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Old 03.01.2020, 12:51
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Italian VAT refund

Dear all,

Who has experience claiming back VAT directly from Italian shops, i.e. not via an intermediary like global blue?

My wife and I recently went shopping in Italy, asked for tax free forms at the shop, and declared our goods at the Italian-Swiss border train station. We paid the import taxes to the Swiss border control.

The only thing left is to get a refund of the Italian VAT, preferably without global blue as they take a large cut of the refund.

One of the Italian merchants said I should contact the Italian ministry of finance, but elsewhere (https://www.englishforum.ch/finance-...obal-blue.html) I read that contacting the merchant's HQ should suffice.

All input very welcome, especially if you can tell me if you got your VAT back from the company or from the Italian government.

Many thanks,

Paul
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Old 03.01.2020, 13:27
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Re: Italian VAT refund

When I've bought tax free overseas, the merchant has refunded the VAT to my credit card, when they received the stamped export form.

It is usually the merchants who repay the money, as they are the ones who have made an export sale.

Italy is of course a law unto itself...
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Old 03.01.2020, 14:03
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Re: Italian VAT refund

Normally, you take the forms back to the shop where you bought the stuff and they give you the VAT, though sometimes they trust you to mail the forms back and don't charge the VAT in the first place.

I've also had it that they kept the VAT (in cash) in an envelope (the rest was paid by CC), and handed me the envelope when I returned the documents.

Lastly, VAT refund is not a right, and they can refuse to do it for any reason.

Also, there is a minimum purchase of EUR 150 (without VAT) or so.

Tom
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Old 04.01.2020, 17:19
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Re: Italian VAT refund

Thanks both - one shop has come back to me and they are happy to reimburse as long as I send them the required documents. I will push my luck again with the shop that initially referred me to the Italian ministry of finance - don't want to get lost in that labyrinth...
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Old 04.01.2020, 21:15
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Re: Italian VAT refund

Most of the shops where I make my purchases, automatically fill in the Global Blue Tax Refund form. By using this company, for a VAT of 24% (Greece), you get back just 10%, which means they pocket more than half the refund. On top of that,you have to pay 3 Euros per form to get the money in cash, otherwise you risk not being reimbursed.
The advantage is that you do not need to go back to the shop you made the purchase. But if going back to the shop is not an issue, is there a way to get a simple form to fill in and get the stamp and then go back to the shop and claim back the full 24%?
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Old 04.01.2020, 22:18
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Re: Italian VAT refund

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But if going back to the shop is not an issue, is there a way to get a simple form to fill in and get the stamp and then go back to the shop and claim back the full 24%?
You have to ask the shop if they are o.k. with that method, if not you are out of options.
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Old 05.01.2020, 11:49
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Re: Italian VAT refund

@DarkOrion - Global Blue's significant cut of the total VAT return is exactly why I went straight to the merchant's HQ instead. For a nice "walk-through" of how to do this, see https://www.englishforum.ch/finance-...obal-blue.html.

I am in the process of claiming back VAT using these instructions, so cannot say much about its effectiveness yet, but if it works with the largest invoices, it already brought home more money than having all receipts handled by Global Blue.
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Old 05.01.2020, 11:53
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Re: Italian VAT refund

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is there a way to get a simple form to fill in and get the stamp and then go back to the shop and claim back the full 24%?
You can't get 24% back, you would get 19.4% back (1/1.24)

Tom
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Old 05.01.2020, 16:14
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Re: Italian VAT refund

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You can't get 24% back, you would get 19.4% back (1/1.24)

Tom
In his defence: It is very obvious that he refers to the VAT when saying "the full 24%" even so since he mentions 24% VAT in the same post.
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Old 09.01.2020, 21:32
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Re: Italian VAT refund

Update - several shops have indicated that since 2018 (i.e. after the posting of the guide I linked to earlier), they only accept VAT refund requests via the GlobalBlue services. I'm still negotiating with the shops, but caveat emptor - you risk paying Swiss import taxes without getting the (full) hoped-for refund.
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Old 10.01.2020, 00:48
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Re: Italian VAT refund

Quote:

