Experienced travelers are well informed about Tax Free checks. A great opportunity to save: by presenting correctly issued forms at the customs office, we receive a refund of the local VAT. And this is 10-20% of the cost of purchases, quite a decent amount. But, as in any case, there are tricks and subtleties, ignorance of which can deprive you of such a pleasant opportunity.
So, first: which countries are included in the Tax Free Refund system? To date, there are 36 countries, including almost all of Europe. Hundreds of thousands of different shops, on the doors of which you will see the coveted blue emblem. After making a purchase in this store, ask the seller to issue a Tax Free check. You may need your passport – the seller will overwrite your data. It is also possible that he will not do it, but it does not matter – you can quite deal with this yourself, the main thing is to do this before passing the customs inspection on the way back. Needless to say, a cash receipt must be pinned to the Tax Free form.
Having issued the receipt, the seller will pack up your purchase, pasting it with paper tags with the same number that is on the check blank. Ideally, in this form, your purchase must be before the customs, perhaps it will have to be presented at the request of an official. In any case, do not cut off the purchased item labels, use it. After all, if a presentation is lost, the corresponding check may not be accepted for reimbursement.
But, say, you have met all the requirements, how much money will you return? It is worth remembering that in different countries VAT is calculated in different ways. In addition, it will not be returned in full, but after deduction of some interest. There is another important trick: the return is not made from the nominal amount of your purchase, but with some “step”. For example, from the amount of 100-199 euros – 15 euros, from 200-300 euros – 30 euros
Of course, not for all purchased goods you will return money. Products, tobacco, services, books – these purchases will warm your soul, but not a purse.
But here all the money is spent, all the sights are looked at, you are returning home. When and where should I present the accumulated stack of checks? Important point: before passing customs control. Look around: either you will see a special Tax Free rack, or present checks when submitting documents to the customs officer, he will mark them himself or tell you where to turn. The direct exchange point is located in the Dute Free zone, but not marked checks are not valid! You can not go back, because the border has already been formally passed by you.
But you, we hope, did everything right. Then boldly go to the exchange window, get your money and spend it in duty-free shops – to the mutual satisfaction of your and the host country. If for some reason you could not exchange checks, do not get too upset. This can be done after returning home, by contacting one of the authorized banks. True, the bank will take for their services a certain percentage, but then he and the bank. Just do not particularly pull with this case – checks have a shelf life: from a month to three, depending on the country of issue.
If our advice seems to you too complicated – or, conversely, not enough detailed – do not despair. Stock up a memo of Tax Free.Booklets with information are usually easily accessible at customs posts, in hotels and even in some stores. Perhaps, it is necessary to address this question to your tour operator. In any case, remember the main thing: on a trip abroad for you there is an opportunity to save a lot, why not take advantage of this?