Rome Airport Tax Refund
Claiming Tax Refunds At Rome Airport And In The City
If you live outside of the European Union (EU) and are planning a visit to Rome to do some shopping at its famous fashion boutiques and other stores, you’ll be able to claim back part of the tax on whatever item you buy. In particular because you don’t live in the EU you are not subject to what’s known as a value added tax (VAT) and it’s this amount you can claim back.
The precise percentage of tax refund that you’ll be able to claim on the goods that you buy will vary depending on what kind of product it is, and there are some exempt items.
You also need to consider your options on whether to claim the refund at the time you are shopping in downtown Rome, or whether you process the claim at the airport. Choosing the first option can be time-consuming and not ideal if your main goal is exploring as much of the city as possible. But if you don’t want any additional tasks at the airport beyond boarding your flight home, you might not want to choose the second option because it involves extra work.
Check out the useful guide below for some important facts on the size and scope of the VAT refund you might be eligible for, and tips on claiming refunds in the city and at the airport.
So long as you’re not an EU resident then you are eligible for refunds.
Please note that you cannot use or otherwise consume the goods that you buy until you have left the EU, so for example don’t wear clothes for which you’ve claimed a refund.
Because of this rule, you can’t claim refunds on car rentals or for purchasing fuel.
And although you can claim refunds on prescription glasses, certain books, and some food items, you’ll find that you will be given a lower refund rate than other products.
Generally, the rate of VAT refunds in Italy is from 11.6 percent through to 15.5 percent of the full purchase price. You must spend at least €154.95 to be eligible for refunds, and the following refund rates will apply depending on exactly how much you spend:
€1,700 or less: refund of 11.6 percent to 13.2 percent
€1,700 to €3,000: refund of 13.2 percent to 14.1 percent
€3,000 to €5,000: refund of 14 percent
€5,000 to €8,000: refund of 15 percent
€8,000 or more: refund of 15.5 percent
Although the 15.5 percent refund rates is among the highest within the EU’s member counties, the €154.95 minimal spending requirement also ranks near the top of such thresholds in the EU.
Claiming Refunds In Rome
One option is to claim VAT refunds at the time of purchase while you’re shopping in Rome. There are three main tax refund processing companies that non-EU tourists use in Italy: Premier Tax Free, Tax Refund For Tourists, and Global Blue.
Not every shop offers tax refunds so be sure to look in the window to see if they have a sign indicating their do offer refunds, or if you’re unsure ask one of the staff members.
One option for claiming refunds is to do so while you’re still in Rome, and to do this you need to find one of the offices of the three main refund companies. If you visit one of these companies they will ask for your tax refund forms from your various purchases and your credit card’s details, and they can usually apply the refund to the card on a provisional basis. However, you will still need to get a customs stamp on your tax refund form once at the airport for your flight home. You will need to send this stamped form to the tax refund processing company within roughly 15 to 25 days of the purchase in order to prove that you got your refund. If you fail to do so, you may have an extra fee charged to your card by the processing company.
Claiming Refunds At The Airport
If you’d rather process your VAT refund claim at Rome-Fiumicino International Airport “Leonardo da Vinci” when heading home after your holiday, this is also an option.
The simplest option is to put the tax refund items in your checked bags. When you arrive at the airport and check in for your return flight, tell the agent checking you in that your checked bags. So long as all the purchases were made in Italy and the VAT refund form was issued by Premier Tax Free, Tax Refund For Tourists, or Global Blue you will then be told to proceed to the airport’s tax refund kiosk where the refunds will be processed and paid out to you.
However, if you’re only traveling with hand luggage that you intend to carry on to the flight with you then the procedure is slightly different. In this instance you will check in for your flight and then proceed through the security check. Once you have cleared security are in either Terminal 1 or Terminal 3 waiting for your flight you should proceed to the customs area, which will be designated by signs to lead you to it. Customs officials will inspect your tax refund forms, goods purchased, passport, and flight boarding pass before approving the refund with a stamp. Take this stamped form to the office for cash refunds nearby to receive your payout.
It’s important to note that if you are flying to another EU country after you leave Italy you cannot claim your VAT refund until your final destination in the EU. For example, if you are flying out of Italy but going on to spend a few days in EU member country France before flying to your non-EU member home country, you would claim the refunds at the airport in France.
Another factor to consider is that the checking of your bags by custom officials can be somewhat time-consuming, so if you have a tight connection you might want to consider against pursuing this option and instead claim your refund while shopping in Rome.