Vatfree.com
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.

How can I find my AliPay ID? / Can I get a VAT refund from any store? /

Unfortunately not all stores participate in refunding your VAT. Stores are not obligated by EU law to cooperate with refunding your VAT. They may also choose to pay the VAT to the government during their periodic statements. Even though you are in your right by EU law to reclaim the VAT, and a store merely has to perform a small act, some stores choose not to be of service.

To make sure you will be able to get a VAT refund, shop at stores that guarantee a refund. These stores can be found in our tax-free shopping guide. Also available in our app for iOS and Android.

More than 55.000 stores are listed which means there is enough choice to ensure you can shop tax-free in the neighbourhood or online.

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. 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.

What if I am stationed at Brunssum? /

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.

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


(*) 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

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 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 at customs-guidelines-for-travel.

Declaring goods is a responsibility each traveler has, whether 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 exceeds € 430,00, import duties will be charged by Customs upon arrival (and after you declare the goods). Import duties differ per country.

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 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 administrative act, a shop may choose not to be of service.

If a store chooses not to cooperate with refunding your vat via vatfree.com you can file a complaint by contacting their customer service, or through social media. Sometimes stores will make an exception after you have contacted them directly. If a store hears about the disappointment from enough customers, they often choose to change their refund policy. 

Please check to see if a store cooperates in our shopping guide, before you send your original receipts to our office in the post. If you have sent us original receipts from an uncooperative store, and it turns out the store does not wish to cooperate, we can not return your receipt to you or forward them to these stores, competitors or other claiming parties. 

See also the page 'What to do if a shop does not cooperate'

Am I eligible for a VAT refund? / You are eligible if you meet the NEMS-requirements:

Please note!
Your purchase receipt must state the following information: