Frequently Asked Questions

About Receipts

What do I do with my stamped receipts?

To request a VAT refund, please create an account on our app or website first, and register your receipts online. After you have registered your receipts online, please send us your original stamped receipts in the post. We will only be able to start the refund process once we have received the original stamped receipts in physical form at our office.

  • We advise you to post your stamped receipts to our office from the European airport you are departing from. Please deposit your receipts into a mailbox of the national postal system.

  • Make sure to always register your receipts via our app or website before you send us the originals in the post. Write the online registration number on your receipt. Registering your receipts online only takes a few minutes.

  • You can register your receipts online before you have received a customs stamp. You can add the picture of your stamped receipt to the online registration afterwards! Please don't forget to add a photo of your stamped receipt to your online registration after you have received a stamp from customs

  • Always save the photo's/scans of your stamped receipts untill you have received your VAT refund.

What are the requirements for purchase receipts?

To be eligible for a VAT refund you must have a purchase receipt that meets the tax administration requirements or a tax-free form*.

Be aware that not all shops will offer you a proper receipt. Therefore, be sure to check your receipt before leaving the shop.

Your purchase receipt must state the following information:

• NAC1 details of the shop aka seller
• NCP2 details of yourself as buyer
• Date of purchase
• Description of goods
• Total amount of VAT

1 = Name, Address, Country of Seller
2 = Name, Country of non-EU residency & Passport number


What if I have receipts (from a Dutch store) with a purchase amount lower than €50,-?

In general, we can not process a receipt for a VAT refund (from Dutch stores) if it has a total purchase amount of less than €50,-. The tax administration does not allow us to process these receipts.

There is one exception. If you have multiple receipts, from the same store, issued on the same day, you are allowed to combine these receipts to form one request. The total purchase amount of the receipts combined must be over €50,-.

If you wish to combine receipts to form one request, you can follow the steps below:

  • login to your vatfree.com account on the app or website
  • click on the button 'add receipt"
  • in the field 'fill in purhcase amount', fill in the total purhcase amount of your receipts, combined
  • add photos/scans of each individual receipt to this registration
  • write the registration number by hand, on all the receipts that fall under this request
  • send the receipts to our office in the post

Why do I need a customs stamp on my receipt?

A Customs validation stamp on your receipts proves you have exported the goods back to your home country. It is one of the four requirements to claim back VAT. The other three requirements are that you get this Customs validation stamp within three months after the month of purchase, that you live in a country outside the EU and that the receipt meets the tax requirements plus exceeds the minimum spent amount. Customs will check all of these requirements before putting a stamp on your receipts.


What if my receipt is also my warranty?

To process the VAT refund, we will need the original stamped purchase receipts. Many shops will print a different warranty receipt that it is not part of the purchase receipt. If this is not the case, be sure to make a copy of your purchase receipt for warranty matters or have a copy of the receipt stamped at EU-Customs so you can keep the original (customs will only stamp a copy if you can show them the original at the same time). If needed, you can always ask us for a digital copy or find a copy in your online vatfree.com account. We will not send original receipts back, or forward them to any other address.


Do my stamped receipts have an expiration date?

Get your stamp at Customs within 3 months after month of purchase. The stamped receipt can then be used to claim VAT and expires after 5 years in the Netherlands. This expiration period varies per country. Check the guidelines in the overview below.

AU Austria 3 years / 1095 days
BE Belgium* 3 years / 1095 days
BG Bulgaria 5 years / 1825 days
CR Croatia 5 years / 1825 days
CY Cyprus 5 years / 1825 days
CZ Czech Rpblk 5 years / 1825 days
DE Germany 4 years / 1825 days
DK Denmark 1 year / 365 days
ES Spain 5 years / 1825 days
ET Estonia 5 years / 1825 days
FI Finland 5 months / 150 days
FR France 6 months / 180 days
GR Greece 90 days
HU Hungary 5 years / 1825 days
IR Ireland 5 years / 1825 days
IT Italy 3 months / 90 days
LI Lithuania 5 years / 1825 days
LU Luxembourg 5 years / 1825 days
LV Latvia 5 years / 1825 days
MT Malta 5 years / 1825 days
NL Netherlands 5 years / 1825 days
PL Poland 7 months / 210 days
PT Portugal 5 years / 1825 days
RO Roemania 5 years / 1825 days
SE Sweden 1 year / 365 days
SK Slovakia 5 years / 1825 days
SV Slovenia 5 years / 1825 days
*UK United Kingdom
1 year / 365 days

*Stamped receipts for purchases made in Belgium are valid until December 31st of the third year after purchase date.

