Lovably referred to as the ‘Emerald Isle,’ Ireland is a land of rich history, captivating environments, and warm hospitality. Featuring a perfect mish-mash of city and hilly areas combined with a rugged coastline and beautiful rural landscapes, the country offers an abundance of diverse experiences. There is no denying that Ireland’s natural beauty is world-renowned, most notably the Cliffs of Moher and Giant’s Causeway, along with numerous national parks that offer hiking, boating, and biking opportunities. And its vibrant nightlife welcomes travelers to enjoy its traditional music, hearty cuisines, and lively pubs.

Ireland is also home to several Neolithic sites where visitors can explore medieval castles such as Blarney Castle or Kilkenny Castle, ultimately allowing the world to learn about the country’s role in the Norman and Viking invasions. Additionally, Ireland is also famous for its blankets, sweaters, bee products, and lemon soaps. So, if you have recently been to Ireland and have made a few purchases for which you want to claim a refund on the tax you paid, then you can easily do so by following our extensive guide laid out below.

Here are Steps to Claim Refund

Under the Retail Export Scheme of Ireland, a traveler or a tourist who is a resident outside of the EU (European Union), excluding Northern Ireland, will be eligible to claim a refund for the VAT (Value Added Tax) paid on the qualified goods purchased within the country. However, the eligible refund can only be obtained if the goods are exported from the EU by the tourist or traveler within three months of purchase. As a result, a proof of purchase and a proof of export are required.

Since December 31, 2020, there have been more developments regarding eligible travelers who can take advantage of Ireland’s Retail Export Scheme. For starters, residents of Northern Ireland are now not eligible to avail themselves of the benefits of the Retail Export Scheme. Secondly, residents of Great Britain have to fulfill extra conditions when presenting proof of export.

It should be known that claims for VAT refunds are controlled or addressed by the retailer or the refund agent with whom you have been dealing. The Revenue Commissioners will not be responsible for refunding tax under the Retail Export Scheme. To start your refund process, follow the suggested steps below judiciously.

  1. Before you make your purchase from any retailer or shop in Ireland, confirm whether the relevant shop or retailer operates under the Retail Export Scheme. This is because not all retailers do so. Additionally, you also need to learn whether the retailer carries out the refund on his or her own or uses the services of a refund agent.
  2. Once you make a qualifying purchase, you will receive an export voucher. Each purchase will have a different export voucher.
  3. The export voucher(s) that you will receive will have to be left in the customs drop-box at the time of departure from the country.
  4. After that, the customs department will send back the export voucher(s) to the retailer, as it will act as proof of export.
  5. The retailer or shop will then process the refund for the VAT you have paid on the qualifying purchased item(s).

Remember that the retailer or shop will have a maximum of 25 days to issue the refund from the date of receiving the certified export voucher from the customs department. And if you are dealing with a refund agent, then you have to follow the specific processes denoted by the refund agent. However, the process of submission of the export voucher and the maximum time limit for providing the refund (25 days) will remain the same.

Additionally, residents of Great Britain, befrom the aforementioned requirements, have to provide further evidence that the qualifying item(s) have been imported into Great Britain and that the import taxes (wherever appropriate) have been paid.

Know the Requirements

As previously mentioned, the Retail Export Scheme of Ireland can only be utilized by tourists or travelers visiting the country from outside the EU. People visiting from Great Britain will also be included in this scheme, but not residents of Northern Ireland. Additionally, the following categories of people will not be able to take advantage of this scheme: any person residing in Ireland, Northern Ireland, or any EU member state; nationals of non-EU states residing in Ireland; and EU or Irish citizens when leaving Ireland to take up residency outside of the EU.

When you make a purchase at a retailer or shop in Ireland and you wish to obtain a VAT refund, you should be able to prove to the retailer or shop that you are a tourist or a traveler. To do that, you can provide any of the below-mentioned documents: evidence of your place of residence; evidence of your inbound and outbound travel dates; and a signed declaration confirming that you are a traveler or tourist and that you will export the goods under the terms and conditions of the Retail Export Scheme.

Talking about the types of purchases on which you can reclaim the VAT paid, it is clarified that the value of the goods must be over 75 euros and should only be for the private use of the traveler or tourist. And for goods that cost 2,000 euros or more, all sales-related documents (certificate of origin, guarantee, etc.) along with the export voucher must be presented to a customs officer during departure from the country. Lastly, no VAT refund can be obtained on services.

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Finance Guide,

Last Update: November 27, 2023