How do VAT refunds work?

May 1st, 2001, 05:11 AM
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How do VAT refunds work?

I've read numerous posts and articles about VAT refunds but still don't understand exactly how they work.

1. People mention that you can fill out paperwork at some stores if you reach the VAT minimum purchase. Does mean that you don't have to do anything at customs on the way out? If so, what good does it do?

2. Do you have to buy the minimum VAT amount in 1 purchase or do can you combine receipts for different purchases? If the VAT minimum is equivalent to $100, can you make 2 $60 purchases and still get the refund?


May 1st, 2001, 05:33 AM
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In France, if you spend more than FF 2,500 in a store, it is worthwhile for you to receive a refund of the Value-Added Tax (VAT), a 18.6% - 33% fee levied on most goods purchased. You must fill out a VAT refund form provided by the store, show the form and the goods to customs officials when you leave the country, and mail the form to the retailer. The store will then send you a refund for the VAT amount, usually within a month or two. This refund will be issued in dollars, even if the merchandise was paid for by credit card.

May 1st, 2001, 05:37 AM
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Hi DC:
Some stores have a minimum you have to buy before they will fill out the Global Refund form. So check each time. The sales person fill out the name if the sotr, what the item is and how much it costs on the form.
When you are leaving the country have the custom agent stamp each form, (you may have to show thei items though I have never had to) fill it out with your name address, etc and you can get a refund in the airport. I personally wait until I get home to do this. The lane seems endless at the Airports! The postage is free on the envelope provided. Check those too and make sure the address on the form and envelope is the same. You can send mutiple forms in one envelope.
FYI-I forgot to have the forms stamped before I came home from my last trip. I had a Notary Public at home stamp the forms, I mailed them off and my refund two billing cycles later on my Mastercard.
You might want to copy the address of where you send them so that if the refund is not received timely you can make inqiries. Hope this helped!
May 1st, 2001, 05:39 AM
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I think how it "works" depends on the country you're visiting. In Italy, we produced our receipts and filled out the forms at the airport (Venice). The whole process took about 15-20 minutes. About 3 months later the refund was credited to my credit-card account.
May 1st, 2001, 10:50 AM
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You may also get a refund on your hotel tax IF you were ther for any knid of business. I have done this and they have never asked for proof of what business I was doing(although I did have it) and sent me a check.
Now, you do this after you return home and ususlly through a company (I use FEXCO) who takes a small percentage, but since it can add up on a week ar so trip, it has always been worth it.
May 1st, 2001, 11:11 AM
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If you do not get a customs stamp on your way out of the country (or the EU), the laws vary country to country what they accept. Yes, Ireland does accept a notary public stamp but they are the only ones. France and Germany accept a consulate stamp. Italy has no substitute. You really should make the attempt to get the customs stamp. The cheques will not be processed without it.
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