Non-residents of the European Union who visit France are entitled to claim a tax refund (value added tax or VAT) for eligible goods s/he takes home.
In order to take advantage of the tax refund, you must comply with a very strict procedure. It is very important that you get your Tax Refund Form stamped by European Union Customs before you leave the European Union. It is also highly recommended that you arrive early at the airport or the train station to complete the procedure peacefully and do not miss your flight or train.
You must be a non-resident of the European Union. Your passport will attest of your country of residence.
You must be over the age of 15 at the time of purchase of the goods.
You must have remained in France six months or less over the past 12 months at the time of your purchase.
Purchases must total more than 175.00 Euros made on the same day in the same store.
Goods have to be exported within 3 months plus the month of purchase and refund form must be returned within 6 months of purchase.
2. How to get your tax refund and to use "PABLO"?
The vendor will give the Retail Export Forms after the purchase of items in their store (3 page form). The purchased goods and the Tax Refund Form must be produced in the European country of final transfer before you leave the European Union.
Before checking-in your luggage, present the Tax Refund Form together with your purchases, receipts, passport and transportation ticket.
To get your refund: visit the interactive PABLO terminal as seen below:
3. When to apply for the refund?
When leaving a country or the European Union, the Tax Refund Form must be validated by European Union Customs within three months of the purchase, at either the airport, train station or border point. The purchased goods and the Tax Refund Form must be produced in the European country of final transfer before you leave the European Union.
Before checking-in your luggage, present :
the items purchased (with price tags attached),
the proof of residence abroad (if you are a French Citizen a valid Consular registration Card must be presented),
and the Retail Export Form(s) which the Customs Officer will stamp, and must be mailed from the port of exit from the European Union.
Please note that the person who made the purchases must be present when the Tax Refund Form is issued.
4. In case your form has not been stamped by the Customs
If for reasons attributable to the Customs service your form could not be stamped by Customs upon your departure from the European Union, you may request the retroactive certification of the form in exceptional circumstances.
However, the process is time-consuming, and may turn out to be more expensive than the amount of tax refund that you are claiming. This procedure does not guarantee a refund.
You have to address, within 6 months after the date of purchase of your goods (non commercial), a request for a tax refund to the Customs office of the place where you left France. You can find the addresses of the main regional customs services on the document below:
- Customs Contacts
- (PDF - 296 kb)
This request must be supported by the following documents:
1. A letter with exhaustive explanations
A letter with exhaustive explanations of the reasons why you were not able to get your form stamped when leaving France (travellers’ carelessness or oversight can absolutely not be taken into consideration i.e late arrival at the airport, forgetting to show the items)
2. An "attestation de présentation des marchandises"
An "attestation de présentation des marchandises" issued by the French Consulate that has jurisdiction over the state you live in.
In order to get this document, you must come to the Consulate with an appointment with ALL the goods you bought (with price tags attached) and your passport.
There is a fee (1) for each Retail Export Form payable in cash or money order.
For further question or in order to take an appointment, please contact us:
3. A copy of your passport
4. A copy of your travel ticket stub (Plane ticket, boarding pass or train ticket)
5. The Retail Export Form(s) and envelope(s).
Your request must be sent to an official tax refund organization or:
Direction Régionale des douanes de Paris
16 Rue Yves Toudic
5. More information
- Pablo - VAT refund
- (PDF - 402.3 kb)
- Customs Contacts
- (PDF - 296 kb)
(1)  Listed as "Certificat de destination des marchandises"