Retail export scheme

On what purchases can you reclaim VAT?

You can reclaim Value-Added Tax (VAT) on purchases of goods that come within the definition of “travellers qualifying goods”.

These are goods, supplied to the tourist or traveller within the State for private use, which are exported outside the EU by or on behalf of the tourist or traveller in his or her personal luggage.

Each supply of goods, on which VAT is being reclaimed, must however:

  • have a total export voucher value of not less than €75,
  • and
  • be exported by, or on behalf of, that tourist or traveller by the last day of the third month following the month the supply occurs. 

Goods for the equipping, fuelling and provisioning of pleasure boats, private aircraft or other means of transport for private use are excluded from the scheme.

Special procedures for high value goods 

For individual goods costing €2,000 or more (including VAT), each good must be presented to a Customs Officer, with the related export voucher, so that the voucher can be certified. This is necessary before any VAT refund will be processed.

Export vouchers for high value goods, left in the drop-box, or handed to refund agents, will not be subsequently stamped by Customs. Tourists or travellers who wish to obtain VAT refunds on these goods, should allow enough time, following check-in, to attend the Customs desk with the goods.

Note

Where vouchers for such goods are not stamped by Customs, it will not be possible for the retailer or refund agent to process your refund.

In the case of transit passengers departing the EU via another airport within 24 hours, Irish Customs will stamp the export vouchers for goods valued at €2,000 or more (including VAT). In all other instances involving high value goods, certification of the export voucher will take place at the point of departure from the EU.

Can I reclaim VAT on the purchase of services?

The retail export scheme only covers goods. Services, such as hotel accommodation, car-hire or restaurant meals are not within the scheme.

What is the ‘VAT Off’ refund scheme?

Certain retailers or refund agents have been authorised by Revenue to operate a ‘VAT Off’ scheme. This allows you to receive the goods free of VAT at the point of purchase. The operation of the scheme is subject to certain requirements and conditions as advised to you by the individual retailer. It is the mutual responsibility of the retailer, the refund agent and the tourist or traveller to ensure that the full requirements and conditions are met.

Next: How do retailers operate the scheme?