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  #21  
Old 15.08.2008, 12:28
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Re: Tax Free Shopping (EU returning to Switzerland)

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Does anyone know what's the minimum amount on which refunds can be claimed? I heard it's 150 euros.. is it so?
Any restrictions on the type of items that are eligible for refund?
Depends how you process your refund claim:
  • Go back to the merchant. You can claim any small sum, even 1 Euro.
  • Use an agent (e.g. "Global Refund"). Not economical for them to process small claims. Each agency has their own business model, e.g. minimum fee, minimum amount, annual fee (for company customers), etc.
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  #22  
Old 15.08.2008, 12:29
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Re: Tax Free Shopping (EU returning to Switzerland)

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I bought PS3 from Argos just before flying back home to Switzerland. Had I known that I could have gotten the VAT back I would have asked for one of those forms. Is it too late now?
Customs officer, at port of departure, must certify export. Impossible to retroactively get their stamp on the export document.
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  #23  
Old 15.08.2008, 15:21
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Re: Tax Free Shopping (EU returning to Switzerland)

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Does anyone know what's the minimum amount on which refunds can be claimed? I heard it's 150 euros.. is it so?
Any restrictions on the type of items that are eligible for refund?
This depends on the system used by the shop and maybe the country?
In the big department stores in Paris (Printemps and Lafayette) was the limit 170 Euro spent during one day. In Barcelona I think I believe the limits were lower, somewhere around a 100 Euro?

Since the sales tax is usually between 10 and 20 percent (In France it was for example 12), you need to have a certain minimum before it makes sense to transfer it to your credit card... so everything less than 100 Euro shopping would definitely not be worth the hassle to wait in a long line at the shop for stamps and then at the airport again... I am not one of the big earners here but I do not wait an hour during my anyway too short weekend trips for ten Euro... But if you plan a bigger purchase anyway, the tax free shopping could make it "cheaper" to spend a nice weekend trip abroad... ok, not really unless you buy a load, but it is nice thinking
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  #24  
Old 16.08.2008, 14:31
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Re: Tax Free Shopping (EU returning to Switzerland)

I have a question I hope someone can help me with:
last week I went to Paris and got an expensive pair of shoes, I have the receipt with the exact amount for the shoes and the VAT, on the credit card receipt it says that I can get 55,20 euros back (exactly 12%). I came back on the TGV and there was no passport control or anything at the border! can anyone please tell me how I can get the 55,20 back?
I hope someone can help

thanks
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  #25  
Old 16.08.2008, 18:27
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Re: Tax Free Shopping (EU returning to Switzerland)

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I have a question I hope someone can help me with:
last week I went to Paris and got an expensive pair of shoes, I have the receipt with the exact amount for the shoes and the VAT, on the credit card receipt it says that I can get 55,20 euros back (exactly 12%). I came back on the TGV and there was no passport control or anything at the border! can anyone please tell me how I can get the 55,20 back?
I hope someone can help

thanks
Almost impossible to reclaim retrospectively. You need the stamp of the French customs officer certifying that the goods were exported.

The train just buzzes through. To ensure getting the export certified, you must disembark at the border station on the French side and seek the French customs officer, who is not always there! Then walk over into Switzerland, pay the Swiss VAT and catch another train.

Small consolation for you: you did not pay Swiss VAT of 7.6%. So your "loss" is only 4.4%.

This problem will magnify after Switzerland is fully integrated into the Schengen accord. Only very few crossings will be fully staffed.
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  #26  
Old 17.08.2008, 16:07
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Re: Tax Free Shopping (EU returning to Switzerland)

bummer... Anyway thank you for answering my question! Its seems like more of a hassle than a gain!
thanks again
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  #27  
Old 10.09.2008, 01:20
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Re: Tax Free Shopping (EU returning to Switzerland)

Is it possible to reclaim VAT if the shop only issued a standard receipt, without forms?

I am in currently in the EU, just spent 500 euro in one shop but they didn't have the 'tax free' service, and didn't know how to make a 'tax invoice'... Will be returning to CH later this week.

It's probably impossible to reclaim now, but I'd be glad to hear if anyone knows a way to do it....
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  #28  
Old 10.09.2008, 10:33
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Re: Tax Free Shopping (EU returning to Switzerland)

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Is it possible to reclaim VAT if the shop only issued a standard receipt, without forms?