Can you return/forward my receipt to me?

No, we can not return your receipt to you, or forward it to another party. Our terms and conditions mention that we are unable to return or forward original receipts to customers, uncooperative stores or competitors. We have implemented these terms and conditions because we can impossibly return or forward all original receipts via the post in the case that they can not be processed. This would become very costly and time consuming for us, especially since we do not charge a service fee for receipts and the corresponding VAT amount in case they are not refunded by the store.

About sending receipts in the post

Do you have a personal mailbox at Schiphol airport (for submitting receipts)?

No, we do not currently have a personal mailbox at Schiphol airport.

If you wish to submit your receipts for a VAT refund from Schiphol airport, please deposit your envelope with original stamped receipts in the orange mailbox located across the hall from customs (in departure hall 3). This is a mailbox belonging to the Dutch national postal service. If you deposit your envelope with receipts in this mailbox, your receipts will arrive at our office in safe and good order.

To what address can I send my original stamped receipts?

If you have received a vatfree.com envelope from one of our partner stores, you do not need to write an address on this envelope, as it has already been printed on the front of this envelope.

If you did not receive a vatfree.com envelope from one of our partner stores you can write the below mentioned address on any blank envelope:

vatfree.com
att: Web
P.O. Box 37234
1030 AE Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Do I need to use a postal stamp on the envelope with my receipts?

If you have received a vatfree.com envelope from one of our partner stores, you do not need to use a postal stamp. Sending mail with this envelope is free of charge.

If you did not receive a vatfree.com envelope from on of our partner stores you will need to use a postal stamp on your envelope. You can send your envelope to the below mentioned address:

vatfree.com
att: Web
P.O. Box 37234
1030 AE Amsterdam
The Netherlands

What if a postal courier can not deliver to the address mentioned above/on my vatfree.com envelope?

If you think the postal system in your country of origin is unreliable, you may choose to use a courier. Some couriers can not deliver to P.O. boxes, because they require somebody to sign for delivery of your mail. If this is the case, please send us an email and we will provide a physical address.

How do I know you have received my receipts?

When we have received and processed your original stamped receipts at our office, we will notify you by email.

Please note that you can always keep an eye on the status of your receipt(s) by logging in to your account at https://traveller.vatfree.com/receipts. When we have received and processed your original receipts, your receipt status will change to 'Waiting for visual validagtion'. When we have checked your receipts, your receipt status will change to 'ready for invoicing'.

How long does it take for my receipts to arrive at your office?

We get our mail delivered to our office once a week. Afterwards it can take up to two weeks to register all receipts we have received. Therefore, it can take up to three (3) weeks in total before your receipts are marked as 'received' in your account. If you still haven't heard from us 3 weeks after your receipts should have arrived, please let us know.

Please note that this process can take longer if you have sent us your receipts from your country of origin.

Why do I need to send you my original stamped receipts in the post?

The tax adminstration requires us to audit the ink of the customs stamp for authenticity, to prevent fraud and double entries. They also require us to archive the receipt for our, and the shops business administration.

There are a few exceptions in which case you do not need to send us your original stamped receipts by post:

  1. You are a NATO employee
  2. You have shipped your goods via freighter to your country of origin and have received a digital export or import document from customs
  3. The shop has sent you your goods by courier and you have received a POD (Proof of Delivery)

About the payment of your VAT refund

How much time does it take to receive my refund?

This depends on how fast your original receipts reach our office, wether you have provided all the necessary documents needed to process your VAT refund (copy of your passport or other documents proving you live in a non-EU country), and how long the store takes to process our invoice for your VAT refund.

After we have received and processed your original receipts at our office, and received your necessary documents, we will be able to invoice the store for your VAT refund. Depending on a shop's payment terms, it can take an average of 15 to 30 business days for shops to process our request for payment.