In his defence: It is very obvious that he refers to the VAT when saying "the full 24%" even so since he mentions 24% VAT in the same post.
Yes, exactly. I am referring to the full VAT amount, not the 24% of the final price. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Quote:

you risk paying Swiss import taxes without getting the (full) hoped-for refund.
So basically, after Global Blue Fees you get 10% back, but then you have to pay 7.7% VAT tax in Switzerland. The net amount is 2.3%. For a purchase of 1240 EUR (1000 EUR + 24% VAT), this would mean that you get back 23 EUR. Is it really worth it?
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Old 10.01.2020, 01:21
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Re: Italian VAT refund

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So basically, after Global Blue Fees you get 10% back, but then you have to pay 7.7% VAT tax in Switzerland. The net amount is 2.3%. For a purchase of 1240 EUR (1000 EUR + 24% VAT), this would mean that you get back 23 EUR. Is it really worth it?
Depends on the price of the item in Switzerland
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Old 10.01.2020, 01:45
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Re: Italian VAT refund

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Depends on the price of the item in Switzerland
What do you mean? How is the price of the item in Switzerland related to this? Does the Swiss Tax apply on the swiss price? Or you mean that if the item is very expensive, it makes sense to buy it abroad?
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Old 10.01.2020, 08:57
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Re: Italian VAT refund

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What do you mean? How is the price of the item in Switzerland related to this? Does the Swiss Tax apply on the swiss price? Or you mean that if the item is very expensive, it makes sense to buy it abroad?
You only pay Swiss VAT if the item is more expensive than 300,- CHF (excl. VAT), so if something would cost would cost 350,- Euro (incl.), you get back 66,- Euro. And perhaps that same item would cost 450,- Euro In Switzerland giving you an advantage of 166,- Euro.

And the item from your example which costs 1.240,- Euro might for example cost 1.600,- here giving you a total saving of 383,-

Paying Vat on import, and getting a VAT refund on export are completely separated issues. On your item the Swiss VAT has to be paid anyway, so getting the stamp and send in the form gives a saving 100,- on just that form I'd say that is quickly earned.

So it would be silly to only look at VAT and not take the Swiss price along in the calculation on how much one saves.
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Old 10.01.2020, 10:13
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Re: Italian VAT refund

Global blue have cornered the market and how ?


They pay a kick-back to the retailer as an"adminsitration fee" which is why their costs are so high as they are shared between retailer and Gobal Blue
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Old 10.01.2020, 10:51
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Re: Italian VAT refund

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So basically, after Global Blue Fees you get 10% back, but then you have to pay 7.7% VAT tax in Switzerland. The net amount is 2.3%. For a purchase of 1240 EUR (1000 EUR + 24% VAT), this would mean that you get back 23 EUR. Is it really worth it?
You have to pay the 7.7% in any case.

Tom
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Old 10.01.2020, 11:04
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Re: Italian VAT refund

Not every store will give you the money back directly, some of them prefer Global Blue (I assume they also get a commission).


Moreover, since September 2018, the invoice for tax free sales needs to be filed electronically (no more paper invoice + custom stamp). Many stores preferred to switch to Global Blue instead of learning the new system (especially if they don't have a lot of foreign customers).


Good news is that there are some competitors for Global Blue now, maybe the commissions will get a bit lower in the future.
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Old 10.01.2020, 11:29
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Re: Italian VAT refund

Thanks for all the replies.

All 5 shops I went to for a VAT refund are screaming and kicking, saying it is not possible, I should use global blue, etc. For those who plan to claim the full amount of VAT, beware that it will take quite some effort to get what is rightfully yours...
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Old 10.01.2020, 11:31
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Re: Italian VAT refund

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Good news is that there are some competitors for Global Blue now, maybe the commissions will get a bit lower in the future.
They can't really compete with how much they give us back since we are not the customers and we cannot choose, they can compete however with how much they pay the store, since after all the store is their customer and they decide, I would not be surprised if it even would be more expensive in future.
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Old 10.01.2020, 11:49
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Re: Italian VAT refund

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All 5 shops I went to for a VAT refund are screaming and kicking, saying it is not possible, I should use global blue, etc. For those who plan to claim the full amount of VAT, beware that it will take quite some effort to get what is rightfully yours...
It's not rightfully yours, the shops are NOT obliged to refund it.

Tom
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