How to Claim your VAT Refund at Helsinki Airport

Non-EU Citizens Can Claim VAT Refund on their Shopping in Finland:

Global Blue Tax Free

Global Blue Tax-Free Shopping

If you’re shopping in Finland and are a non-EU citizen, you are eligible to claim VAT refund on your shopping. To qualify for the sales tax refund, your purchases must be made in shops which display the Tax Free sign and the minimum total sum of purchased goods must be 40 Euros.

Tax-free Shopping in Finland

Finland is a member of the European Union and as such the VAT refund process here is quite similar to the process in other EU countries. Before you set off on your tax-free shopping spree, make sure that you have your passport with you … and your cash or credit cards of course.

To enjoy tax-free shopping in Finland you must:

  • Look for stores that offer tax-free shopping. You will see the official tax-free signage of companies such as Global Blue or Premier Tax Free in the shop windows.
  • When paying for goods that are 40 Euros or more, ask the shop assistant for a Tax Free Form. All required information in this form must be completed or you risk your claim being rejected.

Note: These days some of the bigger shops have cash terminals that are set up to record the required information and calculate the tax refund, saving the shop and the shopper from manual processing. Where this is available, the sales assistant will key in your name, address, passport number, etc. into their terminal and print the Tax Free Form for you. It’s a strip of paper that looks very much like your supermarket shopping receipt.

At Helsinki Airport

Global Blue is currently the only tax free shopping service that is represented at Helsinki Airport. According to their website, if you have one of their Tax Free Forms, you can have your form validated at their refund points or at Customs.

Before your check in for your flight, go to the Global Blue refund point, or Customs, with your Tax Free Form, passport, shopping receipts and goods to have your form validated. Make sure that your goods are unused as they can reject your claim if your goods show signs of having been used.

If you obtain your stamp from Global Blue, they will process your refund at the same time – so, it seems sensible to get your stamp from Global Blue. If however you obtained your stamp from Customs, you will then need to go to Global Blue to have your refund processed.

Premier Tax Free or other tax-free shopping services – For anyone who purchased goods from shops using the Premier Tax Free or other tax-free shopping services, you will need to get your stamp from Customs, and then mail your Tax Free Form (with receipts attached) back to the company.
Remember this cardinal rule – No Customs stamp = No refund!

Before you mail your documents back, I highly recommend that you make clear copies of the Tax Free Forms and receipts as things can and do go missing in the mailing process. If you need to check the progress of your tax refund claim, you will need some information contained on the Tax Free Form and as well as from your receipts to make the on-line check.

Happy Shopping!

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  1. avatarStanley says

    Hi helen, my first vat experience last year at cdg was a pleasant one. Got all my refunds. This time i left eu from helsinki and got my cash refunds from global blue but there was no premier tax in helsinki. I sent my tax vouchers with the relvant stamps for my purchase from chanel. Now premier tax had stated that they have not received this form and charged my credit card as i had taken a city cash refund. To further complicate matters there was a postal strike in finland which may have caused the delay. I have taken photos of my tax form with custom stamps. How do i appeal with the photo? Anybody hsf experience or success? I mean the postal services incompetence should not cost me 650 euros right? And there is no way i could have photoshop a finnish custom stamp. Pls advice.

    • avatar says

      Hi Stan,

      Sorry to hear about your tax refund woes and for 650 Euros, it’s certainly worth trying to fix the situation.

      1. From your email address, I presume you are in Singapore, and it appears that Premier Tax Free has an office in Singapore. As they are centrally located in Beach Road, I would print a copy of the photo you took, and go into their office and ask for their assistance. Bring along your camera and any other documents that you may have as well, just in case they want proof that it is a real photograph of the document. Below is their address and contact details.

      Premier Tax Free (Singapore) Pte Ltd
      Address: 10-05 Keypoint 371 Beach Road Singapore 199597
      Phone: 0065 62933811

      2. If you don’t get any joy from the Singapore office, then I would contact Premier Tax Free through their tracking system. I hope that from the photo you took that you are able to complete the details required. In the box at the end of the form, be sure to let them know that you have taken a photo of the customs stamp and that you can send it to them.

      3. If you don’t get any satisfaction from the first two options, ring your credit card company and tell them that you would like to dispute the charge. Tell them that you have proof of the customs stamp and that you can send the image to them.

      Stan, there’s no guarantee that any of the above actions will have a positive outcome, but for the amount of refund at stake, it’s worth giving them a go.

      p.s. I’ve moved your query to our Finland page as it doesn’t belong to the Italian blog.

      Let me know how you go.

      Kind regards,

  2. avatarStanley says

    Hi helen,

    I called germany and was advised to wait longer any form of appeal should be of last resort. the problem is i dont know if ‘have not received’ means have not processed or not in the mail room. Hard to imagine the later. Any idea from your experience?

    • avatar says

      Hi Stan,
      I don’t know who it is that you rang in Germany, but I wouldn’t wait too long in taking action as they have already charged your credit card for the VAT. This would indicated that your form was not received by them within a certain time-frame and therefore they have to charge you for the VAT as the shop has to pay the VAT to the tax authorities.
      I would still go ahead with Options 1 and 2 above and Option 3 should only be a last resort action.

      Kind regards,

  3. avatarDiane Tang says

    Hi, I got bought a luggage in Helsinki to replace my broken luggage. I need to use it immediately so it would not be “brand new” when I reach the airport. Would they disallow me go claim my VAT?

    • avatar says

      Hi Diane,
      To be eligible for VAT refund your purchases must be ‘unused’, so unfortunately you’ll not be allowed to claim for your replacement luggage.


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