  • We invoice most shops twice a month. Most shops are happy to cooperate in refunding VAT. To prevent the process becoming an administrative burden for the shop, we send invoices to shops every two weeks. This keeps shops happy, which results in shops becoming and remaining our partners. If a shop becomes and remains our partner, a VAT refund is guaranteed.

To speed up the process you can do the following things:

  1. make sure you register your receipts online before you send them to us in the post so we already have all necessary information.
  2. upload a copy of your passport to your account page, so we can invoice the shop immediately after having received and processed your original receipts.
  3. make sure you send us your receipts in the post from the European airport you are leaving from. This way your receipts will reach our office faster then if you send your receipts from your country of origin

What are your payment options?

Currently we have three payment options:

  1. European SEPA IBAN bankaccount (free of charge);
  2. Mastercard or Visa CreditCard (€2,00 transaction fee);
  3. PayPal (€2,00 transfer fee).

The transaction costs will be deducted from your refund amount.

We are also able to transfer the funds free of charge as a donation to the Red Cross, Worldlife protection or to a crowdfunding project of your choice.

How can I avoid paying transaction costs?

To avoid paying transaction costs you can choose to have your refund transfered to a European SEPA bank account.

If you have more than one receipt, you can avoid paying transaction costs multiple times, by waiting to request a payment untill all the stores have paid your VAT refund. You can then request one payment for all of your receipts. You then pay the transaction costs only once.

Do you pay me automatically?

No, we do not pay you automatically. You must request a payment yourself. You will be able to request a payment once the store has payed your VAT refund. When the store has payed your refund, we will notify you by email. In this email you will find instructions on how to request a payment.

  • If you have received a tax free form from one of our partner stores, with a section where you can provide your bank account details, please note that these tax free forms are old. While you can still use these forms to request a VAT refund, we no longer transfer refunds directly to the bank account details provided by you on this form. You are still required to request a payment and provide your payment detaiils yourself, when the time comes to do so.

Where and when can I fill in/provide my payment details?

Once the shop has payed your VAT refund we will notify you by email. You will then be able to request a payment by logging in to your vatfree.com account online. During the request of your payment you will be able to choose a payment option and provide your corresponding payment details.

We do not ask and store your payment details before this, for safety reasons.


Do I have to use my own bank account?

No, you do not need to use your own bank account to receive your refund. The bank account you provide does not have to be in your name. You can also use the bank account of a friend or family member.

What is the service fee?

We guarantee the highest refund in the market as our service fees are the lowest.

At vatfree.com we charge a service fee of 30% of the total VAT amount on your receipt, with a minimum fee of €2,50 and a maximum fee of €80,00 per receipt. Please note that this includes a free transfer of the refund to a SEPA bankaccount or an NGO as a donation.**

Please note, a transaction cost might apply depending on the payment option you choose. The transaction costs will be deducted from your refund amount.

About cargo requests

Can I request a VAT refund if my goods were exported by a shipping company?

Yes, you can request a VAT refund if your goods were exported on a cargo ship, by a shipping company. After you have registered your receipts online, please let us know by email that these goods were exported by cargo.

What documents do I need to provide when submitting a cargo request?

If you register a receipt for a VAT refund, for goods that have been exported by cargo, we will ask you to provide the following documents:

  • copy of your original receipt/invoice
  • 'EX-A' export document (please contact your shipping company to obtain these documents)
  • 'Confirmation of Exit' export document (please contact your shipping company to obtain these documents)

Do I need to get a customs stamp?

No, you do not need to get a customs stamp on your receipt (from a customs office at the airport) if your goods were exported by a shipping company. The shipping company will provide the customs documents mentioned below, which you can use as proof that your goods were exported to a non-EU country. If you can provide these documents, you do not need to obtain a stamp on your receipts from customs:

  • 'EX-A' export document (please contact your shipping company to obtain these documents)
  • 'Confirmation of Exit' export document (please contact your shipping company to obtain these documents)

Do I still need to send my original receipts to your office?

No. If you submit a cargo request, you do not need to send us your original receipts and export documents in the post. The digital export documents received from the harbour customs office are sufficient to prove that your goods have been exported to a non-EU country.

For travellers

Am I eligible for a VAT refund?

