Tax Refund in Spain
Travelers or tourists may get back the taxes they pay during shopping in Spain when they are leaving the country after their visits. The tax refund system works only for foreigners that are not residents or citizens of any European Union country. A tax refund can be up to 21% of the product price.
If you have visited Spain as a tourist and done some shopping during your stay, you can claim a refund for the VAT that you have paid for the products. To get a VAT refund, you should get a tax refund form from the shop during your purchase. There are two types of tax refund forms you may get during shopping in Spain: tax-free forms and DIVA.
Regular tax-free forms are provided by the shops upon request. If the product you have bought is above 100€, you should ask the shop assistant to prepare a DIVA for you. The DIVA system was developed by the Spanish Tax Agency to allow for the digital stamping of proof of departure for tax-free claims. DIVA is the electronic VAT refund procedure and it streamlines the tax refund process as it works integrated with the Spanish Tax Agency database. The shop assistant will ask for your passport or passport number, name, surname, and country information. They will add all this information to the DIVA.
There are some items you need to get a tax refund at the airport. These are;
- Your passport,
- DIVA / Tax-free form
- Travel documents / Your boarding pass
- Products you have bought
If you want to get tax refunds at the airport, it is advised to get there 30 minutes before the flight. If you have a regular tax-free form, you should go to the tax-free office and ask the police to approve the form before you drop your luggage. They will ask you to fill out a form. The police may want to see the products you bought, so the products should be easily accessible.
If you have an electronic tax refund form (DIVA), you should go to a DIVA kiosk and scan the DIVA barcode to the barcode reader. After the approval of your tax refund, you should pass the security control and go to the tax-free office to get your tax refund. Here, you can get your VAT refund by showing your approved tax form to the officer. You can also send the invoices after the approval to the shops where you have bought the goods. In this case, the shop will refund the VAT you have paid for the goods.
Tips and Advice
- Only permanent residents of non-European countries can get a VAT refund for their shopping in Spain.
- If your next destination is another European Union country, you cannot reclaim VAT in Spain. You must reclaim your VAT refund in the last airport before leaving the European Union.
- The main VAT rate is 21%, however, 4% and 10% can be applied for certain products.
- You must get the form validated at customs within 3 months of the purchase.
- You must leave the European Union within 3 months to get the VAT refund.
- VAT refund can be received only for personal purchases, business purchases are not eligible for a VAT refund.
- The tax saving is only applicable for exportable items which means it does not apply to restaurants or hotel bills or food items as these items are consumables.
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