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a VirtualTourist member


VAT refund at Galeries Lafayette

I know this has been mentioned in this forum but there seem to have been different views. I understand that there is a counter in Galeries Lafayette where tourists would be able to reclaim VATS, is it 100% of the VAT? Do we still need to go to the airport and claim the remaining? Another question is that, if we use credit card to pay, is the VAT refund be in cash or by credit? Thanks!

7 Answers

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from North America

Hi [VT member 166f0a],
I claimed VAT tax often & am glad to share my experience here. I've checked Galeries Lafayette website just now, for up-to-date info.

Note that I don't shop anymore so haven't claimed détaxe since 2004 or so. But this is how I did it until then:
For "détaxe" purposes, I centered purchases in Galeries Lafayette and at the end of trips --- one-time procedures at store & more likely to reach the amount of purchases required to be entitled to "détaxe".

Below is Galeries Lafayette website/détaxe section. Couldn't find an English translation in limited time I have now. Don't hesitate to ask for translation help, I'll be glad to do it later today.

Main thing is: meet requirements of living outside the EU, age over 16. Détaxe must be requested on day of purchase.
Once purchases made, go to Détaxe Counter, level -1 of Main Store (Coupole) with passport, bills & paperwork. (I'm almost sure I went there FIRST, before buying, and got a sort of purchase passport that salesclerks stamped as I bought -- then I brought this booklet back to Détaxe Counter. But no matter, as long as you get to Détaxe Counter same day as purchases are made.)
Bring paperwork to the Airport, for validation by Customs. Don't check your luggage first... Keep purchases readily available for inspection, although goods are not always inspected. If your choose reimbursement on your Credit Card, along with validated papers you'll get an envelope to post back to the store within 6 months.
There's a mention of cash reimbursements in link, I never asked for that but later, could explain how to do it if you'd like.


TVA rates are the same across the country. The so-called "normal rate" (for most goods & services) will go from 19,6% to 20% in January 2014.
Galeries Lafayette reimburse 12 % of TVA (generally called "détaxe".) I suppose that reimbursement rate is the same across France, perhaps someone else can confirm this. But you asked about GL so I focussed on it.
Let me know if you need help with that website or anything else. Best wishes.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from North America


Re haussmann.galerieslafayette provided above, I've translated the parts about cash reimbursements & about how to proceed in general. See below:

En magasin, que doit faire le client?
What must the customer do while in the store?
-After buying for a minimum of 175.01 euros, & on same day, customer must go to the Détaxe office, level -1 of main store (Lafayette Coupole) with his cash receipts & original of his passport
-Customer chooses the mode of reimbursement
-Store prepares a detailed statement (bordereau) specifically for détaxe
-Duplicate cash receipts are not valid for détaxe

Que doit faire le client en quittant l'Union Européenne?
What must the customer do when leaving the European Union?
-Upon leaving the EU, customer must have his 'bordereau' validated by Customs at the airport, the relevant train station or the land border, before the end of the 3rd month following his purchases
-Before going through baggage check, customer must present his 'bordereau' with his purchases, his passport & his travel ticket, for inspection by Customs.
Failure to honour these rules will result in cancellation of the 'bordereau' & an eventual fine.
-Following validation of the 'bordereau' by Customs, if the customer has chosen a cash reimbursement, he must go to the designated wicket at the airport/station/border.
For all other modes of reimbursement, customer must return the blue copy initialled by Customs within six months, in the prepaid « T » envelope. He keeps the other copy as proof of purchase.

I always chose reimbursement by credit card (i.e. by mailing the "T" envelope as stated above.) I think all reimbursements arrived within a month, perhaps two.
With purchases totalling, say, $1,000, you'd get $120 back (12%)
I had $600 worth of purchases last time I claimed détaxe, so got $72 back. That time, I found the process a hassle for various reasons (especially keeping purchases handy for Customs inspection, when I would have liked to pack them with rest of my luggage at the hotel... Repacking inspected purchases on the ground in public was too much for me!
But it's kind of fun to work the system when you have time so go for it.
All the best!

answered by
a VirtualTourist member

Great thanks for making the trouble to do so. Appreciate! So in other word, i still have to go to the airport to get the claims back.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from North America

You're most welcome. Yes, you must have the bordereau validated by Customs at whatever exit point you choose to leave the EU (i.e., the airport, if you're flying out.)
All should go well if you give yourself the bit of extra time required at your exit point.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member

Can you please help me?
What should I do now if I already left the country but did not get my purchase stamped at London airport? I thought when we went to detax center in Paris mall, they already took care of it. I still have the form that they filled out for us.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from North America

Hi Diane,

There are validation stamps to obtain & inspections of goods to be done, all by Customs at the point of departure from the E.U. Then there are time limits related to getting the détaxe back.

If you are the Original Poster called Franncis & made your purchases soon after posting the initial question on March 10, 2013, I'm afraid you do not meet the conditions & cannot claim the détaxe.

The rules are :

(1) Upon leaving the E.U., customer must have his "bordereau" (statement of purchases) validated by Customs at the airport BEFORE the end of the 3rd month following his purchases.

(2) On that *same day of departure* from the European Union, customer's validated bordereau and all purchases must be presented for inspection by Customs. Following inspection, Customs gives customer an initialled blue copy. If a customer did not present bordereau & purchases for inspection by Customs then, it's not possible to submit the bordereau AFTER leaving the E.U. since the purchases have not been inspected before departure.)

(3) For CASH reimbursements, customer must go to the designated wicket at the airport/station/border immediately after inspection of purchases. Cash reimbursement cannot be claimed after customer has left the zone where the designated wicket is.

(4) For all other modes of reimbursement, customer returns the blue copy initialled by Customs within six months, in the prepaid « T » envelope.

IF purchases were made under 6 months ago & you met all conditions above within time-frames required, that is : (1) validated bordereau by Customs;

(2) inspection of purchases by Customs; (3) receipt of initialled blue copy from Customs --

& all you forgot was to mail the prepaid "T" envelope (obtained from Customs) within 6 months after leaving the E.U., you should mail it immediately.

As you can see, the store's only involvement is to prepare a detailed statement of purchases (bordereau) for the customer to present to Customs. The store is not involved with what you need to do with the bordereau, at Customs at departure point.

If you are a new member called Dianeaz who simply joined this one-year old forum for assitance with détaxe, you can see from above what the requirements are to get it. It seems you did not present bordereau & purchases at Customs upon leaving so I do not think you have any recourse now.

I must stress that bordereau of purchases will absolutely be examined & validated by Customs. Customs may decide to inspect the purchases, or not. For this reason, all purchases must be available for Customs inspection (read my reply to Franncis of March 10, 2013, 6:21 p.m. for full details on procedures.)

I hope I've interpreted procedures correctly. In any case, anyone wishing to claim détaxe needs to read the rules carefully & apply them as directed. If the détaxe is still 12% of total purchases & you have missed the occasion to claim it, depending on how much you bought, it may not be a major loss. I hope so for you. At least you'll know how to proceed next time. :-)

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Singapore

Can i do tax refund at Beauvais airport? say i purchase some things, i met all the requirements.
I will fly to Rome from Beauvais airport, and will only leave EUROPE back to Singapore (my home) from MILAN.

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