You are eligible if you meet the NEMS-requirements:

  • N: you are a non-EU resident and purchase goods in the EU for personal use.

  • E: you export the goods to your home country within three months after the month of purchase.

  • M: you spend a minimum amount per shop, per day. Check the minimum purchase amounts per EU-country here.

  • S: you have recieved a Customs Stamp on your receipt, either at EU-Customs or at a customs office upon arrival in your home country, as proof that you have exported the goods.

Please note! Your purchase receipt must state the following information:
• NAC1 details of the shop aka seller
• NCP2 details of yourself as buyer
• Date of purchase
• Description of goods
• Total amount of VAT

1 = Name, Address, Country of Seller
2 = Name, Country of non-EU residency & Passport number

What if I am a EU citizen, but live outside of Europe?

If you are a European citizen but live outside of Europe for work, education or other reasons, you might be eligible for a VAT refund. You are eligible for a VAT refund if you can prove you live outiside of the EU by providing a copy of a visa or residence permit from a non-EU country.

Am I eligible for a VAT refund if I am an international Student or Expat living in the EU?

If you are an international student or Expat and staying in the EU for six months or less, you are also eligible for a VAT refund.

If you are staying in the EU for a period of six months or more, and you are planning to leave the European Union anytime soon, make sure to deregister from city hall. You will then receive a confirmation of your deregistration which you will need once you visit EU-Customs for a Customs stamp.

Please note You can only reclaim your VAT over purchases made in the last three months before leaving the EU.

What about military and/or Nato personnel?

If you are stationed at the Military bases Geilenkirchen, Brunssum or Mons/Bergen (SHAPE), you might be eligible to shop tax-free. Please see our FAQ for NATO personnel below.

For stores

What if my store has run out of tax free envelopes and forms?

If your store has run out of tax free envelopes and forms, you can order a new batch by calling us or sending us an email at support@vatfree.com. Please provide your store name and address. As soon as we have received your request we will send you a package in the post, or drop it off at your store.

I can't find a copy of my customers receipt in your invoice email?

In the invoice email we sent you, you can find a link to your personal store portal. In this store portal ('winkelomgeving' in Dutch) you will find two PDF files. One contains your invoice, and the other contains image scans of your customers original receipt(s). It is also possible that you see a lime green button which says 'create images PDF'. If you click this button, a PDF with the original receipt copies will be generated for you.

Can I join vatfree.com if I am affiliated with Global Blue, Premier Tax Free, Planet or Innova taxfree etc.?

Yes. We offer an inclusive service which means every merchant or shop is welcome to join. Offering our tax-free shopping service next to other refund partners will give your customers more choice as we are the fastest growing mobile option with the highest refund guaranteed to the most diverse traveler groups.

Why mobile? With airports requesting travelers to show up at least three hours before their flight, and safety procedures taking up a lot of time, most travelers have little time left to arrange getting a Customs validation stamp on their receipts. Standing in line at Customs may take up to half an hour or more. Being required to then stand in line at a desk for a cash refund, can increase the time of this entire process to an hour or more. Time is spare so we built the first ever tax-free shopping app in 2016, so travelers can finalize the refund claim once they find a spare moment, on the plane home or in the comfort of their own house.

Why diverse? We are the first and only tax-free shopping service founded by travelers, specifically for travelers, with a main focus on travelers' needs. Our service therefore ranges from helping a range of travelers from tourists, cruise passengers, military staff, expats and international students. We also are able to help travelers get back VAT over shopping made online, offline, cross border, over purchases charged with low as well as high VAT rates at shops that are either listed in our shopping guide as well as not listed and new to us.

