Are you claiming your 18% tax-back on your shopping in Spain? If not, then take these 3 steps to have the tax amount refunded back in cash or sent to your payment card.
Many of us living in Gibraltar forget or are unaware, that we can claim back the 21% VAT (Value Added Tax), amounting to effective 18%, off the the prices of items you buy in Spain.
In the bigger shopping centers like Carrefour, you can have your refund claim dealt with in-store by the customer service desk. In smaller individual shops you’ll find that the refund program is administrated by a third-party company where you’ll have to mail your receipts; but hang on, don’t be put off because it’s not difficult at all.
Fact: The tax refund service is available to you, if you are a permanent resident in Gibraltar since Gibraltar is exempted from the Common Customs Tariff
Step 1: GET IT
So how does it work you ask? When you shop for the single purchase amount of minimum €90.15, then your purchase becomes eligible for a tax refund. One purchase amount can be accumulated by multiple items i.e. you don’t need to buy one single item of minimum €90.15.
When paying for your articles, ask the person at the till where you can claim the tax refund. They will make sure you get the necessary receipts from your purchase and they can point you to the right service desk ( if they administer the tax refund service in-store).
The service desk will ask to see your passport together with the receipts. After you have signed a tax refund form you are good to go.
Step 2: STAMP IT
Now you must have the form and receipts stamped by the Spanish Customs Office (while you are in possession of your unpacked purchases). The Customs Office is located on your right hand side roughly 25 meters before you cross the Spanish border to Gibraltar (it’s the small building after the car park).
Step 3: ENCASH IT
With the stamped form and receipts you can now have your refund amount paid out next time you visit the same shop. Simply show your stamped form and receipt at the service desk and they’ll pay you back the refund in cash. Simple!
Tax refund from smaller shops
Smaller shops often have the tax refund service managed by a third-party company e.g. Global Blue. If the shop has it’s refund service managed by Global Blue then the shop staff will hand you a blue and a white form together with a prepaid envelope.
You can fill in the forms when back home but again before crossing the border, you must have the receipts stamped at the Custom Office; once done you can mail the envelopes from Gibraltar to Global Blue in order to receive your tax refund.
The processing time depends on your chosen payment method. Choose to have the refund amount transferred back to your credit card for the quickest settlement.
Things to remember: For refund requests handled by Global Blue, the refund amount you’ll receive is the VAT minus Global Blue’s handling fee.
Goods are broadly categorized in two: things you intend to take back to your country and things you don’t/can’t. The things you don’t/can’t are stuff like restaurant and hotel bills and are therefore not qualified for a tax-refund.