In Western Europe at doors of many shops is possible to see a badge "tax-free for tourists". It means that having done shopping in such a shop, you can essentially save money. The system of "tax-free shopping " (TFS) is based on that in the European Union exist established rule: if you constantly live outside of the European Union, leaving EU, you can wholly receive back the sum of the tax on added cost (VAT), which you have paid at purchasing of the goods. The procedure of VAT refund is extremely simple. At purchasing of the goods in TFS shops the special check has to be given to you, at departure from the country the stamp of customs house has to be put on it, and then you can receive money by this check. To use TFS system is necessary to know some details.
The requirements at fulfillment of purchase
At purchase in shop of TFS system ask the seller to fill in the special check - Tax Free Shopping Cheque. Look carefully after, that the seller has entered your surname, name and address correct in the check, as it is in your passport. You can, naturally, to fill it in by yourself. In the check also have to be written down: the sum of purchase, the sum of the paid VAT and the sum of refund (that is VAT minus the commission), which you should receive at departure from EU. It is necessary to know that the VAT and the commission in the different EU countries are various. In the whole the sum of refund vary from 10 % up to 19 % from the price of purchase. You should know that in a number of EU countries to receive the right on VAT refund is necessary to buy the goods for the certain sum in TFS shop. The different shops also have specificity: in some shops is necessary to do shopping for the certain sum in all departments, in others - only in one department (for example, video recorder and video tapes, but not a video and costume). Remember it, as well as that sometimes sellers prefer to not contact with tax-free system, even if their shops are included in it. In this case you instead of the tax-free check can be offered the additional discount approximately for the same sum. Agree, all is the same for you, isn’t it?
Formalities at passage of customs house
At departure you should show to the custom officer tax-free check, passport and goods. In some EU countries is necessary to present the commodity check as well. If you pass through the several EU countries you should show tax-free checks and acquired goods, to receive a custom house stamp for the subsequent VAT refund, in the last country on your way. In some countries, for example, in Holland and Sweden, works one more restrictive rule: the stamp of customs house should be imprinted on not later than 30 days from the date of purchase. In Germany and Sweden the stamp is put only in the case when the goods were not used - it should be sealed. All these rules are necessary to know beforehand.
The procedure of refund
When the custom house stamp is on your tax-free checks, you are directed to the special VAT refund office at the International Airport. In some countries these offices are placed behind the passport control boundary, therefore money can be received already passing on embarkation. And in those countries, where VAT refund office is located in a concourse, you can remain without money, if you remember about them when you checked in already – you are not allowed to return back to a concourse. Therefore you had better to learn about VAT refund office location beforehand. But there is no problem, if you had no time to receive your money at the airport. You can make it in any other VAT refund office - their network covers entire world.
Whether is possible to get the VAT refund without tax-free check?
It is possible, but under one condition - if you are going to return to the country, where have got the goods. So, in Holland you can get the VAT refund, having made purchase in any shop even if it is not included in TFS system. You buy the goods, then take them out of EU and imprint a customs house stamp on the usual commodity check. Procedure and restrictions are the same: show the check, passport and goods, the stamp of customs house should be put on the check not later than 30 days after purchase of the goods. Then, when in any time you again come to Holland (or in other EU country), you or your close confidant goes in shop, where the goods were bought, and receive there all sum of the VAT without a deduction of the commission. Compare: by special tax-free check at departure from Holland you receive 10 % from cost of the goods, and in shop - 17 %. The procedure is known enough and spread. The experienced people advice: buying the goods, you had better to agree with the manager of shop beforehand upon the later opportunity to get the VAT refund in such a way. Then certainly everything will be in order.
Tax-free and duty-free
If you went abroad, at the airports for certain you saw shops and booths under the badge "duty-free". ("Tax-free" and "duty-free" is the same). The duty-free trade is organized also in planes making the international flights, on ferries plying between two countries, on cruise ships. The prices of goods are lower here, than in usual shops. Besides that, what is significant and important, the duty-free shops are open not only for the foreigners, but also for the citizens of the country who leaving abroad. The main thing - that the goods shouldn’t be imported back into the same country. Therefore at the airport you can get the goods only by presentation of the ticket on departure from the country.
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About the author:
In Western Europe at doors of many shops is possible to see a badge "tax-free for tourists". It means that having done shopping in such a shop, you can essentially save money. The system of "tax-free shopping " (TFS) is based on that in the European Union exist established rule: if you constantly live outside of the European Union, leaving EU, you can wholly receive back the sum of the tax on added cost (VAT), which you have paid at purchasing of the goods.