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VAT Fees

Hi, Heading to Europe this fall and was going to buy tickets for some attractions ahead of time. I see a VAT fee is charged when I check out. Would a VAT fee be charged if I buy the tickets on site? I was going on the attraction website directly to purchase my tickets. Thanks in advance for your help.

Posted by
4821 posts

Hard to say without more detail, but generally places in Europe express the listed price as including VAT, not like in the US where a price is advertised and then a kicker for tax is added on at the end.

As for VAT, you would pay it either online or there for a ticket, no advantage either way.

Posted by
313 posts

VAT is Value Added Tax--ubiquitous in Europe. It's mandatory. If you spend more than a certain amount in one purchase (several hundred $ IIRC) you can get it rebated when you leave the country. I have seen a few shops that will simply not charge you the tax if you ship the purchase directly home from their store, but that's about it.

Posted by
440 posts

VAT is always inclusive in the price and will be broken down on the receipt

Posted by
7173 posts

Yes a VAT is a much better way of pricing items. When you see the price of an item that's what you pay - you don't have to wonder how many other taxes and fees are added when you check out.

Posted by
2546 posts

Just to be clear though you will not be able to get a VAT refund for any VAT paid for a service item or a ticket to an attraction.

Posted by
4499 posts

The question is a bit vague. VAT is always included in the price of goods or services. Unlike the US, where you see a "price" listed and then tax is added at checkout, the VAT is typically included in the listed price. Frankly that seems a much better system to me...

VAT refunds are only for goods purchased and NOT used while in Europe. If you buy a work of art and have it shipped by the retailer, that would be eligible for a VAT refund (typically items shipped are not charged the VAT). Some people buy things to bring home and apply for the refund but it's only worth it for more expensive items and can only be done if the vendor participates in the VAT refund program. In that case, they fill out paperwork for you that is dropped off at the airport when you leave. Often the office wants to see the item to be sure it is eligible for the refund (ie it hasn't been used). Refunds can take months to actually arrive.

Hope that answers whatever questions you have.

Posted by
20625 posts

You can only get a VAT refund if the goods (not services or food or lodging) is taken out of the country without being used. If it is an expensive item, often the cost to ship it home will be off set by the VAT refund. You cannot get a refund on anything consumed in the country.

Posted by
936 posts

We are flying into Venice, joining a bus tout and flying out of Vienna. Do you think I will be able to get a VAT refund from a different EU country? I plan to buy Burano lace and Murano glass. Any idea what the minimum € amount is to get a VAT refund?
As always, thanks for your help. You all are phenomenal.

Posted by
4499 posts

Do you think I will be able to get a VAT refund from a different EU
country? I plan to buy Burano lace and Murano glass. Any idea what the
minimum € amount is to get a VAT refund?

Yes, you submit your VAT refund when you leave the EU.

Each merchant chooses whether to participate in the VAT refund program or not. I assume they set a minimum value to provide you with the paperwork. It's only really worth it for expensive items. If you are buying fragile items like glass, you might be best to have it shipped and then typically the VAT is not charged (but you pay for shipping instead). But always ask and be sure to check sales slips before concluding a transaction.