Customs and Duties

There are few restrictions on what you can take out of the Czech Republic. The main exception is items with special historical or cultural value. To be exported, an antique or work of art must have an export certificate. Reputable shops should be willing to advise customers on how to comply with the regulations. If a shop can't provide proof of the item's suitability for export, be wary. Now that the Czech Republic is in the Schengen zone, there should be no restrictions on bringing cigarettes and alcohol to neighboring countries. Austria, however, has cracked down on people with more than a carton of cigarettes due to the lack of required German-language health warnings. Large knives and martial-arts items, common in Czech tourist shops, are also illegal in much of Europe, even though border checks have been dropped.

Under certain circumstances you can receive a refund of 21% value-added tax (V.A.T.) payable on purchases over 2,001 Kč, provided the goods are taken out of the country soon after purchase. Ask about "Tax-Free Shopping" at the store when you purchase the goods, and make sure to collect all of the necessary stamps and receipts. You can get a cash refund at the airport. Many downtown stores specializing in fashion, glass, or other popular items have a "tax-free" sticker on the door, meaning they have the proper forms for reclaiming tax.

U.S. Information

U.S. Customs and Border Protection. www.cbp.gov.

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