Why the highest refund guaranteed? The most common feedback we get from travelers is that they feel uncomfortable being subjected to high fees for claiming back Value Added Tax they are entitled to. Especially after having to go through so much effort to arrange the refund. We get that. Regulation states that when exporting goods to a non-EU country, you do not have to pay VAT. For travelers to claim back the initial paid VAT, they have to stand in line at Customs, before flying back home, to get proof of the export. This can be quite stressfull, take up quite some time and in some occassions even lead to missing out if quees are long and you have to catch a plane. Once the stamp is collected, the only way to claim back VAT is to contact the shop. If the shop is unwilling to cooperate, charges high fees (with or without a tax-free partner) or just takes a long time to process it all, this leads to disappointment and a feeling of dispair. Traditional tax-free shopping companies charge fees varying from 35% to 50% of the VAT amount and are only an option if shops are affiliated. We decided to use today's technology to create an open platform for all shops to easily join, without necessary contracts, and to minimize costs in such a way that we can continue to offer the highest possible refund. Our service fee starts at €2,50 per receipt with a maximum of €80. With this we hope to have helped retailers and shops as well as we believe a happy customer is a customer for life.

Our mission is to help travelers easily shop tax-free at stores and brands that love them back.

We would love you to join us and list your shop(s) in our shopping guide free of charge: click here to join.

About Stores

How do I know wether a store will cooperate with refunding my VAT?

In our shopping guide you will find 55.000 stores that cooparate with refunding your VAT via vatfree.com. The colored logo's that mark the shops in our guide indicate wether a shop will cooperate or not.

What do the colored logo's in the shopping guide mean?

Partner store (magenta logo) This is a vatfree.com partner store. Refund is guaranteed

Pledger store (blue logo) This shop is cooperating on a regular basis, or has cooperated in the past, and has pledged to participate. Refund is very likely

New store This shop may or may not be willing to cooperate in refunding VAT. Some vatfree.com members may have already registered a receipt from this store and are waiting for their refund. When the shop decides to participate (or not), we will update this status. Cooperation status is unknown

Non-cooperative store (grey logo) This shop has indicated to us in the past that they do not wish to cooperate with VAT refunds via vatfree.com. This means that we can not process your VAT refund request for your receipt from this store. Please do not send us your original receipt from this store. You might need it to request a VAT refund from them directly or via another refund agency. Refund is very unlikely

What if a store is not listed in the shopping guide?

If the shop where you did your purchases is not listed in our shopping guide, this means that this store has never been approached for a VAT refund by vatfree.com before. You are most welcome to register your receipt from this store, however, a VAT refund is not guaranteed. We advise you to contact the shop first to determine wether they have a preferred VAT refund process in place. If not, please ask them wether they would be willing to cooperate with refunding your VAT via vatfree.com. If they confirm, please feel free to proceed with registering your receipt.

How do I register a receipt for a store that is not listed in the shopping guide?

If the shop where you did purchases, is not in our database yet, you can add this shop yourself. Currently, this is only possible via the website, and not yet via the app. On our website, adding a new shop can be done as follows:

  • On the tab 'My receipts' click the button 'Add new receipt'
  • Search for the name of the store. When no matches are found, you will see the message 'No shops match your query'. At the end of this message, there is a link 'add the shop information yourself'.>
  • If you click this link, you can add the shop and submit your receipt.

Can I get a VAT refund from any store?

Not all stores participate in refunding your VAT. Unfortunately, a retailer is not obligated by EU law to cooperate with VAT refunds. Even though you are in your right by EU law to reclaim the VAT, and a shop merely has to perform a small act, some shops choose not to be of service. To make sure you will be able to get a VAT refund, shop at stores that guarantee a VAT refund. These stores can be found in our tax-free shopping guide. We are building the largest and most transparent network of participating tax-free stores. Use our Online Tax-Free Shopping Guide or download our iOS App or Android App to view the participating list of stores. More than 55.000 stores are listed so you can instantly see if your favorite stores participate or find alternatives.

What if a store does not wish to cooperate with refunding my VAT?

Unfortunately, a retailer is not obligated by EU law to cooperate with VAT refunds. Even though you are in your right by EU law to reclaim the VAT, and a shop merely has to perform a small adminisrative act, a shop may choose not to be of service. If a shop chooses not to cooperate you can file a complaint by contacting their customer service, or through social media. Sometimes, stores will make an exception. If a store hears about the dissapointement from enough disserviced customers, they often choose to change their refund policy.

If a store decides to pay your VAT refund after this, you will still receive your VAT refund.

About the customs stamp

Where can I get a customs stamp?

You can get a customs stamp at a customs office at the airport. For information about where the customs office is located at your specific airport of departure, please contact the airport or ask an airport employee when you are checking in for your flight. Please make sure to arrive at the airport on time. You will need some extra time to visit the customs office to get your stamp, and be on time for your flight.

