Is Tax-Free Shopping Legal and How Does it Work?



Is Tax-Free Shopping Legal and How Does it Work?

Tax-free shopping, or détaxe in French, is the possibility to recover the VAT on the goods purchased in the EU, and brought back to the UK. Thus, (spoiler alert) it’s not only legal but it is a right regulated by the European Union, via the VAT Directive – Articles 170-171a.

In fact, all citizens whose main residence is outside the European Union, can benefit from the refund of the 20% VAT. And yes, since Brexit this includes all UK residents. This translates in having continuous sales on all purchases made in France, and brought back to your country.

This process used to be fraught with inefficiencies: lots of paper, high fees, etc. But it’s been revolutionized by digital tax operators, such as ZappTax. This startup introduced digital tax-free shopping in the European Union in 2017, and proposed a much more efficient model.

So, how does it work?

Simply download the app and create your profile. Then when shopping, you can ask for an invoice, including VAT, in the name of ZappTax. You can then take a photo of each invoice and upload it to the app. PS: Merchants are legally obliged to issue such an invoice on request.

When done with all purchases, with a few clicks you can generate a document (tax-free form) that you can scan when leaving the EU. This form can be scanned directly from your smartphone at a self-service terminal, or presented at customs, at the train stations, airports and ferry terminals.

Some bonuses of using ZappTax:

  1.   Reliability: the company is regulated by the French, Belgian and Spanish customs authorities, and it’s trusted by >60.000 global users.
  2.   Low fees: ZappTax has a VAT refund rate among the highest in the market.
  3.   Flexibility: you can get your VAT refund on: Bank account, PayPal, credit card, and more. And it applies to all purchases made in all stores in France, Belgium and Spain.
  4.   Assistance: you can have 24/7 assistance from a caring international team.

Download the app on Apple Store or Google Play 

Lead photo credit : Tax-free shopping in the EU ©Zapptax

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  •  Isabella
    2023-04-25 04:13:41
    if a person came from another country and transports goods by paying money for them in your country, then why should he still be subject to VAT? Let them return them to him, and the VAT refund system is very widespread all over the world. I think that this is a positive step towards improving trade than simple competition.