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VAT, very specific question

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Chicago
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110 posts
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VAT, very specific question

Hi TA,

I thought I understood how to get a VAT refund but now I'm at a loss -

We are starting in Paris, where I will be doing my shopping. I understand how to get the refund form and that I need a stamp at the last EU stop.

We leave from Rome with Alitalia, with a LAYOVER that's 2 1/2 hours at CDG, then hop on Air France back to Chicago direct. I was told that at CDG I should get my stamps and not at FCO/Rome (do you agree?) Does anyone know which part of CDG I'll most likely be and where I can get in line to get the stamps?

Help please! I really want to go shopping and get a refund :(

New York City, New...
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1. Re: VAT, very specific question

I disagree and think you should take care of VAT at FCO. Just make sure you have your ticket or itinerary showing you are only stopping over at CDG and that your ultimate destination is Chicago.

Mill Valley...
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2. Re: VAT, very specific question

I concur with rachel. That is exactly the way to do it. I just did this on a trip from FCO to SFO with a stop in Frankfurt. Global Blue at FCO can give you a cash refund (in Euros) or, if you want the amount credited to your credit card, you can simply put your stamped forms in the envelope that will be provided to you and mail them from the airport. Be sure that your tax forms are completed precisely and that all characters are clear.

New Hampshire
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for Paris
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3. Re: VAT, very specific question

Yes, you take care of it ahead of boarding your plane in Rome. Allow plenty of time. Know ahead of time where the customs desk is located. You must have your passport, all necessary paperwork including receipts, boarding pass, and goods purchased (unused). They may not ask for the goods, but if they do and you don't have them, you won't receive the necessary stamps. If you plan to pack items in a checked bag, go ahead and get the bag tags when you get your boarding pass, but advice the attendant you'll return with it later. Once you're finished with customs, you can finish checking your bag.

Google as there are lots of great tips specifically for FCO. And, more and more vendors use Global these days which provides plenty of instructions in English for accomplishing all that.

Again, allow plenty of time. Have all your paperwork in order. It's messy/missing/disorganized paperwork that holds up the line.

Palo Alto...
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4. Re: VAT, very specific question

The standard rule is that you claim VAT rebates at the point you exit the EU EXCEPT on a same-day transfer at another EU airport, in which case you claim at the airport where your journey begins so you should make your claim at FCO.

Edited: 22 August 2013, 19:18
Chicago
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5. Re: VAT, very specific question

Thank you SO MUCH rachel, nutsabouttravel and djkbooks! That's exactly what I thought :)

Chicago
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6. Re: VAT, very specific question

Ah, that makes it even clearer, JHH. Thanks!

Montreal, QC
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7. Re: VAT, very specific question

Be prepared to wait in line for the VAT refund at FCO. You must wait in TWO different lines. First the Customs line where you have to show all items to Mr. Customs Man, preferably in their original packaging as they are usually strict on refusing to stamp claims for used items (even if it's been used only for a few days and it doesn't show.)

Then you have to wait in the other line (a few feet away ) to get your refund. Same line for credit card or cash refunds.

If you are traveling with someone else, the other could wait in the 2nd line while you are in the 1st one. I saw many people last year in October leave without their refund because they were too close to their boarding time.

Chicago
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8. Re: VAT, very specific question

hi yymca, thanks for the advice - I didn't realize there were two lines but now it makes perfect sense. We plan on being at the airport at 5:55 AM, as our departure time is 8:55 AM. But I'm a bit nervous because Global Blue doesn't open until 7 AM...so I think we will check in and keep our luggage, go to Customs and get stamped while DH waits for Global Blue to open. Hopefully we will be first in line! I don't want to go home without that refund!

Montreal, QC
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9. Re: VAT, very specific question

With 3 hours you should be all right. It took us about40 minutes in the middle of the day. The customs line is faster than the Global Blue one BTW.

Chicago, Illinois
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10. Re: VAT, very specific question

we never wait in two lines -- we get the forms stamped and mail them back to the store (or agency if the store works it that way) and the amount is returned to our credit card -- or often the store simply does not put the charge through to our credit card. it is fairly common for stores to run the VAT on a separate slip and hold that until they have your paperwork back and then destroy the credit slip.

VAT lines can take a very long time even when they are short because some agents make a big production of looking at every item -- get behind someone from the far East who has purchased an entire wardrobe and it can take a long long time. and lines can be blocks long.