Italy Shopping Tax Refund

How to Obtain a Refund on Value Added Tax Paid on Merchandise

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Note The following guidelines come from our own experience and are ONLY guidelines , not legal advice. We are not lawyers but personal shoppers. All information on this site is believed to be accurate, and we strive to correct errors and keep our information up-to-date. Please notify us if you believe any information to be incorrect or out-of-date. However, we disclaim liability for any errors or omissions, and we will not be held responsible for any direct, indirect, or consequential damages resulting from anyone's reliance on or use of the information on this web site.

Italy, like most other European countries, imposes a value added tax (VAT or IVA) on most goods and services purchased in the country. In Italy, the value added tax is known as the Imposta sul Valore Aggiunto or IVA. This tax is normally included or built into the price of most goods and services. The general rate of tax is about 16% to 20% of the sale price.

Every non-EU citizen is entitled to a reimbursement of the VAT (IVA) tax when they purchased personal goods for more than Euro 180 in a single shop at once. The number and the type of goods is not binding. There are procedures to follow in order to get this reimbursement and they initially include receiving a special tax refund receipt (bill of entry) which should be kept together with the goods purchased. Ensure that the retailer stamps this bill of entry for validity puporses.

Tax Free Italy Stores

If a store has a "Euro Tax Free" sign on its window or door this means that the store participates in the "Tax Free Italy" program. When making a purchase at such a store, present your passport at the cash register and ask the store clerk to issue you a "Tax Free Shopping Cheque" together with a receipt for the goods. The store will charge you tax at the time of sale. However, the Tax Free Shopping Cheque will indicate the amount of VAT (IVA) refund that you are eligible to subsequently claim.

Non-EU travellers can claim for the reimbursement either at the Italian customs office or at the last EU Customs before their final destination outside EEC. Keep the goods bought ready together with the appropriate bill of entry for inspection by the cuctoms officer(s). Customs normally inspect the relevant merchandise before stamping the Tax Refund Forms: (a) therefore, if the relevant goods are contained in your unaccompanied baggage to be checked-in for a non-European destination, you should get the Customs receipt/inspection before check-in; (b) If the relevant merchandise is contained in your accompanied baggage, it is also possible to get the Customs receipt after passport control, upon inspection of the relevant goods contained in your hand carried baggage.

Then, you can obtain refund of the taxes of all the Tax Refund Forms stamped by Customs: (a) in cash, by addressing an ETS desk in the airport (beware to address the right one!); or (b) receiving by mail the tax equivalent amounts in Tax-free Shopping Cheques ; or (c) by transfers to your credit card account. A word to the wise about I.V.A. rebates: allow plenty of time at the airport to process your claim!

Other Stores:

If you are purchasing goods in a store that does not participate in the "Tax-Free Italy" program, ask the store to issue you a special invoice known as a "fattura", which must be made out to you and which must include the phrase "Esente IVA ai sensi della legge 38 quarter". The fattura should also indicate with the amount of VAT ( IVA) included in the purchase price. The fattura and the goods must be presented to the Customs Office on your departure from Italy to be stamped. You must then mail the stamped fattura back to the store within 90 days from the purchase date. The store will then send you the IVA refund by return mail to whatever address you wish. And hope that the store will do this...

* Note this is by law possible but I do not know if it is time worth while.

Direct Shipped Merchandise:

If you request a store to ship merchandise directly to your address in your home country, your purchase is exempt of VAT (IVA) . In particular, the store will not charge you any tax at the point of purchase and will issue you a "Tax-Free Receipt", rather than a "Tax Free Shopping Cheque". **

** Note : Also this is by law possible but I do not know if all the stores will be willing to do this.

***. For more information visit Italian tax refund website.



Saturday, July 16TH, 2011 by Guest

The Tax Free Program in Italy is a Tourist Trap. Be aware. You have to show articules in the original packages with the corresponding receipt. Do you picture yourselft in the security area with your new shoes, your shirts, etc.? and if you want to,  you will find a non cooperative employee. You have been warned.

Thursday, July 21TH, 2011 by Guest

Thanks for the post. I found has offices in downtown Milan for refund. Is this official, or just some agency provide service with a fee? Thanks.

Sunday, July 24TH, 2011 by Guest

Last month we went to Italy and shopped of course!. We ended up with 9 "Tax Free" refunds to be processed. Stamping of receipts at Venice airport was easy, we simply dropped off all completed forms in the regular postal box at the terminal and so far we have received 8 out of 9 refunds via our credit card. This is better and quicker than we were anticipating! Of course after all the fees, exchange rates both to buy and to obtain only end up with 11-12% of purchase price refunded, not the actual 20% VAT. (important to consider at the time of purchase, if thats a big buying point for you)

Friday, August 19TH, 2011 by Guest

I live in Canada. Made a purchase in Italy. Can you tell me where I have to send a receipt for money return, thanks.

Friday, October 07TH, 2011 by Guest

I'm from Malaysia, may I know if I buy prada in Milan, the tax refund is how many percent?

Sunday, October 16TH, 2011 by Guest

only one merchant offered a stamped receipt.  This had to be taken to 2 special customs offices at the airport.  They indicated there was no other rebates available even though I had the duplicate receipts for all purchases.  They did not explain why I was given these duplicate receipts.  Is there a way to claim anything now that I am at home in the US? 

Wednesday, October 26TH, 2011 by Guest

I buy everything from Italy and showed in original condition at the airport (like in every other european country )and never had a problem. Its the same in France . You must show the goods and get the paper stamped. Its the rule . If you want refund back follow the rule no matter how much you have purchased. If its too much trouble to show them the goods than dont do it but dont complain. There has been too many fradulent incidents and I cant blame them for wanting to check that you ctually remove goods from Europe

Wednesday, March 21TH, 2012 by Guest

I am a British Citizen, living in HongKong for the past 6+ years. I'll be visiting Italy and I am wondering if I am eligible of TAX return from my shopping? I know that it states non- EU citizen... however, if I am no longer a residence would it make any difference for my status?

Friday, March 23TH, 2012 by Guest

I live in Australia and have travelled to Italy twice. The first time I claimed my tax refund at the airport and got my money.
Last year, I came back in August I was told to claim from Australia. I completed and sent off my paperwork and have not heard a thing. Does anyone know who I can speak to about this?
I kept a copy of everything - thank God.

Sunday, June 17TH, 2012 by Guest

I'm an international student studying in the UK and have a UK student visa. Will I be able to get tax refund in Italy?