Where can I get a customs stamp at Schiphol airport?

The customs office at Schiphol airport is located in departure hall 3 and is open from 06:00 AM to 10:00 PM.

What if the customs office is closed?

Customs officers are usually present at the airport 24/7. It might be the case that the customs office is closed early in the morning or late at night. Often, you will be able to call customs by phone, 15 minutes in advance, after which a customs officer will come down to the office to stamp your receipts. Please contact the airport to determine which number to call if you think the customs office will be closed at your time of check-in.

To contact customs at Schiphol outside of opening hours you may call the following number: +31881583900. A customs officer will come down to the office to stamp you receipts. This service is available 24/7.

Why do I need a customs stamp?

A Customs validation stamp on your receipts proves you have exported the goods back to your home country. This is one of the four requirements to claim back VAT.

The other three (3) requirements are:

  1. that you get this customs validation stamp within three (3) months after the purchase date of your receipt
  2. that you live in a country outside the EU
  3. that the receipt meets the tax requirements and exceeds the minimum spent amount.

Customs will check all of these requirements before putting a stamp on your receipts.

What do I need to show the customs officer in order to get a customs stamp?

To get a customs validation stamp on your purchase receipts you will need to show/provide customs officers the following things:

  • your purchases (preferrably labeled and packaged
  • passport and airplane ticket before check-in
  • in case you have a EU-passport, you will need show a visa or residence permit for a non-EU country

After the Customs officer has checked your documents (he/she may require to see the goods), the officer will stamp and validate your purchase receipts for a VAT refund.

What if I was not able to get my receipts stamped?

Often, if you are not able to get your receipts stamped at your point of departure, it is still possible to get a ‘customs declaration stamp of import’ on your receipts at your point of arrival. These offices are mostly located in the baggage arrival hall before you leave the airport, where you would ‘declare’ your goods. Please ask the customs officer to stamp your receipts. If the stamp does not contain a date mark, please ask the customs officer to write the date by hand and provide his/her name and signature.

What if the customs officer refuses to stamp my receipts?

There are a few reasons why customs officers might not want to stamp your receipts. Not all customs officers are experienced and aware of the rules and regulations surrounding VAT refunds.

  1. It sometimes happens that a customs officer refuses to stamp a receipt if you do not have a tax free form. Please explain calmly that EU law does not state it is a rule to present a tax free from in order to get a customs stamp. Sometimes shops are not able to give their customer a tax free form. Either because they have run out of tax free form, or because they are not affiliated with a tax refund company. Many shops refund VAT directly without using an intermediary agency, but in order to refund the VAT to their customer, the receipt must be stamped by customs.

  2. It sometimes happens that a customs officer refuses to stamp a receipt if they do not recognize your tax free form. Please explain calmly that EU law does not specify that certain tax refund agencies should be used in order to get a VAT refund. This would be against free democratic and economic principles. The fact that the customs officers does not recognize your tax free form, is not an argument for rejection of your receipt. Especially since you are not obliged to present a tax free form in the first place.

  3. It sometimes happens that a customs officer refuses to stamp a receipt if your NCP (name, country, passport number) details are not specified on your receipt. To avoid rejection based on this reason, please write these details by hand on the back of your receipt.

If the customs officer still refuses to stamp your receipts based on this reason, please try to call the customer service line of the airport to explain, and ask if somebody is able to come down to help you. If this is not possible please try to get your receipts stamped at your point of arrival. If this is not possible, please file a complaint with the airport after your return, to see if they can ask the customs office to validate your receipts. Please send them a copy of your passport, a copy of your receipts, and a copy of your boardingpass/ticket.

Where can I get a customs stamp if I am leaving the EU by car?

If you leave the EU by car, you should be able to get a customs stamp at a customs office at the border crossing.

Where can I get a customs stamp if I am leaving the EU by train?

If you leave the EU by train, you should be able to get a customs stamp at a customs office at the train station. Please be aware that not all trainstations have a customs office. If you do not know wether the train station has a customs office, contact the trainstation customer service to ask this.

