If you travel to Europe and you not a resident of a Europen Union Country, you are entitled to a Value Added Tax refund on your purchases in Spain. You can save a 21% off the price of the items you purchased on your holiday in Spain if the total bill exceeds €90.15.

If you thought that prices in Spain are cheap wait to have a 21% off  on top that you can get with the tax refund. Note though that you will not get back the full 21% because for every transaction processed they charge an administrative fee. Don't be disappointed by that since you still get a good percentage off your purchases.

The items need to go back with you to your country and the tax refund is not applicable to restaurants or hotel bills since they are not considered exportable.

When an European citizen buys any goods in the EU, there is an automatic tax called VAT that is invisible to the customer since it is included in the total price of the item. The items in Spain have a VAT that ranges from 4% to a 21%.

How to ask for your tax refund?

Approximately 90% of shops have signed up with the Tax-Free Shopping Service. The service is designed to be an easy transaction to claim back the VAT tax you pay on the items you purchase in Spain. If you don't see the sign in the door that display the tax-free shopping logo, ask in the shop, sometimes they don't display the sign but they have the refund service.

In every purchase that you get the tax refund, they will give you a cheque that you will take with you to the airport, you should collect those cheques and bring them with you to the airport to claim the tax.

You must purchase more than €90.15 in the shop, you don't need to buy goods for this amount in one single shop, you can combine your receipts to make this amount with different purchases.

I believe, that you must leave the EU within 21 days after your purchase

When you get to the airport you must present the tax refund cheques at customs before you check in your bags, and they might ask you to see the items before they stamp your cheques to validate them. With your cheques validated you can go to any change bureau and receive the cash back in the currency of your choice.

What is the procedure to get VAT?

  1. You buy something in a shop and request the VAT refund form. If you buy different things, collect all the refund forms.
  2. Before you leave the EU, go to the airport counter with your VAT refund forms. You might be asked to show the good physically so do not drop off your luggage before getting the refund.
  3. You can choose to get your VAT in cash or via a credit card on your name. For every transaction processed, they will charge you around 3 euros.
  4. Make sure you have your passport with you when claiming your tax refund. They will need a form of identification.

Make sure you follow the process step by step, if you don't have the refund form from the shop you won't be able to get your refund.

They say that the goods must be new apparently, since the office might ask you to see your purchased goods, it is better if you leave them with the tags on so they are not used. If you are not sure, I would stay in the side of caution.