The refund of the amount paid in Italy as a Value added tax (VAT) on the purchased goods by the citizens having their domicile outside the EU.

What does "Tax Free" mean?

Tax Free means refund of the amount paid as a Value added tax (VAT) on the purchased goods by the citizens having their domicile outside the EU. The goods must be purchased in such shops, that show the DUTY FREE sticker (see the symbol here) and that are able to carry out the electronic procedure (in Italy O.T.E.L.L.O.) for the refund of the VAT paid.

O.T.E.L.L.O. (Online Tax Refund at Exit: Light Lane Optimization) is a simplification initiative implemented by the Italian Customs and Monopoly Agency to the benefit of foreign visitors and enables the digitalization of the procedure to obtain the “customs stamp” on the invoice, in order to be entitled to the refund of the VAT due on the goods purchased on the Italian national territory by individuals residing or having their domicile outside the EU.

VAT refund is granted in Italy provided that:

  • the value of purchased goods, (for each invoice) exceeds 154,94 euros (VAT included);
  • the goods are packed in their original packaging and have not been used;
  • the goods are intended for personal or family use and are carried in the personal luggage;
  • the purchase is certified by an invoice containing the description of the goods, the personal data of the traveler, the details of his/her passport or of any equivalent document proving that the traveler is resident or domiciled outside the EU;
  • the goods leave the EU territory within three months following the date of issue of the invoice proved by the  customs stamp.

Which is the procedure?

Since 1 September 2018, the Tax Free procedure in Italy requires that invoices must be electronically issued and their validation is carried out using O.T.E.L.L.O. information system.
Thus, when purchasing goods at an Italian Shop, the traveler must show his passport, whose information must be correctly reported in the invoice. O.T.E.L.L.O. will generate a Tax Free request code, that has to be displayed on the invoice copy given to the traveler.

What should the traveler consider when leaving?

The exit customs must confirm the export of goods. This you can do only at the last point at which you will leave the EU. Usually this is done at the airport or at the border, for example, Germany – Switzerland or France-US. You have to show the purchased goods, the invoice reporting the O.T.E.L.L.O. code and your passport or ID card to the competent customs office. The customs stamps the invoice confirming the export of the goods and notifies the Italian authorities electronically that the goods have been exported in Tax Free mode.
To check that the procedure has been successful, we ask you to send us (please email it to a PDF or a picture, even taken with your mobile, of the invoice stamped by the customs authorities of the EU exit customs.

What does the Italian seller (in our case, us)?

We check in O.T.E.L.L.O. the status of the invoice. As soon as we receive the VAT refund authorization we proceed with the refund according to the terms agreed with the buyer at the time of purchase of the goods (e.g. bank transfer or PayPal refund). The traveler will be refunded the total amount of VAT paid, deducting the costs arising from the refund (e.g. Paypal fees on the VAT paid that we are charged).

Who will refund VAT?

VAT refund is never carried out by the customs offices. The refund is made directly by the Italian seller according to the terms agreed with the buyer when the goods were purchased.

What will Brexit change for tax free shopping?

The only change is that Tax Free Shopping can also be offered to residents of the United Kingdom.
The procedure for getting a refund is the same as for all other Non-EU travelers.

What is the VAT on goods in Italy?

In Italy the standard VAT rate is 22%.

What are the EU countries?

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.