Austrian Tax Refund

Austrian Tax Refund: All You Need to Know

Navigating the Austrian tax refund process, can seem as daunting as conquering the Grossglockner without a map, right? Fear not! We’ve got your back!

Discovering you’re eligible for a tax refund feels like finding an unexpected treasure in the heart of Austria’s picturesque landscapes. Our guide is here to lead you through the alpine maze of forms, deadlines, and procedures, ensuring you reclaim what’s rightfully yours without losing your way.

Let’s dive in!

What Is Standard Vat In Austria?

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In Austria, the regular VAT rate is 20%. When you’re visiting, Austria will give you back between 12% and 14% of what you spend on items with the standard VAT rates. You need to spend at least €75.01 to qualify for the reimbursement.

What Are The Vat Refund Requirements?

Non-EU-residents can request a refund of the value-added tax for goods they purchased in Austria.

All of the following requirements must be met:

  • The invoiced amount must exceed Euro 75.00.
  • Your passport must indicate a domicile/residence outside the European Union (EU).
  • You must export the item(s) with your personal luggage within three months of purchase.
  • You must show the item(s) to customs officials and obtain a stamp before leaving the European Union.

Note to d): When you’re traveling from Austria to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, make sure to get your customs stamp from Austrian customs officials, either at the airport or the border crossing. 

If you’re leaving Austria for any other neighboring EU country, you need to get the customs stamp from the customs authorities of the last EU country you visit before exiting the EU.

Example: If you fly into Munich and travel by car or train to Austria for a ski vacation, and then fly back to the US from Munich, you’ll get your stamp from German customs officials. 

But if you fly to Budapest, take a boat trip to visit Vienna (cruise on the Danube River), and then return to Budapest to fly back to your home country outside the EU, you’ll get your customs stamp from the Hungarian Customs authorities.

Please Note: Please note that an endorsement can only be issued at a later date in exceptional cases, such as a traffic accident on the way to the airport or insufficient time to obtain a customs stamp. 

Remember, the burden of proof lies with you. If you’re unable to obtain the customs stamp for any reason, it’s advisable to have the items inspected at U.S. customs and obtain a stamp from U.S. customs officials. 

However, you must provide strong reasons why you couldn’t obtain an EU customs stamp.

The Austrian Consulate General is NOT authorized to stamp your receipts and invoices.

Products Subject To Lower Vat Rates

  • Books
  • Food Items

Items For Which Vat Refunds Do Not Apply

  • Spare parts

Who Benefits From Tax-Free Shopping In Austria?

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  • If you live in a non-EU country permanently
  • If you’re 18 years old or older, you could be eligible for a VAT refund in Austria. 
  • The VAT rate in Austria is higher than average, so as a tourist, you might receive a potentially higher VAT refund.

How Are Tax-Free Refunds Calculated In Austria?

Navigating tax-free shopping, especially in countries like Austria, can be tricky when it comes to estimating your reimbursement. 

We’ve put together this page to assist you in understanding the process. Firstly, there are two key pieces of information you’ll need to determine your tax-free refund:

  • The VAT status of the product you purchased
  • The VAT rate in Austria

Let’s break down how much you might get back as a tax-free refund using an example. In Austria, they put a 20% VAT rate on stuff you buy. 

So, if you spend 1200 EUR on something, 200 EUR of that is basically tax. This means you could, in theory, get back about 16.7% of what you spent on tax, which is 200/1200. But you can’t get it all back, unfortunately.

Also, to get your tax-free money back in Austria, you gotta work with a middleman refund agent. The big names for this in Europe are Planet Payment and Global Blue

But depending on where you are, there might be other companies doing the same thing, especially for smaller transactions or in different countries.

The commission that these intermediary companies get can also impact how much you can get back. These companies typically take a percentage from your total refund

The higher the prices of your purchases, the lower the percentage they’ll deduct.

Because the commission for tax-free refund agents can differ among companies, this page will show you how to figure out tax-free refunds in Austria. 

The total amount you get back will depend on the company, if you prefer cash for your refund, and if the payout credited to your account will involve currency conversions.

The Tax-Free Guide To Austria: How To Get A Tax-free Refund

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To obtain a tax refund on your shopping in Austria, you need to follow these four steps:

  • Select stores that provide tax-free shopping.
  • Ensure completion of the required tax-free forms at the store.
  • Have your tax-free form authenticated by customs at the airport.
  • Visit the airport offices of the tax refund company you are affiliated with.

Once you complete these 4 steps, you can get your tax-free refund from Austria. Therefore, you’ll pay even less for the products you bought there. Let’s examine each of these steps carefully.

Choosing A Shop That Is Tax-Free

When you shop at big global brands, they often have tax-free deals, so sorting out the paperwork should be straightforward. 

Our tip here is to simply ask if you can get a VAT refund when you enter the store. Choosing stores with “Tax-free” signs displayed can also help streamline the process.

Completing The Required Tax-Free Form At The Store

At this point, simply indicate that you’re a foreign visitor seeking tax-free shopping benefits. The store attendant will provide the requisite paperwork for completion on-site. Your task will be to sign the documents.

Get Your Form Verified By Customs At The Airport In Austria

Make sure to get your tax-free form approved by customs before you leave the country. The customs officer might check the items you bought. 

Tax-free rules say all stuff bought in Austria must stay unused until leaving the country. It could take a while to get your tax refund at the airport. Thus, we suggest you arrive at the airport at least 1 hour earlier than usual.

Go To The Airport Offices Of The Tax Refund Company You Work With

Once your tax-free form gets the thumbs-up, head over to the tax refund company’s office to snag your tax-free refund. If you’re jetting off from a big airport, you can easily find their offices on either the company’s or the airport’s website.

There, you’ll have to fill out a form stating how you want your tax-free refund payment. 

You can opt to have it refunded to your credit card once you’re back home, or you can choose to get cash at the airport by shelling out some extra commission. Keep in mind, though, cash tax-free refunds aren’t offered at all airports. 

Yet, if you’re navigating through a bustling airport in Austria, chances are you can pocket your refund in cash.

Other Things You Must Know About Tax-Free Refunds In Austria

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Tax-free refunds are available for tourists visiting Austria. If you have a residence permit for the country you’re visiting, you can’t get a refund. 

There’s a minimum purchase amount you need to spend to qualify for a tax-free refund. Any expenses below this limit won’t be eligible for reimbursement. This minimum purchase threshold is calculated per invoice. 

So, if you make several separate purchases below this threshold, you won’t qualify for a tax-free refund, even if the total surpasses the minimum amount. 

Tax-free refunds in Austria only apply to VAT. You can also subtract the VAT fees charged by your tax refund company.

Conclusion

Claiming your Austrian tax refund is akin to completing a rewarding hike through the Alps: challenging but immensely satisfying. With the insights and step-by-step guidance from our comprehensive guide, you’re now equipped to approach the tax refund process with confidence, ensuring you don’t leave any money on the table.

Consider this your fiscal victory lap around Austria’s financial landscape.

Reward Realized!

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