Taxes

What you see is what you pay in Switzerland: restaurant checks and hotel bills include all taxes.

If your purchases in a single shop total 300 SF and the goods are exported within 30 days of the purchase date, you may reclaim the V.A.T. (8% in Switzerland). This tax is included in the sales price of most items.

When making a purchase, ask for a V.A.T. refund form and find out whether the merchant gives refunds—not all stores do. Have the form stamped like any customs form by customs officials when you leave the country or, if you're visiting several European Union countries, when you leave the EU. After you're through passport control, take the form to a refund-service counter for an on-the-spot refund (which is usually the quickest and easiest option), or mail it to the address on the form after you arrive home. You receive the total refund stated on the form, but the processing time can be long, especially if you request a credit card adjustment.

Global Blue is a worldwide service with 270,000 affiliated stores and more than 250 refund counters at major airports and border crossings. Its refund form, called a Tax Free Form, is the most common across the European continent. The service issues refunds in the form of cash, credit card adjustment, money transfer, or bank check.

V.A.T. Refunds

Global Blue. 866/706–6090; 0800/3211111; www.globalblue.com.

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