Retail export scheme

When can the certification of exports occur outside of the State?

This section explains when the goods exported under the retail export scheme can be certified by:

  • Customs at the final point of departure from the European Union (EU)
  • or
  • officials in the tourist's or traveller's country of residence.

Certification by Customs at the final point of departure from the EU

A tourist or traveller may have goods certified at their final point of departure from the EU rather than the Member State in which the purchase was made. This is particularly relevant to persons on a multi-stop trip in the EU. The certifying Customs Officer must be satisfied that the tourist or traveller has complied with the conditions of the retail export scheme. This is necessary before a refund of Value-Added Tax (VAT) is allowed.

It is important to note that procedures may vary between EU Member States. A tourist or traveller may intend to have the goods certified in another EU Member State. If so, the tourist or traveller should check the requirements of that Customs administration regarding the tourist or traveller VAT refund scheme.

Certification by officials in the tourist's or traveller’s country of residence

In certain circumstances a tourist or traveller may be unable to get certification of export from Customs on leaving the State. In such cases, the tourist or traveller may still obtain a refund. In order to obtain a refund, a person of similar standing in their own country can certify that the goods have been transported to that country. This facility, however, is not available in respect of refunds of VAT on high value goods. See section 'On what purchases can you reclaim VAT?' for information on high value goods.

Such persons include a:

  • Customs official
  • law-enforcement officer
  • Notary Public
  • Commissioner for Oaths.

The tourist or traveller should return this certification together with the receipt or voucher to their VAT refund agent or Irish retailer.

A refund agent or retailer requires prior agreement from their Revenue office to accept certification from the tourist's or traveller's country of residence as proof of export.