Tax Free or how to get a refund for taxes paid abroad!
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Tax Free or how to get a refund for taxes paid abroad!

Step-by-step instruction


However, how do you apply for a tax refund in practice? To get a VAT refund, you need to follow several simple steps.


Step #1 - find out from the travel agency how the VAT refund system works in the country you want to visit. First of all, you need to find out if there is a Tax Free system in this state and what is the minimum refund amount, as this amount varies from country to country. For example, to take advantage of a 21% VAT refund in Belgium, you need to make purchases totaling at least 125 euros, whereas in Austria, the minimum amount allowing for VAT refund is only 75 euros. In this country, VAT ranges from 10 to 20%. In Germany, the minimum amount is 20 euros, and the VAT eligible for refund is 19%. In the Netherlands, the tax rate is the same as in Germany, but the minimum spend amount is 50 euros.


Step #2 - you need to find stores with a Tax Free sign. To take advantage of a VAT refund, goods must be purchased only from stores using the VAT refund system. These stores are marked with a Tax Free Shopping sign at the entrance. If you don't notice this sign but like the item in the store, ask the seller if the store uses this system. You might get lucky!


Step #3 - you need to ask the seller to issue a tax invoice under the so-called tax-free system to take advantage of the VAT refund when leaving the country. Ask for this when you approach the cashier to pay for the goods. To issue this voucher, you will need to present your passport. The seller will issue a receipt in your name, as well as a list of purchased goods, their prices, and the amount of tax eligible for refund. You need to make sure that the issued voucher is called tax-free, contains the address with the name of the city, street, and building number.


Step #4 - you are not allowed to unpack the goods until you leave the country. You must ensure that the item purchased in the store is sealed and has all the necessary labels. When purchasing goods, follow the golden rule: keep each type of tax refund receipt in a safe place because without one of them, the others will not be valid.


Step #5 - stamping at customs. The next step you need to take is to pass through customs. At customs, you need to present all receipts, and the customs officer must stamp each receipt with a special stamp. It is important to note that if you miss getting the stamp, you won't be able to stamp the vouchers after passing passport control. In this case, a refund is impossible. Sometimes, when passing through customs, you may be asked to show the goods for which you presented the receipts. Therefore, it is better to have them in your carry-on luggage to avoid returning registered baggage. Customs points can be easily found in the brochure received at the store where you made the purchases. If you have lost the brochure or did not receive it at the store, you can ask an airport employee. They will tell you where to find the customs points. We recommend arriving at the airport on time, as the customs point may be relatively far from the registration and passport control point.


Step #6 - the most enjoyable moment, namely - receiving money. After you have passed registration and passport control, you can receive the due amount of money at special points called Tax Free Cash Refund. To receive money, you will need to present checks from the store, Tax Free checks - mandatory with a stamped seal, and your passport. If for some reason these points are closed, you can receive the money in your country of residence, at Global Refund offices. VAT can be transferred to your bank account. To do this, you need to provide your bank details when purchasing the goods in the store. Upon arrival at the destination point, you must send all the necessary documents to the Global Refund office of the country where you made the purchases. The money will be credited to your account within 1-2 months.


Those eligible for VAT refund include:

- foreign citizens without residence visas in the country where purchases were made;

- citizens without work permits in that country;

- citizens who have been in the country for up to 90 days, during which they made purchases;

- citizens without refugee status in that country.