What is VAT?
VAT stands for value added tax which the private consumer must pay for. The VAT will be included in the price you pay for goods that you purchase. For those who visit the EU and plan on returning home outside the EU or going to another non-EU Country, you may qualify to purchase goods free of VAT in shops.
How is VAT refunded?
To refund VAT you need to comply with the formalities and proof of purchase of goods. This can be completed in the store from where you buy your goods. The following is required:
- Ask the shop assistant what threshold applies to the purchase to be eligible for a refund.
- When paying you will need to provide proof that you live outside the EU, you will need to show your passport or other ID proving your residence outside the EU.
- You may be required to fill out a form that will need proof of your ticketing that you are leaving the EU.
- Ensure that it is clear what you need to do for the refund as sometimes the refund can come directly from the shop or via a third party.
- Check all details regarding admin fees as sometimes the shops may charge administration fees that will be deducted from the refunded VAT.
- Once you have the relevant forms and information you will need to show the invoice, refund form, the goods and any other relevant documents to the customs officers in the airport when you are leaving the EU. The officers will stamp the form to approve and provide proof of the export, without the stamp you will not receive the refund.
Following this, you will then need to refer back to your refund document or what the shop assistant instructed as to how to claim the VAT, whether the refund is given in the airport or if you have to send the refund proof to the address given in the shop.