About online shopping

Can I request a VAT refund for online/webshop purchases?

Yes, you can request a VAT refund over good bought from European online shops. How you can do this depends on the place you get your online purchases delivered.

What if my online purchases were delivered to an address in Europe?

If your online purchases were delivered to an address in Europe, you will have to follow the same steps as if you bought the goods at a regular shop: request a proper receipt, visit Customs before leaving the EU and registering the stamped receipt via our app or website before sending them top our office in the post.

Please note Most EU webshops will provide the option to list a billing address and a delivery address during check-out from your shopping cart. If the option for a billing address is provided, please list your foreign billing address. The delivery address can be a European address. If the option for a billing address is not provided, please add your name and foreign address in a remark field or add it by hand on the printed invoice you take to customs.

What if my online purchases were delivered directly to my address outside of the EU?

If your purchaes were shipped directly to your home address by the online shop, you do not need to get a stamp from customs. You also do not need to send us your orignal receipt in the post. It is sufficient to provide a digital copy of your receipt and a copy of the Proof of Delivery (POD).

The POD is a digital document that is provided by the courier/postal service that was contracted by the online shop to deliver your goods. You can obtaind the POD in two ways:

  1. Use your tracking number and request the POD from the courier
  2. Ask the online shop to send you the POD they have received from the courier.

Can I request a VAT refund from a UK online shop?

No, you can not request a VAT refund from UK online shops. IN the UK, online purchases are not eligible for VAT refunds.

About NATO requests

What if I am stationed at Geilenkirchen?

If you are stationed at Geilenkirchen:

  1. Request a VAT and Excise Duty exemption certificate from your station;

    • Register for an account on the website www.vatfree.com or via the app
    • Under the account page, please make sure your 'account type' is set to the right NATO base; Geilenkirchen
    • Under the receipt page, register your receipt *
    • Thank you! Your receipt has been registered and we will proceed to invoice the shop for your VAT refund :)

(*) When registering your receipt under the receipt page, make sure to upload the copy/scan of your receipt AND VAT and Excise Duty exemption certificate

What if I am stationed at Brunssum?

  1. At moment of purchase, request for a Customs Tax Invoice. Please note only shops with a licence to sell to military staff are able to provide you with this type of invoice. Your station can provide you a list of shops licensed. Furthermore, only items with a minimum purchase amount of €46 (including VAT) can be listed on the CTI for a VAT refund.

  2. Visit the office at your military base to get a stamp on the Customs Tax Invoice for approval;

    • Register for an account on the website www.vatfree.com or via the app
    • Under the account page, please make sure your 'account type' is set to the right NATO base; Brunssum
    • Under the receipt page, register your receipt **
    • Thank you! Your receipt has been registered and we will proceed to invoice the shop for your VAT refund :)

() Please make sure to upload a copy of the front and back of your NATO ID () When registering your receipt under the receipt page, make sure to upload the copy/scan of your receipt AND Customs Tax Invoice

Do I need to send my original documents to your office?

No. If you are NATO personnel we do not require you to send your original receipts and customs documents to our office in the post. The digital copies of your documents, provided by you during the online registration of your receipt, are sufficient for us to process your VAT refund request.

About our Service

What is tax-free shopping?

Shopping tax-free is, in essence, claiming a VAT (value added tax) refund after you have paid the VAT in-store.

VAT is a consumer tax and varies between 17% and 27% in the EU. You are eligible for a VAT refund if you live outside the EU and export goods to your country of origin. A VAT refund is only possible over goods, not services. The VAT is included in the purchase price. You therefore pay it in the store and claim it back afterwards.

Where is your office located?

Our office is located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Do you have an office at Schiphol airport?

No, we do not currently have an office at Schiphol airport. We are working hard to regain an office and personal mailbox there again in the future.

If you wish to submit your receipts for a VAT refund from Schiphol airport, please deposit your envelope with original stamped receipts in the orange mailbox located across the hall from customs. This is a mailbox belonging to the Dutch national postal service. If (in departure hall 3) you deposit your envelope with receipts in this mailbox, your receipts will arrive at our office in safe and good order.

Do you have a personal mailbox at Schiphol (for submitting receipts)?

