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Advise on Shopping in Paris- The intimidating VAT?

Advise on Shopping in Paris- The intimidating VAT?

Jun 24th, 2001, 04:59 AM
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Advise on Shopping in Paris- The intimidating VAT?

Hi everyone. I know that the topic of shopping has been posted many times but I am not going to ask what to buy but SHOULD I buy at all. The 20% VAT in Paris sounds just too much.

I would like to know if it is going to be difficult to claim the VAT assuming that all the criterias like the minimum 1,200Fr and other requirements are fulfilled.

Secondly, are there shops where they will give a discount on the VAT for tourists?Or is there a way around it?

And lastly, of course, should I forget about claiming the VAT and give myself additional 20% budget for anything that I should consider buying?

Would appreciate whatever advise I can get from those of you who have been there before.

Jun 24th, 2001, 05:19 AM
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The exchange rate is good, so go ahead and buy! Just keep in mind the prices at home (adding your own state sales tax) while your're shopping here -- chances are good you'll do better. All prices here include the VAT, so you don't have to add -- what you see is what you pay.

If you do claim VAT, make sure you get to the airport with time to spare -- you have to stand in line to get things stamped, then to cash it in, etc.

I've only claimed once, coming back from Prague -- and it took almost an hour. Can only imagine how long it would take at CDG! Otherwise, I've felt I've saved enough, so didn't bother getting it back -- but I'm not known for being extremely frugal ;-)
Jun 24th, 2001, 06:24 AM
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VAT is a fact of life in Europe - nothing to deter your shopping. Claiming your VAT is very simple if you use a credit card. And doesn't take too long - most people don't bother which is a real mystery to me.

Have all of your receipts and forms ready - present them to the revenue officer. He stamps them and you drop them in post box right there. Then in 3 to 6 weeks there will be a credit to your account. There are also counters nearby where you can take your stamped forms for a cash refund (but they do deduct a service charge.)
Jun 24th, 2001, 08:37 PM
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Even with the VAT, items in Paris are not expensive (excluding Chanel bags and such); I find most things to be about the same price, or less, than similar in the U.S. If you shop at the department stores, the 1200ff minimum is all added together; they have a special detaxe department that will fill out all the paperwork and tell you who gets what and how. Even if you don't use a credit card to buy stuff, you can give them that number for credit. You can also have your bank account credited, or you can have a check mailed to you (not recommended unless you have no other choice; it takes forever, and if you don't get the check, it's a nightmare to get it reissued). You turn in the paperwork at the airport from where you fly home (so if you are flying Paris>London, you turn in the paperwork in London). Some airports are very good at this, and have expedited the process but you should leave time for this (if you arrive 2/12 hours before departure and get checked in right away, you should have time).

I find clothes and electronics in Paris to be more expensive than in the U.S., but everything else is reasonable. Here are examples of recent and goofy purchases:
Very fancy birthday card with swinging cats: 39ff
Papyrus writing paper: 41ff
Small decorated paper box: 9ff
Eiffel tower candle: 27ff
Pashmina bought from a street vendor: 100ff
Dozen and half chicken eggs: 14ff
Head of lettuce: 3ff
Ticket to Bob Dylan Concert: 230ff
Lots of bottles of wine: 20-30ff each
Jun 25th, 2001, 03:22 AM
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Last November we claimed for VAT at the airport and it took about 10 mins. The credit showed up on the second card statement after we got back. We were at the airport early (6:ish) and there was no line at all. you owe it to yourself to claim if you buy very much.

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