I am in currently in the EU, just spent 500 euro in one shop but they didn't have the 'tax free' service, and didn't know how to make a 'tax invoice'... Will be returning to CH later this week.

It's probably impossible to reclaim now, but I'd be glad to hear if anyone knows a way to do it....
No VAT form = No frontier export stamp = No VAT refund

Smaller shops avoid the VAT administrative hassles and do not have the refund claim forms.
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  #29  
Old 09.10.2008, 15:47
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Re: Tax Free Shopping (EU returning to Switzerland)

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Depends how you process your refund claim:
  • Go back to the merchant. You can claim any small sum, even 1 Euro.
  • Use an agent (e.g. "Global Refund"). Not economical for them to process small claims. Each agency has their own business model, e.g. minimum fee, minimum amount, annual fee (for company customers), etc.
Thanks for your reply. Somehow I wasn't notified earlier that my query was answered by someone. I just landed again on this question to find an answer of my question.

Anyways, I would like to purchase a media player outside of switzerland. If I buy in France, I don't have problem to go back to the shop and claim. But I don't exactly the 2 procedures - direct and by agent.

Most of times I have seen shops showing stickers of Tax free shopping with Global refund, i thought it's only possible with them. Correct me if I am wrong - I buy a commodity in France and pay the full price. They fill in the VAT form. I go with that form to French customs at border (if i m travelling by car) and get it signed. Then I go back to the shop with that form and they refund or I send it to an agent like global refund?

Thanks...
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  #30  
Old 09.10.2008, 19:08
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Re: Tax Free Shopping (EU returning to Switzerland)

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Thanks for your reply. Somehow I wasn't notified earlier that my query was answered by someone. I just landed again on this question to find an answer of my question.

Anyways, I would like to purchase a media player outside of switzerland. If I buy in France, I don't have problem to go back to the shop and claim. But I don't exactly the 2 procedures - direct and by agent.

Most of times I have seen shops showing stickers of Tax free shopping with Global refund, i thought it's only possible with them. Correct me if I am wrong - I buy a commodity in France and pay the full price. They fill in the VAT form. I go with that form to French customs at border (if i m travelling by car) and get it signed. Then I go back to the shop with that form and they refund or I send it to an agent like global refund?

Thanks...
The crucial step is to get the export form stamped and signed by the customs officer of the country of purchase. Then you must pay the Swiss VAT if any (depends on value of purchase).

I have never used Global Refund. They have offices at Geneva airport and Nyon. You could phone them and discover whether you can submit your form and get your VAT refund in Switzerland.

Global Refund certainly charge you a fee. So it may be better for you to revisit the merchant, if you are traveling that way.
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  #31  
Old 09.10.2008, 19:51
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Re: Tax Free Shopping (EU returning to Switzerland)

In theory, yes that is how it works if the shop is not part of Global Refund or equivalent. However, many shops have no clue about this so often you have to explain it to them _and_ to their accountant. If it is a larger purchase it may be worth it though. Or for larger purchases you go to the larger department stores that usually have their own process and charge lower fees than Global Refund. El Corte Ingles in Spain works very well for example.


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Correct me if I am wrong - I buy a commodity in France and pay the full price. They fill in the VAT form. I go with that form to French customs at border (if i m travelling by car) and get it signed. Then I go back to the shop with that form and they refund or I send it to an agent like global refund?

Thanks...
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  #32  
Old 10.10.2008, 08:55
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Re: Tax Free Shopping (EU returning to Switzerland)

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Thanks for your reply. Somehow I wasn't notified earlier that my query was answered by someone. I just landed again on this question to find an answer of my question.

Anyways, I would like to purchase a media player outside of switzerland. If I buy in France, I don't have problem to go back to the shop and claim. But I don't exactly the 2 procedures - direct and by agent.

Most of times I have seen shops showing stickers of Tax free shopping with Global refund, i thought it's only possible with them. Correct me if I am wrong - I buy a commodity in France and pay the full price. They fill in the VAT form. I go with that form to French customs at border (if i m travelling by car) and get it signed. Then I go back to the shop with that form and they refund or I send it to an agent like global refund?

