LivingTravelVAT refunds for visitors to Amsterdam

VAT refunds for visitors to Amsterdam

At the end of 2012, the Netherlands increased the standard VAT rate from 19% to a substantial 21%. VAT is the acronym for value added tax, a consumption tax on the value added to an item at each step of its manufacture and distribution (as opposed to sales tax, which applies only to the eventual sale of an item ). Leaving aside the technical details, VAT means an additional cost for consumers; However, non-EU residents are entitled to a VAT refund under certain circumstances, refunds that most tourists simply leave unclaimed due to the numerous steps involved.

Don’t be one of them: follow these instructions to claim your money with a VAT refund.

Rules for Refunds

Buyers must spend a minimum of 50 euros for each receipt in which they wish to request a refund. Smaller purchases from multiple retailers cannot be combined to meet this minimum. The retailer must participate in the VAT refund initiative; note that not all stores do. Those who do will generally post an indication on the door, window, or box; otherwise be sure to ask every time you spend more than 50 euros at any retailer. (50 euros is the minimum purchase amount in the Netherlands; the amount varies for other EU countries). Requests for VAT reimbursement must be submitted within three months from the date of purchase.

How to claim a refund: Step 1

The first step is that (1) request for a tax-free application form or a special receipt that you purchase tax-free from the merchant. The latter must mention his name, country of residence and passport number in addition to the details of the purchase (description of the item, price and VAT); This can be printed or handwritten. If you receive a tax-free form instead, be sure to fill it out at the store. Without the special form or receipt, the refund cannot be processed. Make sure you have your passport handy, as you may be asked to present it at the time of purchase.

Step 2

The second step takes place on the day of your departure from the EU or return to your country of residence. If the Netherlands is your last (or only) destination in the EU, this step will be completed at the Dutch border, and if you leave the country via Schiphol airport, you are in luck, as all the facilities required to apply for a refund VAT is under this ceiling.

(2) Visitors should have their duty-free forms plus receipts (or special duty-free receipts) stamped at the Dutch customs office. There are two customs offices in Schiphol, both at Departures 3: one before passport control and one after passport control. You must present the necessary tax-free forms and receipts, as well as unused purchase items, your travel ticket, and proof of residence outside the EU. (Note: If you skip this step, your documents may also be stamped duty-free by your national customs office as proof of import.)

Step 3

The last step varies depending on whether or not the retailer processes your VAT refunds independently or in cooperation with third-party refund services and what service you use. Various refund services are stationed at Schiphol Airport to help travelers complete the refund process.

If you receive a tax-free refund form that is specific to a particular service, your next course of action is to (3) mail your documents to the refund service or (if applicable) send them to one of the service’s refund locations. . All refund services at Schiphol Airport offer instant refunds (cash or credit), a definite incentive to complete the refund process before take-off as applicants have to wait 30-40 days. The Global Blue service has three locations in Schiphol (Departures 3, Lounge 2 and Lounge 3), while the GWK Travelex in Schiphol Plaza is the reimbursement location for Easy Tax-Free and Premier Tax-Free services.

If the retailer processes its own VAT refunds, you can send the stamped documents to the retailer, either from Schiphol or your home country, and await your refund. This can be quite inconvenient if multiple retailers are involved, but with the correct documentation, visitors can request a third-party service to help, namely For a fee, you can enter your sales receipts online, then mail them to the postal address, or send the receipts to the service desk (Outputs 2) or to your handy mailbox next to the customs office.

That’s! While there are many variables (and a good number of documents to collect), ultimately, there are only three steps to getting up to a 21% refund on your purchases.

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