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How does this VAT refund thing work?

Trumbull...
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258 posts
3 reviews
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How does this VAT refund thing work?

I did a quick search, but need some clarification. I remember the VAT refund the last time I took an extensive trip in Europe, but never really bought any goods there, so never pursued it. However this time around, in Greece, there is a good chance I will be spending a lot of money on some things to take home.

My questions are:

-Is the VAT refund only applicable on material goods and not food or hotel stays?

-Can I claim a VAT refund on a larger item that I may have had shipped home and not brought back through airport customs?

-Should I request a receipt for every single item or service that I purchase, no matter how big or small, or only on expensive items?

-Where do I claim my refund? I can't remember.

Are there any other things I should do or look out for? Thanks!

Trumbull...
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258 posts
3 reviews
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1. Re: How does this VAT refund thing work?

Anyone? I know it's a common question. Sorry!

Melbourne, Australia
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1,009 posts
78 reviews
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2. Re: How does this VAT refund thing work?

Hi aeromax, try this website

www.globalrefund.com

Hope it answers your questions

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
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83,176 posts
13 reviews
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3. Re: How does this VAT refund thing work?

VAT refund is applicable only on goods you take out of the country, therefore it is not claimable on food or accommodation.

If you have goods shipped to USA by a store, the store should deduct the VAT from the price. You can claim only on items you are carrying, and you may have to show them when you lodge the refund claim.

There is a requirement for a minimum spend in one store at the same time, therefore you cannot claim small expenses.

You claim the refund at the airport where you leave the EU.

There's some more useful information at www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/vat.htm

Komotini, Greece
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2,849 posts
56 reviews
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4. Re: How does this VAT refund thing work?

I don't know about VAT refund as I've never done it but I want to draw attention to your question:

"-Should I request a receipt for every single item or service that I purchase, no matter how big or small, or only on expensive items?"

The answer is a resounding YES PLEASE!!!!!! This is VERY IMPORTANT in Greece.

It will help the economy a ton if tourists would PLEASE ask for receipts (and check it's for the full amount that you paid) for every purchase, large or small (a cup of coffee, a tyropita, a gold necklace, a hotel stay) and it should be printed from a cash register. We (as a country, I count myself as I live here now!) have been given the responsibility of asking for receipts to cut down on tax evasion which is actually a significant problem here. So ask for a receipt, even if you throw it away (or better yet, give it to a Greek friend!) it will still help.

Athens, Greece
Destination Expert
for Athens
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13,538 posts
10 reviews
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5. Re: How does this VAT refund thing work?

One more vote for this.

Please DO ask for receipts.

Only places that i know ( still ) not being able to issue receipts are the road stalls / kiosks. Most of them do not have ( neither are obliged ) to have a cash-register machine, so it won't be a tax-evasion if they tell you they cannot issue one. These roads stalls sell water, refreshments, icecreams, magazines tobacco products etc.

Metro booths are also not issuing any receipts, nor are obliged to.

Nevertheless on all other cases:

- Hotels, cafeterias, snackbars, fastfoods, restaurants, shops, department stores, taxis, do ask for receipt please and take it with you instead of leaving it on the table for example. It helps control tax-evasion and does good to all those actually paying their taxes faithfully.

Keep in mind that a taxi driver is obliged to give you a receipt for full amount. They are obliged to have tiny cash-registry machines in their front compartment, so they ARE able to give you areceipt if asked.

Edited: 08 May 2010, 08:19
6. Re: How does this VAT refund thing work?

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