No, we do not currently have a personal mailbox at Schiphol airport. If you wish to submit your receipts for a VAT refund from Schiphol airport, please deposit your envelope with original stamped receipts in the orange mailbox located across the hall from customs. This is a mailbox belonging to the Dutch national postal service. If you deposit your envelope with receipts in this mailbox, your receipts will arrive at our office in safe and good order.

What is your address for postal mail?

If you have received a vatfree.com envelope from one of our partner stores, you do not need to write an address on this envelope, as it has already been printed on the front of this envelope.

If you did not receive a vatfree.com envelope from one of our partner stores you can write the below mentioned address on any blank envelope:

vatfree.com

att: Web

P.O. Box 37234

1030 AE Amsterdam

The Netherlands

What is your service fee?

We guarantee the highest refund in the market as our service fees are the lowest.

Our service fee is a fixed percentage of 30% of the total VAT amoun on your receipt, with a minimum fee of €2,50 and a maximum fee of €80,00 per receipt. Please note that this includes a free transfer of the refund to a SEPA bankaccount or an NGO as a donation.**

Please note: As per the beginning of October 2017, our new platform to submit your claims is live. Receipts are first registered via the vatfree.com app or website before sending them in via snail mail. The service fee changed from a scaled percantage over a maximum of 15 receipts to a fixed percentage per receipt with a minimum and a cap per receipt. In most cases this resulted in a higher refund for our frequent customers, therefore contributing to our mission to help travelers get the highest refund of VAT.

In case you send in receipts that have not first been registered via the vatfree.com app or website, an extra handling fee of €2,50 per receipt will be surcharged as of July 1st 2018.

Handling fees charged by competitor refund companies vary between 35% and 55% of your VAT, an extra cash fee of €3.50 or more per cheque/voucher at the airport and in some cases an extra conversion rate as well.

**If you wish the refund to be transfered to a visa or mastercard credit card, a supplement handling fee of €2 is charged per transaction. One transaction includes all outstanding refunds to be made (of multiple receipts).

What about import duties?

Each country has an import free threshold. This threshold varies per country. If your purchase amount exceeds this threshold, you will be required to declare your goods and pay import duties upon arrival in your country of destination. The thresholds of most countries can be found here.

Declaring goods is a responsibility each traveler has, wether the VAT is claimed back or not. Once you leave the EU, it is up to Customs in your home country to check if travelers declare their goods.

In the Netherlands you are allowed to import new goods with a total purchase amount of € 430,00 or less per person, duty free. This means that if the total value of goods exceed € 430,00, import duties will be charged by Customs upon arrival (and after you declare the goods). Import duties differ per country.

How do you handle my data?

Your personal data sent to vatfree.com is treated as confidential in accordance with the EU General Data Protection regulation. Under EU law, personal data can only be gathered legally under strict conditions, for a legitimate purpose. Furthermore, persons or organisations which collect and manage your personal information must protect it from misuse and must respect certain rights of the data owners which are guaranteed by EU law. Furthermore, vatfree.com will only communicate with you via SSL, to your registered email. More about how we manage your privacy and data can be read here: vatfree.com and GDPR

About your account

I can't upload any documents to my app. What now?

It could be the case that you need to update your app. If the app is not updated, not all features will work the way they are supposed to. Please update your app by finding updates in the app store.

I forgot my password. What now?

If you are unable to access your account, you can reset your password. You can do so in the following manner:

  • Go to the login page via the website or app
  • Click the white/grey button (towards the bottom of the login page) 'Click here to reset your password'
  • Fill in the email address you used to create an account
  • Click the button 'Send password reset code'
  • You will now be directed to a page where you can enter your 'Reset code'. IMPORTANT: Please leave this page open.
  • Open your email inbox, and find our email which contains your reset code.
  • Copy the reset code, and past it in the field 'Reset code (sent by email)' on the page from the steps before.
  • Enter a password of your choice in the fields 'Password' and 'Repeat password'
  • Click the button 'Reset password'

You should now be able to log in using your email address and your new password when logging in to our website or via the app.

Why am I required to provide a copy of my passport?

Could not find your question or an answer in our FAQ? Please use the form below and we will reply to you by email as soon as possible. We strive to answer all your questions within 72 hours:

Name *
Name