Everything you need to know about tax-free shopping on your easter holidays with ZappTax
Anyone whose main residence is outside the European Union has the right to a VAT refund on purchases made in the EU and taken home, in their luggage, to their country of residence. While tax-free shopping is a great and profitable option for non-EU residents, the process is complicated and cumbersome. ZappTax has made it its mission to facilitate the VAT-refund process so that everyone who is eligible can take full advantage of their right to save.
ZappTax is happy to offer this straight-forward solution to make VAT refund simple to understand and obtain. Here’s how it works.
What is a VAT refund and do you qualify ?
The traveler whose domicile or habitual residence is not in Belgium, or another Member State of the European Union can buy goods for export exempted from paying the value added tax (VAT) or benefit from a refund of this VAT.
Thus, goods purchased in the EU but then taken with you in your luggage for consumption or use in your country of residence outside the EU are not subjected to VAT. In order to claim a VAT refund on your purchases, you must meet certain conditions.
1. You must reside outside the European Union
You can claim a VAT refund only if you live in a non-EU country. This is independent of nationality. A French expatriate in Bangkok will therefore be eligible for a VAT refund, but an American residing in Italy will not. A person of Chinese nationality residing in Paris is also ineligible for a VAT refund when travelling outside the EU. Since the Brexit, UK residents are eligible for VAT-refund when they travel to Europe.
2. A minimum purchase threshold to claim VAT refund is set by each country
Depending on how the VAT refund on your purchases is obtained (see below), this threshold is applicable per store and per day (which is very restrictive) OR it is applicable on all the purchases made during your stay.
3. You must leave the EU before the end of the third month following the month of purchase
Most countries will only refund VAT if you leave the EU with your purchased goods and obtain customs validation of your tax-free form no later than the last day of the third month following the month of your purchase.
4. You have to leave the EU with all the goods on which you want to claim a VAT refund
In order to get your VAT refund, you must take purchased goods out of the EU with you in your luggage. If these goods remain in the EU, you cannot claim a VAT-refund on them. Note that these goods must be unused and in their original packaging when they leave the EU.
Why use ZappTax?
In 2017, ZappTax devised an innovative system that overcomes almost all the problems of the traditional VAT-refund system. This new approach, approved by the tax and customs authorities, works differently. You have two ways to shop tax-free:
- The traditional system is to have VAT refund provided by the vendor, most often in collaboration with an intermediary called a “tax-refund operator”.
- The easy, government-approved ZappTax system, which simplifies the VAT-refund process and can be used when shopping in any store in France, Belgium, or Spain.
Happy Tax-Free shopping!