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When a non-EU citizen leaves EU, they can buy items duty free in airport shops. Many items are significant cheaper than shops (even taking into account of the VAT you can claim).

My question is: if you are a EU citizen, leaving the EU for holiday, can you buy things at duty-free price?

I am in the UK, but I am interested in the answer for this generally.

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    This might differ between countries. I usually leave from Schiphol, Amsterdam airport, and there are only one set of prices, all people with a valid bording pass (or acceptable ticket for some airlines) are allowed to buy those items for the displayed prices. (Which are not much lower, if any, than those in the shops in the cities.) – Willeke Sep 10 '17 at 15:03
  • @Willeke that's because at Schiphol the 21% VAT that's not charged to people leaving the Schengen area is added right back on in extra profits :) – jwenting Sep 11 '17 at 11:00
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According to the EU itself you are.

Tax and duty free sales Travellers holding a valid ticket for a destination outside the EU (and certain areas within the EU, such as the Canary Islands ) can buy goods free of duty and tax in so-called "tax-free shops" in airports and ports. There are no limits as to the quantity or value of the goods that can be purchased duty and tax free. Travellers should however bear in mind that the importation of these goods in the country of destination will be subject to duty and tax allowances, similar to those applying to travellers that enter the EU from a non Member State.

https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/individuals/travelling/travellers-leaving-eu_en

Note though its caveat that the country you are travelling to may have its own rules.

  • I like how that page massively hints at, but doesn't outright say, that you should really declare any duty free goods you are bringing back into the EU, even if bought in the EU... so if you buy a laptop for personal use in duty free, you should declare it when returning to the EU and pay the duty then. – Moo Sep 10 '17 at 16:01
  • @Moo yes... I was wondering the same thing. In practice, I think many people do not. Anyhow, I was asking this because I wanted to bring family outside EU some gifts, it is nice to know that I can pay less. – Lost1 Sep 10 '17 at 16:39

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