VAT refund in the EU for visitors
von Peter Scheller
Any person who resides outside the EU permantly or habitually is entitled to reclaim VAT if returning home or going to another EU country. This applies to all private consumers from outside the EU. The refund can be made only if the goods accompany the Person when leaving the EU.
Certain restrictions and rules have to be observed as follows:
- In general only goods qualify for a refund that can be carried in personal luggage.
- The minimum value for the total purchase shall be Euro 175. In certain EU-memberstates lower amounts qualify for a refund.
- Certain formalities have to be followed. Passports or other identity documents have to be shown to prove that the applicant is visitor to the EU. A special form has to be filed in the shop. Invoice, refund form, purchased goods and personal documents have to be presented to the customs authorities when leaving the EU. The customs officer has to stamp the form. Most shops will claim an administrative charge for the service.
- In larger ports or airports the visitor might receive the refund straight after the custom officer stamped the form.
- Certain shops may offer tax-free selling of goods. These shops have to make special arrangements with the tax authorities. In general shops who qualify for tax-free selling procedure will display a sign in the window.
More information can be found on the website of the European Commission.
Author: Peter Scheller, Tax Adviser – Master of International Taxation
- custom officer
- European Commission
- European Union
- tax-free pirchase
- Value Added Tax