Planning a shopping trip to Italy? Use our Italy VAT refund calculator to estimate your savings on designer bags, shoes, or souvenirs, as you’ll be paying VAT (Value-Added Tax) on your purchases.
Did you know you can get a refund on some of that tax-free shopping if you’re not a European Union citizen? High-end stores usually assist with the process, but knowing how it works is good.
And that’s where our Italy VAT Refund Calculator comes in handy! Use it to figure out how much you could get back, and then read on to discover how the whole Italy tax refund process works.
Italy VAT Refund Calculator
How to Use the Calculator: Enter the amount spent in EUR without commas, and click “Calculate your refund” to see how much you could get back. Example: 245.68 or 3453.50.
Note: The specific calculations for Italy’s tax-free refunds might differ depending on the company you choose to deal with. As such, the numbers provided on this page should be regarded as estimations.
What is the Italy VAT Tax?
In Italy, you’ll often come across a sales tax referred to as VAT (Value Added Tax) or “IVA” (Imposta sul Valore Aggiunto) in Italian. This consumption tax applies to most goods and services you’ll buy.
Are you a non-EU resident? You might qualify for a VAT refund on eligible vat-free purchases made during your trip. Seek out shops that display signs like “Tax-Free Shopping” or “Global Blue.”
These stores are part of the VAT refund scheme, and they can assist you in claiming your refund at the point of sale.
Related Reading: Top 10 Shopping Destinations in Italy: Your Shopping Guide, from Luxury Fashion to Artisanal Crafts.
Understanding How Italy VAT Tax Works
Italy’s standard VAT rate stands at 22%. As a visitor, you can expect to receive a refund between 13% and 15% of the amount you spend on applicable tax-free purchases with this standard rate, provided that your minimum purchase amount for those tax-free purchases is 154.95 EUR.
Products Subject to Lower VAT Rates
- Prescription Glasses
Items for Which VAT Refunds Do Not Apply
Good to Know
- Italy’s VAT rate is higher than the average among EU member states, potentially leading to a more substantial refund for tourists.
- Italy has one of the more stringent minimum spending requirements to qualify for a VAT refund.
Related Reading: Easy Italian Size to US and UK Conversion Tool
How Are Tax-Free Refunds Calculated in Italy?
Calculating your tax-free refund in Italy might seem complicated, but we’re here to help you understand the process.
Essentially, to calculate your refund, you need to be aware of two main factors:
- The VAT Rate in Italy: Italy currently applies a standard 22% VAT rate to most products.
- The VAT Status of the Product You Purchased: Certain products may have a lower or different VAT rate.
Italy Tax-Free Refund Example
Suppose you make a purchase of 750 EUR. With a 22% VAT rate, 135.25 EUR of that amount is actually a tax. Theoretically, you should get a tax-free refund of 135.25 EUR (18% of your purchase). However, you won’t be able to recover this entire VAT amount fully.
Why is That?
You must work with an intermediary refund company to obtain your tax-free refund in Italy. Commonly used agents include Planet Payment and Global Blue, but other local companies may handle smaller transactions.
The commission these intermediary companies charge will affect your final refund. They usually deduct a percentage from your total refund, which may decrease as the price of the products you buy increases.
As such, the numbers provided on this page should be regarded as estimations. That’s why our calculator uses those percentages to give you an idea of your potential Italy VAT refund. As we said earlier, you can expect to receive a refund between 13% and 15% of your spending as a visitor.
How to Get the Italy VAT Tax-Free Refund
A VAT refund in Italy can save money on purchases and enhance your shopping experience. It’s a straightforward process, and here’s a comprehensive guide to walk you through it.
1. Choose Stores That Offer Tax-Free Shopping
- Seek out stores displaying “Tax-Free Shopping” or “Global Blue” signs, as these stores participate in the VAT refund scheme.
- Large global brands usually have tax-free agreements. If unsure, ask if a VAT refund is possible upon entering the store.
2. Complete the Required Tax-Free Form at the Store
- Inform the salesperson that you’re a foreign visitor and wish to claim a VAT refund. They will provide you with a Tax-Free Form (also known as a VAT refund form).
- Fill out the refund forms with your personal details, and ensure the information is accurate.
3. Get Your Form Verified by Customs at the Airport in Italy
- Before leaving Italy, look for the Customs office at the international airport or border crossing to have your tax refund documents validated.
- Present your purchases, the Tax-Free Form, and your passport to the Customs officer for validation. They may ask to see the items, so keep them easily accessible.
- It’s wise to arrive at the airport at least an hour earlier than usual, as getting a Custom stamp may take some time.
4. VAT Refund Options
Some airports and shopping centers have VAT refund desks where you can get an immediate cash refund or through a credit card. Note that this option might deduct a handling fee.
If you don’t choose the instant refund option, mail the validated Tax-Free Form to the VAT refund company using the provided envelope. After processing, the refund will be sent to you via credit card or bank transfer, minus any applicable handling fees.
5. Visit the Airport Offices of the Tax Refund Company You Work With
- If opting for an instant refund, go to the tax refund company’s office at the airport after Customs validation.
- You’ll need to fill out a form to specify how you’d like to receive your refund, either credited to your card or as cash at the airport (with an extra commission for the latter). Note that cash refunds may only be available at some airports.
- Original, fully completed Tax-Free Form.
- Receipt/Invoice for the purchased items.
- Passport (to prove you are a non-EU resident).
For a detailed and official explanation of the VAT refund process for visitors to the EU, please refer to the Guide to VAT Refund for Visitors to the EU provided by the European Union.
By following these steps, you can make your shopping experience in Italy even more enjoyable and economical by receiving your tax-free refund. Whether it’s designer bags, shoes, or souvenirs, knowing how to navigate the VAT refund process can add value to your trip.
Before You Go…
Are you curious about the 21 must-see cities in Italy for travelers and expats? Explore beyond the well-trodden paths and discover the hidden gems that make Italy a timeless and unforgettable experience.