1

EU VAT is so expensive averaging about 20%. However, there is a huge barrier to refund the tax.

Take Portugal as an example, the minimum amount required is EUR 61.35 (23% VAT) from a single store! How the heck is possible to buy so much stuff from a single point in the trip?! Even buying souvenirs all the way in my trip getting EUR 100 is ineligible!

This kind is barrier is certainly detrimental to shopping tourism such that I normally refrain from shopping in my trips. It would be great if I can get tax refund even on an EUR 5 purchase, then I can buy a lot of "cheap groceries" to fill up my luggage allowance just before I leave the country and claim tax back.

What's the purpose of setting up VAT refund scheme if the barrier of entry is SO HIGH?

closed as off-topic by David Richerby, Giorgio, Jim MacKenzie, choster, blackbird May 17 '18 at 12:27

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    This may be specific to Portugal, in the Netherlands there was no such restriction, neither in the Czech Republic. – Burhan Khalid Apr 16 '18 at 10:32
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because "why is the law the way it is?" is a question about politics, not travel. – David Richerby May 15 '18 at 17:17
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's more of a rant than a question. – Giorgio May 15 '18 at 17:17
7

According to the VAT Refund EU Guide https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/individuals/travelling/travellers-leaving-eu/guide-vat-refund-visitors-eu_en the limit is set to avoid administrative burdens over small-value items.

  • OMG, the union-wide limit is EUR 175! If it is really so high than the refund facility would be plain useless because I can't even think of a way to buy to EUR 175 in a single store reasonably except buying luxury items. – Michael Tsang Apr 16 '18 at 9:02
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    @Michael Tsang Depending what you mean by ‘cheap groceries’ and where you’re travelling from/to, you’d probably find you are not allowed to import them anyway. – Traveller Apr 16 '18 at 9:37
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    @michaeltsang exactly that: luxury items. As Traveller said, this is not intended for smaller value items. You or I may not routinely buy €1000 jewellery pieces, but some people do. – user16259 Apr 16 '18 at 10:16
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    Note that the limits are for the payment (the Portuguese bill must total 61.35€ or more) and not for a VAT amount of 61.35€. The VAT on a 61.35€ purchase is only 11.47€ and considering the amount of work required to process a VAT refund application, it is not unreasonable that there is such a limit. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Apr 16 '18 at 13:56

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