How to Claim VAT at the Airport

Written by greyson ferguson
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How to Claim VAT at the Airport
Claim your VAT money before returning home. (money money money image by Tribalstar from

Value added tax, or VAT, is tax you pay on goods purchased while visiting another country. This is typically sales tax, although the tax may vary depending on the country you visit. Because you are not a resident of that country, you are not required to pay the taxes, so it is possible to have the VAT refunded at the airport before departure. However, you don't just walk up to the customs official and ask for a refund. There are a few forms and documents you must have in order to receive your VAT payment.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Receipts
  • Purchased goods
  • VAT refund form

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  1. 1

    Pick up a VAT refund form before you enter customs. Many airports have these forms near the duty-free shops, although the exact location varies depending on the airport.

  2. 2

    Fill out the VAT refund form. This includes your name, country of origin, days you spent inside the visited country, and the products you purchased. Write down the value of each item you purchased along with the tax paid on each document.

  3. 3

    Hold onto the receipts for each item you purchased. Without the receipts, the customs official has no proof of the item's value, or if you even purchased it in the country.

  4. 4

    Keep the goods on hand. If you mailed the goods home, you cannot claim them on the VAT, as you may have friends living inside the country who simply gave you their receipts. Without the goods on hand you cannot receive the refund.

  5. 5

    Hand the completed VAT refund form and the receipts to the customs official at the VAT refund centre in the airport. Identify each item you purchased. Once the customs official sees all the products, he will stamp your VAT refund form and hand you the amount of taxes you paid on the items.

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