If natural persons whose place of residence is outside the European Union purchase goods in Estonia or in other Member States of the European Union from tax-free shops, they have the right to receive a refund of the value added tax (VAT) paid on the purchases when the goods are taken out of the European Union.

The following persons can receive VAT refunds

  • Persons residing in a country outside the European Union.
  • Persons residing in the following territories of the European Union: Mount Athos, Canary Islands, overseas departments of France, Åland, Heligoland, the territory of Büsingen, Ceuta, Melilla, Livigno, Campione d’Italia, Italian part of Lake Lugano.

    NB! The tax-free receipt must clearly indicate the name of the territory in the data of the place of residence of the person who made the purchase.
  • Persons residing in a Schengen Member State not belonging to the European Union (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).
  • Persons holding a passport from a non-Community country outside the Schengen area with a border crossing stamp or a visa for entry into the Schengen area; 
    persons holding a passport of Estonia or a Member State of the European Union who have been issued a document certifying the legal right of residence or residence permit in a non-European Union country.

The following persons cannot receive VAT refunds in Estonia

  • Persons residing in the Member States of the European Union.
  • Persons holding a passport from a country outside the European Union who have been issued an Estonian residence permit.
  • Persons residing in the Principality of Monaco, the Isle of Man or the Sovereign Base Areas of the United Kingdom in Akrotiri and Dhekelia.
    Although not the territory of the European Union, these are not considered as non-Union countries for VAT purposes. Therefore, persons of these regions cannot buy tax-free goods in Estonia.

How to receive VAT refund from purchases

  1. If you make a purchase from a tax-free shop, ask the seller for a tax-free receipt. The shop will issue the receipt if the sales price of the goods, including VAT, exceeds 38 euros.
  2. Upon departure from the European Union (Estonia), present the receipt to the customs authorities for approval.
  3. In order to receive a VAT refund, submit the receipt approved by the customs authorities either to the point of sale or representative office of the company engaged in VAT refunds, if the shop does not use the services of the refund company.

Receiving customs confirmation on a tax-free receipt

Upon departure from Estonia or another Member State of the European Union, present the goods, tax-free receipt and your identity document to the customs officer for confirmation.

In order for the receipt to be confirmed by the customs authorities:

  • the goods must correspond to the particulars indicated on the receipt;
  • the goods must be in unopened packaging;
    – If the purchase packaging is not resealable, the goods must not have been used before the confirmation of the receipt or in use at the time of the confirmation of the receipt. For example, clothes or shoes must be in their packaging (not worn) and unused.
    – In exceptional cases, goods purchased on the basis of a tax-free receipt may be taken out of the country by using the goods. Such goods may include, for example, a trailer (without cargo), which can be taken out only when connected to the vehicle.
  • the goods must be taken out of Estonia or another European Union Member State no later than by the last day of the third month following the month in which the tax-free receipt was issued.
    – For example, if the date of making the purchase and issuing the receipt is 20 January, then the customs confirmation must be received and the goods must be taken out of the European Union by 30 April at the latest.

If the goods do not meet these conditions or if the customs official has reason to doubt the purchaser's residence information stated on the receipt, the customs authorities will not confirm the receipt.

The tax-free receipt is presented for confirmation at the customs office through which you leave the European Union.

If you make a purchase from a shop belonging to the Global Blue network and the transaction is formalised in an online program, you can register the receipt at the Global Blue validation kiosk when leaving the European Union via Tallinn Airport or the Narva border crossing point, and you do not have to contact the customs to confirm the receipt.

The receipt can be registered in the kiosk if the receipt is marked with “ETFs”.

However, based on risk criteria, your goods may require additional inspection. You can get information about the need for inspection when completing the transaction at the kiosk. In this case, a customs officer must be contacted to confirm the receipt.

Last updated: 21.10.2022

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