TAX FREE procedure
I think you’ve heard a lot about VAT refunds, the so-called TAX FREE, but you still have a lot of questions about how it works in practice. This article will focus on this topic. I will try to tell you about this procedure in detail.
Well, let’s start!
• Before doing the shopping in EU countries, make sure the store, where you want to buy something, offers such service as TAX FREE. Look for the TAX FREE sign in a store or ask a sales assistant or a consultant of the store about the service.
• To obtain TAX FREE documents, you must notify a sales assistant before buying a product. This document should be issued only on the day of purchase. For this purpose you will need to provide a passport to a sales assistant, who should full fill your personal data. You will be provided with a TAX FREE document with the following information: name and surname, passport number, residence address (in Ukraine, Belarus or Russia), date and the size of the purchased item . The amount you will be refunded will be indicated in a separate field. All data must be thoroughly checked, because in case of a mistake you will not be able get your refund. Remember that the value of a product must exceed 200 zł. If you want to buy more than one item, then everything must be completed in one check.
• To transport goods purchased in the European Union through border checkpoints you must register these items in the system “VAT refund for individuals crossing the border” (which you will find here) on the TAX FREE invoices issued to you name, which you will present on the border checkpoints to the customs authorities along with the goods you are exporting. If you have several TAX FREE documents with different numbers, then the form should be fulfilled for each one separately.
• It is important to remember that you must transport the purchased goods outside the EU not later than three months from the day of purchase. In case of exceeding the three month deadline, your TAX FREE document will not be registered at the border and, therefore, you will lose the opportunity to VAT refund. After passing the passport control, you need to submit a TAX FREE document to the customs officer who is involved with them. While checking the documents, you will be asked to show the purchased items. The package of the product you purchased must be original, unopened and not damaged. Industrial goods are allowed to be transported in supermarket bags. Pay attention to the fact that the customs officer has to put the export stamp of the goods on the document “VAT refund for travelers”, the place and date of export must be written on the document too.
• VAT refund terms vary from store to store, so the best way is to clarify this issue when doing shopping. The VAT may be returned directly at the store where the goods were purchased. VAT return must be done no later than 7 months after the date of purchase. In order to receive VAT, you must show the seller your passport, as well as your TAX FREE document with customs stamp, if all is correct, you will receive indicated amount in cash.
• TAX may also be refunded incompletely through an intermediary – the TAX FREE return operator. The advantage of this method is that you do not need to visit the same store again, since the funds can be obtained at the intermediary service point. As a rule, they are located near major border crossing points, at major international airports or in major shopping centers around the world. You can also get money in the country of permanent residence in the network of partner banks of this operator. On the website of the TAX FREE refund company, you can always find information on financial intermediaries, with which it cooperates in the countries where it does not have its own money delivery points. It’s worth noting that in the case of a refund through a branch of a partner, you will receive money in the currency of the country where payment is made at the commercial rate of the bank. Please note that the operator may set limits on cash or cashless returns within the same form of TAX FREE or additional fees for repayment over a certain amount.
• One of the intermediaries is the GLOBAL BLUE system. The amount of tax refund by the company GLOBAL BLUE will be paid in cash in the currency of the country where the return is made at the commercial exchange rate of the euro on the day of the transaction, or transferred to the payment card. Refunds are made by GLOBAL BLUE to Visa, MasterCard International and American Express payment cards within 10 to 15 business days. Please visit GLOBAL BLUE website for additional information about TAX FREE check payment: http://www.global-blue.com.
• Why can they refuse you the refund? …… In accordance with the TAX FREE check reimbursement instruction, the main reasons for the refusal to pay a refund are:
– The absence of a customs seal on the TAX FREE check.
– Correction in the TAX FREE check and / or the fiscal check / invoice of the store.
– TAX FREE check and / or fiscal check / store invoice is damaged / torn, cut, etc.
– The absence of a fiscal check or store invoice before the TAX FREE check, providing a copy of these documents instead of the originals.
– The fiscal check / invoice of the store does not specify the name of the purchased goods, but only their articles or indicated only the total purchase amount.
– The customs seal is not readable or the customs officer put the seal incorrectly (the seal is lubricated), there is a little paint.
– A bank employee cannot determine the date of export of the product or the seal does not respond to special devices for checking customs seals.
– The goods were taken out after the deadline. There is determined deadline during which the customer is obligated to export the goods, usually it is from 1 to 3 months from the time of purchase of goods.
– The TAX FREE check is issued for non-refundable goods (in some countries it is alcohol, food, tobacco, etc.).
– The customer requests the bank for a TAX FREE refund, which expired or expires in less than 3 weeks.
• In Poland, the VAT rate for technical equipment is 23% and most of the specialized retailers refund TAX FREE funds in full. However, some products are taxed at rates of 8% or 5%. VAT rates for each product will be indicated in the merchant receipt.
TAX FREE service is a good opportunity to save your money.
Be sure to use it.
Good luck with your shopping!