Thanks...
Is it really worth all the export hassle? You can get good deals here on the Internet or from discounters. And with Schengen soon implemented, border posts may not be manned and you cannot get the export proof.
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  #33  
Old 10.10.2008, 10:31
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Re: Tax Free Shopping (EU returning to Switzerland)

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Is it really worth all the export hassle? You can get good deals here on the Internet or from discounters. And with Schengen soon implemented, border posts may not be manned and you cannot get the export proof.
We recently bought a sliding and folding door. The door costs CHF 3800 in Switzerland and as it is partially tailor made you cannot buy it over the internet at a discount. Said same door was bought in Germany on the border of the Rhine for 1100 Euros. The border crossing was only manned on the German side so I got my German VAT back thats 200 Euros and didn't pay any Swiss... Worth it? I guess so...
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  #34  
Old 10.10.2008, 10:44
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Re: Tax Free Shopping (EU returning to Switzerland)

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Is it really worth all the export hassle? You can get good deals here on the Internet or from discounters. And with Schengen soon implemented, border posts may not be manned and you cannot get the export proof.
I am one step ahead. Buying on internet is cheaper, so is it possible to buy on internet in EU state and somehow collect from them if it's nearby and then get back the VAT. You double the economy - savings for buying on internet + VAT return. Yes it's much hassle and you have to be completely sure of what you are buying, how to collect etc.. I am just talking in theory ;-)
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  #35  
Old 10.10.2008, 10:58
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Re: Tax Free Shopping (EU returning to Switzerland)

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We recently bought a sliding and folding door. The door costs CHF 3800 in Switzerland and as it is partially tailor made you cannot buy it over the internet at a discount. Said same door was bought in Germany on the border of the Rhine for 1100 Euros. The border crossing was only manned on the German side so I got my German VAT back thats 200 Euros and didn't pay any Swiss... Worth it? I guess so...
Yes you can order big ticket furniture items from vendors across the border. Many are willing to deliver to your home in Switzerland and do all the VAT processing.
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  #36  
Old 10.10.2008, 12:02
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Re: Tax Free Shopping (EU returning to Switzerland)

Actually, if an EU internet company (or any mail order) is charging you their local VAT from inside the EU they're wrong. If they're shipping to an address outside of the EU, no VAT is charged.
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  #37  
Old 10.10.2008, 12:15
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Re: Tax Free Shopping (EU returning to Switzerland)

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Actually, if an EU internet company (or any mail order) is charging you their local VAT from inside the EU they're wrong. If they're shipping to an address outside of the EU, no VAT is charged.
Actually it is no VAT is chargeable it can of course still be charged just they don't have to pay it.

It is a common issue and one I am partially party to . If you are dealing with multiple goods some of which are subject to VAT and others which are not then it becomes difficult to match the VAT all of the time. Of course if the customer points this out then no-VAT can legally be charged so I would suggest that you actually do do that. Otherwise the company actually makes an additional 15-25% profit!!!
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  #38  
Old 23.10.2008, 18:11
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Re: Tax Free Shopping (EU returning to Switzerland)

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Actually, if an EU internet company (or any mail order) is charging you their local VAT from inside the EU they're wrong. If they're shipping to an address outside of the EU, no VAT is charged.
Do you know any of such EU internet company/website?
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  #39  
Old 27.04.2015, 18:57
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Re: Tax Free Shopping (EU returning to Switzerland)

Useful topic, my experience:

I tried to apply for tax free refund on my way to Switzerland from Prague airport.

Firstly, I should note that Prague airport is very tax free friendly for passengers. We easily received refund for my wife's checks (her flight was to non-EU country) even before passport control zone, in terminal 1 (non-EU flights terminal).

Actually, I should have added my checks to her and receive refund in that terminal, but I have already filled in "papers" with my Switzerland address details, so I went to my terminal 2 (EU flights terminal).

There, taking into account that I was in a hurry, I forgot to find tax free point before passport control zone and it was late to return, so next attempt was to receive refund in Frankfurt airport (my flight to Switzerland was via Frankfurt).

But after landing, I realized that there is no tax free refund point in EU flights area in Frankfurt airport.

So, my first attempt to claim refund was a disaster

P.S. By the way, any updates regarding chances to receive refund with L-permit?
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  #40  
Old 27.04.2015, 21:50
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Re: Tax Free Shopping (EU returning to Switzerland)

L permit officially not possible but some people get away with it.
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