What is VAT?
VAT (in Italian: IVA) is a value-added tax on goods and services and is part of the European Union’s value added tax system.
In some cases, travellers may be granted a VAT refund. This refund does not cover the services supplied by hotels, restaurants, taxis or agencies.
In what case can I receive VAT refund?
– provided that you are a non-EU resident;
– provided that the goods purchased are intended for personal or family use only and are carried in your luggage;
– provided that the overall value of the goods purchased exceeds 154,94 Euro (VAT included);
-provided that the purchase is certified by an invoice. This invoice should include a description of the goods purchased, your personal information as well as the details of your passport or any other equivalent document;
-provided that the goods leave EU territory by the end of the third month after the month that you bought them;
-provided that several specific customs formalities are complied with;
-provided that the invoice is returned to the Italian retailer within four months after the purchase was made.
When can I Ask for VAT Refund?
– The goods purchased and the relevant invoice must be shown at the customs exit point when leaving EU territory (if you intend to pack the purchased items into your check-in luggage, you must go to Customs BEFORE checking in).
– After leaving EU territory, the traveller must return the original invoice, regularly endorsed by the customs office, to the Italian retailer. Said invoice must be returned within four months from the date when the document was issued.
How can I ask for VAT refund?
– The refund can be made directly by the Italian retailer, also at Outlets and factory Stores (however, make sure that the shop you’ve chosen displays a “Tax-Free Shopping” or “Euro Tax-Free” sign in its window).
– Several Tax-Free companies are able to offer immediate VAT cash refunds when the goods leave either Italian or EU territory (thus exonerating the passenger from having to return the invoice to the retailer). However, this procedure only applies at major international airports or main border crossings. Most major department stores have Tax Free Refund offices.
How does it work?
– The services provided by Tax-Free companies imply the payment of a small administrative sum which is directly deducted from the amount of VAT refunded to the traveller.
– In the event of a traveller not receiving a VAT refund within a reasonable period of time, he or she should re-contact the Italian retailer or one of the aforementioned companies.
However, please note, VAT cannot be refunded directly by customs offices.