How and when do you get a VAT refund on the export of goods?

When you leave the European Union (EU), you can apply for a VAT refund for goods purchased in the EU.

  • Can I apply for a VAT refund on the export of goods?

    Only travellers having their place of residence outside the European Union can apply for a VAT refund.

  • For which goods can I apply for a VAT refund on the export of goods?

    The goods concerned must be intended for personal use, taken by you, as a traveller, in your personal luggage. This means that those goods may not have any commercial or professional purpose.

    Also, the total value of the goods must exceed 125 Euro (including VAT) per invoice. This minimum amount is applicable in Belgium.

  • When should I apply for a VAT refund on the export of goods?

    The VAT refund is exclusively permitted for goods exported at the latest at the end of the third month following the month in which they were purchased and acquired.

    For example: on 15 January (invoice date), you purchase a watch. You wish to apply for a VAT refund for this watch. In this case, you must apply for a refund and have it exported no later than 30 April.

  • How do I apply for a VAT refund on export of goods at the airport?

    A. You leave the European Union directly via the airport

    There are two options:

    1. You transport the goods in your hold luggage.

    Before checking in your luggage, present yourself at the Customs office in the departure hall.

    There, you must show:

    • your passport or identity card

    • your air ticket or your boarding pass

    • the invoice or the Tax Free Form

    • the goods for which you apply for a VAT refund

    Subsequently, you must store the goods in your luggage and check this luggage in immediately.

    2. You transport the goods in  your hand luggage.

    Take your goods in your hand luggage through the security check and passport control.

    Subsequently, take your hand luggage to the nearest Customs office.

    Once there, show the documents and goods as described in point 1 (‘You transport the goods in your hold luggage’). Customs will stamp your invoice or Tax Free Form for export purposes.

    Beware!

    If you fly to Norway, Iceland or Switzerland, you must present yourself with your hold luggage and hand luggage at the Customs office in the departure hall before checking this luggage in.

    There, you must show:

    • your passport or identity card

    • your air ticket or your boarding pass

    • the invoice or the Tax Free Form

    • the goods for which you apply for a VAT refund

      Customs will stamp your invoice or Tax Free Form for export purposes.

    B. You fly from the airport of departure to a country outside the European Union but you have an intermediate stop in the EU (transit flight), for instance Belgium-Paris-New-York

    There are two options:

    1. You transport the goods in your hold luggage.

    In this case, the check-in of the goods must take place in Brussels, Belgium. Follow the procedure described in A1.

    2. You transport the goods in your hand luggage.

    In order to obtain a VAT refund for the goods in your hand luggage, you must go to the local Customs office in the transit airport where you will leave the EU (in this case: Paris).

  • How will the VAT on export of goods eventually be refunded?

    In order to obtain the VAT refund, you must:

    • return the invoice (stamped by Customs) to your supplier who will refund the VAT to you, or

    • take the Tax Free Form to a specialized company (for instance in the airport of departure) which will immediately refund the VAT on the spot but will charge you for this.

  • More information about the refund of VAT on export?

    Tel: 0032 257 893 30 (every day between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.)

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