Non-EU Citizens Can Claim VAT Refund on their Shopping in Finland:
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!Your Turn: Do you have any advice you would like to share? What tips would you like to add? Please comment below.