How do I reclaim the VAT on my purchases?
Are you living outside the European Union (EU)? And are you travelling from the Netherlands to a country outside the EU? You can reclaim the VAT on goods you have purchased in the EU that you are taking with you in your luggage to a country outside the EU.
You can reclaim Dutch VAT if you take goods with you for which you paid a total of at least € 50. This amount includes VAT.
To reclaim your VAT, you can engage a tax refund intermediary. The retailer or supplier where you make your purchase can tell you more about this. You can also reclaim the VAT yourself.
You need an invoice (or copy thereof) for the goods for which you are reclaiming VAT.
How does reclaiming VAT work?
If you are leaving the EU from the Netherlands, the process for reclaiming VAT is as follows:
- Ask the retailer or supplier for an invoice (receipt) of your purchase. Agree in advance that he will repay the VAT.
- Ask Customs to sign (validate) the invoice (or copy thereof) when you leave the EU.
Customs will check:
- do you live outside the EU
- are you able to show the goods
- do you take the goods with you yourself
- the date on the invoice: a maximum of 3 months may have passed after the month of purchase.
- Send the signed invoice to the retailer or supplier, or to your tax refund intermediary.
- The retailer, supplier or tax-refund intermediary will refund the VAT to you.
Check the overview of customs offices to find out where you can have your invoice signed (validated).
Reclaim VAT digitally with our app
For an easy way to reclaim Dutch VAT, use our 'NL Customs VAT' app. This app only works for goods purchased in the Netherlands. For goods purchased in another EU country, the process described above under 'How does reclaiming VAT work?' applies.
Tip: download the app before arrival at the Dutch airport or in the Dutch port of departure. This will save you time. You can download the app via the link given below.
How to reclaim VAT with the app
To get the invoices in the app, proceed as follows:
- Ask the retailer or supplier to put the invoice in your name and register it digitally. This must be done immediately upon purchase!
- Download the 'NL Customs VAT' app.
- Register in the app. You will need your passport for this.
- You will now see your purchases in the 'NL Customs VAT' app.
At the Dutch airport or in the Dutch port, you then proceed as follows:
- Open the 'NL Customs VAT' app.
- Go to the area near the customs desk.
- Enable 'Bluetooth' and 'Location'/'Location Services' on your mobile.
- Request validation for your VAT refund application in the app. The app tells you whether you must first report to the customs desk with your purchases.
- Once your application has been validated in the app, you can receive your money back.
Download the 'NL Customs VAT' app
Reclaim your VAT within 3 months after the month of purchase
Want to reclaim VAT? This is only possible for goods that you take to a country outside the EU within 3 months after the month of purchase. Customs checks the date of purchase.
If you are moving to a country outside the EU, the arrangement also applies to you. But only if you move within 3 months after the month in which you purchased the goods, and reclaim the VAT within that period.
Customs will not mediate if you do not get the VAT refunded
We cannot mediate for you if the retailer or supplier from whom you purchased something does not pay you back the VAT. Customs only validates your VAT refund application. The Tax and Customs Administration cannot mediate for you either.