even, for certain countries, a cash refund when you return home.
With the euro zone in dire financial trouble there may be an opportunity this coming summer to make some purchases which will not break the bank. Chamonix still has some of the best deals to be found of any of the Alpine resorts. If you are travelling late in the summer season, you will find many of the shops slashing prices up to %50 on gear. Add a %20 VAT refund and you will come away with some flash gear that you will not be able to find in North America. In Chamonix, look for the Millet shop which sells some very good gear at reasonable prices.
Below are the member states of the European Union.
|Slovenia||Spain||Sweden||The Netherlands||United Kingdom|
If you have questions, please let us know, we will try and answer any questions you might have.
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