With travel plans and border queues being a major sticking point as a result of the referendum leading to the British leaving the EU, the VAT refund is a welcome sign that Brexit has paid off, according to the Spanish language news website, Preferente.com. By visiting the relevant counters at European Airports, British holidaymakers can now reclaim VAT on a host of goods, from clothing and jewellery to make-up and cosmetics.
The bonus refund of up to 21 percent can also be claimed on some foods and beverages, making the notion of duty-free shopping a reality for tourists and holidaymakers alike.
The scheme, which has been in place since January, appears hidden knowledge to many members of the British public.
Figures show that only 10 percent of British travellers know about the scheme, compared to well over 50 percent of Americans and Asians who travel to the continent.
Some shops, such as El Corte Ingles have been actively promoting the scheme, spreading the word about the feature in an attempt to attract more shoppers to their stores.
Other companies have taken to using technology in order to raise awareness, with an app that help get the discount, which apply in any other European country.
Spain for example has no minimum spend for their tax-free purchases, but Brits will need to carry their passports while shopping and validate their tax-free forms at the airport to get the refund.
The tax return can be paid in cash at the airport or returned to a bank card.
So what do you need to know?
According to the instructions set out by the Spanish VAT return system, the process is simple.
If you are not a resident of the European Union, you’ll be pleased to know you can claim a refund of the VAT (Value Added Tax) you paid on purchases in Spain which you are taking back to your country.
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What do you need?
You simply need to fill in the Tax-Free form in the shops where you buy your purchases. Then, get the form validated at Customs within 3 months of the purchase date.
The electronic VAT refund procedure (DIVA) makes the validating process quicker and easier. You just have to ask the shops offering this service to provide you with the DIVA form, and validate it directly at the automatic terminals installed in Spain’s main ports and airports.
There are two ways to reclaim VAT after getting the form validated at Customs:
Through the Tax-Free management body located where you are departing (a fee will be charged). The refund will be in euros, in cash, to your credit card, by cheque, or by bank transfer.
Directly through the shop where you made the purchases. They will refund the entire amount within 15 days by cheque, bank transfer, or to your credit card.
Also, remember that if your next destination is another country in the European Union, you will not be able to reclaim VAT in Spain, but in the last airport before leaving the EU.