How to claim tax refund in Paris

Before heading off to Paris or returning from Paris check to see if you are eligible to get a Detaxe (VAT) refund. While this may not amount to anything spectacular, it can reduce the pain that can sometimes be associated with making costly purchases. Claiming a tax refund in Paris is definitely feasible and while it can take a little bit of work, it will be worth your time in the long run.

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The steps for claiming are pretty straightforward to follow. First of all, check to see if you are eligible for the refund. It is only intended for residents living outside of the EU who are visiting for less than 6 months and are over 15 years of age. Second, you need to make a purchase at least £136 all in one store. This may seem like a lot, but if you are shopping in a group it is a great idea to put all the group's purchases on one receipt.

Third, make sure to ask for the Retail Export form "Borderau de Detaxe" before leaving a store you spend more than £136 in. This is extremely important. Even though it may take a bit of time it is worth it and it will be much easier to get the form at the time rather than trying to backtrack and do it later. You most likely will need to talk to a store representative who will stamp your form after looking at the receipts.

Once you are ready to return home, make sure you pack correctly by placing your goods that you are claiming near the top of your carry-on luggage. Customs officers may ask to see and inspect the items so make it easy for them and for yourself to save some unnecessary stress. It is important to note though that anything you post home does not qualify for the tax refund. All items must be present with the receipt at the time of inspection.

While at the airport make sure you have the correct documents stamped before leaving the EU. Follow the Detaxe sign and have your passport, ticket and your forms ready. Here they should endorse your copies, which you will then need to post so make sure to keep a copy for yourself but mail the original form as they will not accept copies.

If for some reason you could not do this while in Paris but you want to claim a tax refund once you are home, it is a bit more time consuming and frustrating, but it can still be done. You will need to get a form from the French Consulate and then bring your passport, plane ticket, receipts and retail export form with you for an appointment. Research all the steps that need to be done to make this as fluid a process as possible.

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