Tax refund (VAT)
As a non-resident of the European Union, a visitor to France is entitled to claim a tax
refund (value added tax or VAT) for eligible goods he takes home.
In order to enjoy the tax refund, you must comply with a very strict procedure it is very
important that you get your Tax Refund Form stamped by European Union Customs before you
leave the European Union. It is also highly recommended that you arrive early at the airport or
the train station to complete the procedure peacefully and do not miss your flight or train.
- You must be a non-resident of the European Union. Your passport will attest of your country of
- You must be over the age of 15 at the time of purchase of the goods.
- You must have remained in France six months or less over the past 12 months at the time of your
- Purchases must total more than 175.00 Euros made on the same day in the same store.
- Goods have to be exported within 3 months plus the month of purchase and refund form must be
returned within 6 months of purchase.
The vendor will give the Retail Export Forms after the purchase of items in their store (3 page form). The purchased goods and the Tax Refund Form must be produced in the European country of final transfer before you leave the European Union.
Before checking-in your luggage, present the Tax Refund Form together with your purchases, receipts, passport and transportation ticket.
There are 2 ways to get your refund:
at the Customs Office of the airport,
or thanks to the interactive PABLO terminal as seen below:
IMPORTANT: Starting January 1st, 2014, it is mandatory to use the PABLO terminal.
To have a look at the brochure on PABLO and VAT refund, click on the following document:
- PABLO VAT refund (in English)
- (PDF - 1.1 Mb)
When leaving a country or the European Union, the Tax Refund Form must be validated by European Union Customs within three months of the purchase, at either the airport, train station or border point. The purchased goods and the Tax Refund Form must be produced in the European country of final transfer before you leave the European Union.
Before checking-in your luggage, present :
- the items purchased (with price tags attached),
- the proof of residence abroad (if you are a French Citizen a valid Consular Registration Card must be presented),
- and the Retail Export Form(s) which the Customs Officer will stamp, and must be mailed from the port of exit from the European Union.
Please note that the person who made the purchases must be present when the Tax Refund Form is issued.
If for reasons attributable to the Customs service your form could not be stamped by Customs upon your departure from the European Union, you may request the retroactive certification of the form in exceptional circumstances.
However, the process is time-consuming, and may turn out to be more expensive than the amount of tax refund that you are claiming. This procedure does not guarantee a refund.
You have to address, within 6 months after the date of purchase of your goods (non commercial), a request for a tax refund to the Customs office of the place where you left France (you can find the addresses of the main regional customs services on the following document).
- Coordonnées des principales directions régionales des douanes
- (PDF - 292.1 kb)
This request must be supported by the following documents:
1. A letter with exhaustive explanations of the reasons why you were not able to get your form stamped when leaving France (travellers’ carelessness or oversight can absolutely not be taken into consideration i.e late arrival at the airport, forgetting to show the items)
2. A proof of export of the goods. This proof consists of either a receipt issued by the customs authorities in your country stating that all applicable duties and taxes have been paid, or by having an accredited authority in the French embassy or consulate issue a certificate or stamp box C2 of the VAT refund form.
In order to get this document, you must come to the Consulate with an appointment with ALL the goods you bought (with price tags attached) and your passport.
There is a fee of $30 dollars, payable in cash or by debit/credit card (visa or mastercard).
3. A copy of your passport
4. A copy of your travel ticket stubs (plane ticket, boarding pass or train ticket)
5. The Retail Export Form(s) and envelope(s).
You must submit your request within six months of the purchase date to the Regional Customs Directorate whose jurisdiction includes your point of departure from the European Union.
If you make purchases in France but leave the European Union from another Member State, requests for regularization should be sent to:
Direction régionale des douanes de Paris
30 rue Raoul Wallenberg