Tax Refund-VAT

Nov 8th, 2001, 05:51 PM
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Tax Refund-VAT

Please explain how the VAT refund works & how that impacts what you declare, etc.
Nov 8th, 2001, 06:53 PM
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TO get the refund,first you have to spend at least $200 per item....
Have the store where you purchase item fill out the VAT form and sign it.....

You must turn this in at the LAST European Airport you leave Europe from--(Not a connecting flight-but the first flight out of the country)

You have to turn in the forms BEFORE you check in your suitcase...The officials have the right to see anything you pruchased that you are requesting VAT refund for--Keep these items in a small carry on bag so you can get to them quickly...

After the VAT signs the refund forms, you can opt for a credit to your charge card or cash on the spot.....

Then you take your luggage and go to your respective airlines checkin and check in for your return home....

For example- in LONDON-- in May- it took us about 30 minutes to do the entire thing...effortless---
Nov 9th, 2001, 04:05 AM
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We applied for a VAT refund for the first time on a recent October trip. When making your purchase be sure you have your passport or a copy of your passport (front 2 pages), as the passport number goes on the form. We had neither, but, the shop said we could fill it in later (don't know if this is usually the policy). The only hassle for us was we had purchased a small piece of luggage and it could not be used until our VAT form was signed by customs! So, we had to take it bagged and empty as one of our "carry on" pieces. We flew Venice-Brussels-JFK, so we had to have the form stamped & signed in Brussels. This could be a problem if you're connection time between flights is short or there are long lines at the customs office. It took us awhile to find out where we had to go to get the VAT signed. There's no sign saying VAT and most shop people didn't seem to know what we were talking about. But, you have to go to the Customs office, which we'd walked by several times. There was no line and it took about a few minutes. We had plenty of time between connecting flights too. We mailed the form and are waiting for the refund to appear on our credit card statement...
Nov 9th, 2001, 04:27 AM
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Suppose it depends where your flying from. In Ireland, we checked our bags and then did our VAT. Also,did not have to spend $200. In fact, I'm supposed to get something back where I only spent $23.35 and hadn't even thought of claiming it, but the person at the window said it would come back on my credit card. So, there again, it depends where your traveling. Whereever you go, have a good trip..
Nov 9th, 2001, 07:23 AM
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The VAT is a local sales tax, it has nothing to do with Customs declarations.
And the amount you have to spend in each country in one store, in order to qualify, varies by country and of course is quoted in local currency,before francs and lire, soon euros only, but not in dollars.
Sometime in Paris airports I have experience a significant waiting line to
talk to the VAT people; at other times it only took 10 minutes. Once your form is stamped, you have to mail the form back to the store. Some stores will give you a pre-addressed and stamped envelope that you can mail right at the airport before you go home.

By the way, does anyone know what the requirements in Euros will be for
VAT refunds?
Nov 9th, 2001, 08:25 AM
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We filled out the VAT forms at the Venice aiport, and no one asked to see the goods we purchased -- we just had to show receipts. In fact, one of the items had already been shipped from the merchant to our home. The VAT-refund process took about 20 minutes, and the amount was credited to our credit card after about 60 days.
Nov 9th, 2001, 08:40 AM
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The change to Euros will not effect the amount of tax you can reclaim, or the minimum purchase requirements for those countries.
If you have any more specific questions, I would be happy to answer them.

Nov 9th, 2001, 08:42 AM
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In Italy, you have to spend at least ITL 300,000 at one time. As Andy said, you turn in the forms at the last airport in the EU...this is where it can become problematic! If you have a tight connection, you may not have time to stand in line and wait for your stamp. This happened to us this year in Paris, where we had less than 1 hour to connect.

I've also found that at some airports, they will stamp your forms even though you're connecting in another EU country. This was true in Florence and Bologna, where I said that I had packed the items and checked them through. My forms were duly stamped and the refund issued. However, in Rome they refused to do it, even though I showed them on my tickets that I didn't have much connection time at CDG.
Nov 9th, 2001, 08:49 AM
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Last year in Paris, the minimum purchase in one store was 1200FF for the VAT refund.
Are you saying that would still be quoted in francs next year, rather than euros?
Nov 9th, 2001, 09:07 AM
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No. What I meant was that the amount will neither increase nor decrease. It will however be quoted in Euros.

Nov 9th, 2001, 09:23 AM
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thanks now i understand
I guess what we'll need to know is how many Euros in France, Italy, etc will be the equivalents
Nov 9th, 2001, 09:30 AM
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They minimum purchase requirements in Euros are:
Austria 75.01
Belgium 125.01
Finland 40
Germany 25
Greece 120
Holland 137
Italy 154.94
Ireland none
Luxembourg 74
Portugal 58.36
Spain 90.16

I'm sorry, but for some reason I don't have France handy.

Nov 9th, 2001, 09:36 AM
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wow colleen,

did you get them from a website, or have you just memorized them?

Nov 9th, 2001, 11:50 AM
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There are no minimum purchase requirements.
Nov 11th, 2001, 06:17 PM
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We were in Paris but drove to Frankfurt and left out of Frankfurt airport. My understanding was that in order o get our VAT back from France..we had to get a form filled out at the stores where we spent money in France...then submit it at the Frankfurt airport for reimbursement. I had spent over 150.00 in Paris and was unable to get a refund even with the sales slips and items to show. In Frankfurt...they only gave us a refund on purchases over 100.00 US $.
I had most of my purchases packed in a carry on and had to show the refund person each receipt and item before she gave me the green form to get the refund.Next time I will know what to do.
Nov 11th, 2001, 09:22 PM
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When shopping and claiming a VAT refund in UK I have never come across this "minimum amount" requirement.

It's worth your while (if doing lots of shopping in one store) to simply collect all your receipts (I'm normally in England for 6 weeks at a time and collect receipts over the duration of the trip), and then take receipts to the Customer Service Desk and have all receipts put on one VAT refund form, that way you only pay one adminstration fee. Stores normally charge about five pounds sterling for form and administration.

When you leave the country, you're supposed to have the goods on hand to show the staff at the VAT refund desk at airport, but I must say that over the years I've only been asked to show items on around three occasions.

Please note, the above info relates to UK only, I've never claimed VAT refund anywhere else in Europe.

Nov 12th, 2001, 10:40 AM
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the Euro to franc or other currency of member states is fixed. (it's equal to 6.55957F so VAT min. would be 182.94F purchase. Here is a good URL that lists the fixed rates to other currencies:
The UK VAT scheme is different and voluntary for stores to participate so the store can decide whether to set a minimum purchase or not; I believe France's VAT refund system is standard and more regulated and the 1200F min. is required. Other countries have diff. minimums, Sweden very low and Switzerland higher than France, from what I've seen.
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