Most tourists traveling abroad make purchases. Often the cost of purchased goods is much higher than ordinary souvenirs. Therefore, many travelers plan their budget before traveling. However, there is a system that allows you to return part of the cost of goods - tax-free. What is tax free? How does she work? What are the benefits for travelers?
Tax free: what is it?
In most foreign countries there is a very convenient system, dubbed "tax-free." It works on the principle of VAT refund on the cost of each purchased product. A good help for travelers is tax free. What is VAT? This is a value added tax, the amount of which is different in each state. In fact, the traveler receives a discount, because after the purchase part of the money is refunded.
How does this system work?
The system allows you to return VAT on purchased goods that were bought in retail stores and exported by tourists personally. However, if purchases were made in online stores or books, alcohol, cigarettes, cars were purchased, the tax cannot be refunded.
You should put a stamp on the receipt from the purchase. If you forgot to do this, you can get a mark at the consular section of the embassy of the state in which you visited. True, the service is relatively expensive - 20 euros. You can only return funds if you have checks.
Many tourists are not happy that the return is carried out for a rather long time and that all checks must be kept. Some foreign stores offer an alternative to tax-free. In the USA, for example, tax-free refunds cannot be made at all. Therefore, large retail chains offer foreigners a discount of 11%.
Who can get tax free?
Obtaining tax-free can be carried out if certain conditions have been met:
- The purchase was made in a country that is a member of this system.
- A traveler who wants to return VAT does not have citizenship, refugee status, residence permit and work permit in the country in which the purchase was made.
- The traveler stayed no more than 3 months in the state.
- The cost of purchased goods exceeds the lower limit, which gives the right to a VAT refund, which is determined individually by the country (in Germany it is 25 euros, and in France - 175).
It is important to know that in many states VAT is not provided for food or other food products. This also applies to alcohol, tobacco, printed products, jewelry, precious metals, vehicles. Accordingly, tax refund for these products is not possible.
The tax-free system works in all EU countries, in Argentina, Belarus, Great Britain, Israel, Jordan, Iceland, Lebanon, Morocco, Turkey, Uruguay, South Africa, and South Korea. However, our country does not participate in it.
How to return tax free? First of all, it should be remembered that goods must be purchased at points of sale that are partners of this system. As a rule, on the doors of such stores there are corresponding plates. However, if in doubt, you can check the information directly with the sellers.
First you need to purchase the goods and get a receipt for it. Providing a tax-free receipt is the seller’s responsibility. The receipt must indicate the name of the buyer, the state and the city in which he resides, the date of purchase of goods and their total value.
The relevant receipt columns shall be filled in according to the current passport of the buyer. Therefore, you must have a photocopy or original with you. As a rule, sellers are independently engaged in processing receipts, but it happens that they provide only a cashier's check with a seal. Therefore, the form is sometimes filled out by the buyer. It is important to note that the buyer must maintain the integrity of the packaging of the goods until the return of VAT. The same rules apply to tags, labels. Some stores put seals and stickers for registration of dachshunds.
The next step is customs clearance. Return is issued immediately before returning to the homeland. The procedure can take quite a while, so you need to arrive at the airport or train station a few hours before departure. If the goods will be carried in hand luggage, you need to go to the customs point before registration. If they are in luggage, customs should be passed after registration, since there you can also hand over a suitcase. Customs officers check the safety of packaging, the presence of cash vouchers, and then put stamps on receipts. If you travel in transit to the countries of the European Union, VAT refunds must be made at the final destination before departure to Russia.
There are several ways to get tax-free:
- in an Aeroport;
- in one of the Russian partner banks of the system;
- to bank cards.
The validity period of the system of discounts on goods purchased abroad is divided into two components. That is, tax-free have two validity periods, namely:
- The validity period of a cash receipt.
- Period of validity of printing on a cash receipt.
In each state, the validity period of cash receipts is established individually. For example, in Spain and Austria it is unlimited, while in Switzerland it is up to 1 month. However, the average validity period is no more than 3 months. If we talk about the seal of customs, then it can operate from 1 month to six months. This period is given to the traveler so that he turned to the bank with a request for a VAT refund.
Tax Free Rate
The amount of the refund is directly related to the amount of VAT established in each state. Its size can be up to 25%. To make an accurate calculation of the amount of return, you can use the tax-free calculator, which is available on the websites of the system operators. It should also be noted that a fee is charged for cash payments for the service. When the tax is returned to the bank card, an additional fee is charged for the conversion of foreign currency into rubles. As a rule, the size of the commission is up to 5%.
Return at the airport
You can return the tax-free at the airport in the area of international departures with customs crossings. Duty-free shops are located in the same area. Tax free return offices are equipped with special signs and signs (usually Tax / Cash Refund). It is also mandatory to have one of the logos:
- Premium Tax Free.
- Global Blue Refund.
Customs stamp receipts must be given to the cashier. It is also necessary to select the desired return currency. Cash will be issued on site.
The procedure can take up to 20 minutes. Therefore, large queues often accumulate at large airports. Check in for a flight in this case is best 3-4 hours before departure. In extreme cases, you can return the tax-free upon arrival in Russia.
You can get money on a bank card. In this case, you must write a statement and indicate the details of the card. The funds will go to her within 2 months, since the return is carried out by foreign banks.
Return in Russia
Where can I get tax-free more? In Russia upon arrival! If there was no VAT refund office at the departure airport, you simply could not find it, or if the trip was carried out in your own car, you can return the money to banks that are partners of this system. These include:
- "First Czech-Russian Bank".
- "SMP Bank".
- "Master Bank".
Money back in Moscow and St. Petersburg can be quite simple. To do this, it is enough to write a statement in one of the above banks and attach checks with the seal of customs to it. Assistance in filling out the form will be provided by bank employees. Moreover, a visit can be made within a few weeks after arrival, if the receipts are still valid. It is worth remembering that the bank charges an additional fee. In addition, your representative can make a refund if there is a notarized power of attorney.
The largest operator of the tax-free system is the company Global. Tax-free can be returned at their offices, which are available in 37 countries of the world. In the Russian Federation their representative offices are located in such cities as:
- Polar dawns.
- St. Petersburg.
The company provides travelers with another convenient VAT refund service. If you do not have time to arrange a return at the departure point, you can ask the manager for an envelope and put checks and a statement there. You must also specify the details of a bank card, phone, email. When the application is reviewed, the money will be transferred to your account.
So, the so-called taxi-free service has become quite popular recently. What is tax free? This is a VAT refund system for the purchase of goods abroad. The return procedure does not take much time, but travelers can get part of the money spent on goods.