Tax-free is a system of VAT (value added tax) return to people who don’t have citizenship, residence permit, refugee status, or work visa in the country where the purchase was made. By the way, these people mustn’t live in the country longer than 3 months. Such taxes are intended for social security and foreigners can’t use social benefits. That’s why various counties began VAT returning. Sweden initiated that in the 1960s. As a rule, VAT varies from 9 to 20 %.
How to Get It?
In case tourists want to buy tax-free goods, they must be sure that the chosen country offers it.
To get VAT, a person has:
- To buy something abroad
A person purchases something and then leaves the country. A foreigner must have a boarding passport. It’s important to get the check at mart. A customs officer must stamp the check. Check the sum limitation of the country. It must be equal or more than allowed (see below).
2.To pass through custom house
Before leaving the country a person must find a Tax-free office and show the purchase, the check, filled in forms and a boarding passport to get stamps. Note that purchased goods must be with labels and new.
3.To get money back
Get your money back due to those stamps in the free refund office. Note that an agent will take commission for each document.
The Main Tax-Free Rules:
- Minimal Total Purchase Amount:
25-40 conventional units: Great Britain, Germany, Latvia, Estonia, Finland
50-60 conventional units: Slovenia, Portugal, Netherlands, Cyprus
70-75 conventional units: Austria, Argentina, Luxemburg
90-100 conventional units: Spain, Singapore
120-155 conventional units: Belgium, Greece, Italy, Turkey
175-200 conventional units: France, Poland, Sweden, Lithuania, Slovakia
300-315 conventional units: Denmark, Switzerland, Norway
740 conventional units: Croatia
2000-4000 conventional units: Morocco, Czech, Iceland
30000-50000 conventional units: South Korea, Hungary, Lebanon
- The period required to get a stamp usually lasts 3 months.
Only Argentina needs 6 months, Hungary and Portugal require 90 days, Switzerland – 30 days, Singapore – 2 months and Norway – 1 month.
- The period of tax-free validity:
2 months: Singapore
3 months: Italy, Morocco, Turkey, South Korea
90 days: Greece
4 months: Poland
5 months: Portugal, Slovakia, Czech, Finland
150 days: Hungary
6 months: Argentina, Slovenia, France, Croatia
1 year: Denmark, Cyprus, Latvia, Norway, Estonia, Sweden
3 years: Luxemburg, Austria, Belgium
4 years: Germany, Switzerland
5 years: Spain
Limitless: Great Britain, Iceland, Lebanon, Netherlands, Lithuania
What Goods are Subjected to VAT
The tax-free system applies to industrial goods (clothing, footwear, jewelry, household and office supplies, watches, accessories, household and electronic equipment) and does not cover services, hotels, restaurants, food, books, vehicles and ships , precious metals in bank ingots, precious stones apart from jewelry, goods for professional activities and things purchased through the Internet.