How it works
Tax Free shopping is an opportunity to purchase great things in Rome without paying Value Added Tax (VAT). Thus, if your home country is outside the EU (European Union) and you are making a purchase that exceeds 155 Euro; don't forget to ask a shop assistant for a Tax Free cheque. This will give you the possibility to reclaim 15% of the total price of your purchases on your way home. Almost all shops in the city centre take part in one of the VAT refund systems, but if you decide to have a walk in a less central area check for the Tax Free signs on shop windows.
To get the refund, you need to get an export validation stamp on your Tax Free cheques at the Customs office, showing the goods purchased. If you’re traveling by plane you can put refund-eligible goods either in the luggage that you’ll check-in or in the hand luggage.
• Checked–in luggage: 1) Get your boarding pass first without checking in the bag with the tax free goods 2) have your Tax Free cheque stamped in the lounge, and 3) go back to the front of the check-in queue and check in the bag with the tax-free goods.
• Hand luggage: 1) Check in normally 2) get the Tax Free cheque stamped after passport control.
In both cases allow time for the line. You can get the refund in cash or have it transferred onto your credit card in one of the VAT refund offices. There are several companies that specialise in Tax Free refunds, the biggest being Global Refund and Premier Tax Free. They both have offices at the airport and in some partner banks abroad. Check tax-refund company websites to understand the best way of getting your money back.
Don’t forget that all of the goods listed in your Cheque need to be shown at Customs, so don’t put them too far down in your luggage. Also, all Tax Free buys have to be new, so don’t take off any labels or tags. If you travel in company we suggest collective shopping, this way you will easily reach the 155 Euro sum necessary for a Tax Free refund.
Thanks for the money-saving tips, Stephen! To start a conversation with Stephen on shopping in Rome – or dining, sightseeing and all around exploring – visit him here: Stephen’s private tours of Rome.