Shop and Save Money When Traveling to Europe
While shopping in countries of the European Union, Americans and Canadians can save a lot of money as they can shop tax-free.
Americans, Canadians and other Non European nationals who travel to Europe as tourists are entitled to recover taxes paid on purchased goods if these buyers export their purchases obtained in stores that offer tax-free shopping to tourists from outside the European Union. This tax-free status will not apply, however, to goods that are shipped or sent by courier. Only purchases bought at an approved retailer outlet and transported home in their own luggage will qualify for this treatment.
Tax Free Shopping in Germany
Before tourists enter a store, they should look for the “Tax Free” logo at the entrance. If there is no such logo, they should confirm with the shop staff or at the information counter that the store provides tax-free shopping. Non European shoppers should request the store for a refund cheque when paying for their purchases. In doing so, these customers might be required to show their passport to demonstrate that they do not reside in the European Union. Tourists should be aware that, unlike in America, taxes are not shown separately on the price tag in Germany but are included in the price. The VAT in Germany is 19 per cent.
How Will Tax Refunds Be Made?
Tourists may present their stamped refund cheque, passport and credit card at one of the Global Refund Offices that are normally located in airport terminals. There, travelers will receive the refund immediately either in cash or on their credit cards. Alternatively, the Global Refund Office may transmit the refunded tax to the traveler’s bank or to his or her home address via a bank cheque.
The Global Refund Offices at the airports described below accept cheques issued in any European Union country. If, for example, American business travelers or tourists travel and shop within the European Union and leave Europe to return to America from a German airport, they may display their receipts and the tax free cheques to customs officials and have their cheques stamped before leaving Europe.
Global Refund Offices at German Airports
- Frankfurt am Main Airport
Refund Offices are located at Terminal 1, Hall B. Level 2 (landside). Hours of operation are Monday through Sunday, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Another Refund Office is situated at the transit, after passport control (same terminal, hall and level). Hours of operation are Monday through Sunday, 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
- Berlin Tegel Airport
The Refund Office is located in the Service Center at Terminal A. Hours of operation are Monday through Sunday, 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
- Global Refund at the KaDeWe in Berlin
The largest department store in Europe, KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westens – Department Store of the West), located at Tauentzienstrasse 21-24 in Berlin has its own Global Refund Office. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
München (Munich) Airport
The Refund Office is located at Terminal 1, departure B, level 4. Hours of operation are Monday through Sunday, 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
The Refund Office is located at Terminal 2 – Departure. Hours of operation are Monday through Sunday, 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The Refund Office is located at Terminal A. Hours of operation are: Monday through Sunday 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.