In Denmark there is a Value Added Tax or VAT on almost all goods. So, everything you can buy as a tourist in the shops of Copenhagen, has an extra 25% already added on top of the price. That means that those shoes you bought at a price of 1000 DKK, you can get 200 DKK back on.
How do I get the return?
You have two options. Both involve asking the shop assistant for a tax-refund.
- Some shops will have made an arrangement with either – Global Blue and Tax Free Worldwide (also called Premier and to make things even more confusing, the company behind is called Planet), which are two tax-refund services, that do all (actually not all of it) the paperwork and take a fee for doing so. Both use the same procedure – fill out the provided tax-free form, get it stamped at customs in Terminal 3 and get your refund at one of their booths.
- If the shop you purchased your goods at, doesn’t have an arrangement with either of the above-mentioned companies, you can still get a tax-refund, but only if the shop is willing to assist you and they are not obliged to do so. The good news though is, that if they will assist you, you can get the full tax-refund of 20% of the purchase price, instead of the 12-19% you can expect from Global Blue or Tax Free Worldwide. The shop has to provide you with an invoice containing the following information:
- date of purchase
- name and address of the shop
- VAT registration no. of the shop
- your name and address abroad
- description of the goods + price incl. VAT and VAT amount
Be ready to document that you reside outside the EU and show your passport or equivalent ID to the shop. Then when you leave Denmark/EU, you get your customs stamp and send the stamped invoice to the shop, who will then refund the VAT-amount.
Who are eligible for the return?
You have to be a non-EU resident and be in Denmark on holiday. So, if you have studied, worked or have been stationed in Denmark, you can’t get a refund, since your stay doesn’t count as a holiday. To be regarded as a non-EU resident, your official address has to be outside the EU.
In Denmark the minimum value of the goods is 300DKK, before you can get a tax refund. You also have to make sure, you actually export the goods (out of EU) before the end of the third month after the month of purchase. And lastly you either have to take the goods with you when leaving Denmark or send them to a non-EU country.
I forgot to get the form stamped by customs – can I still get the return?
If using any of the two refund services, then no. Unless you re-enter the EU and export the goods again.
If the shop is assisting you with an invoice, you might be in luck. You have to get your stamp by the customs in your own country, to validate that the goods have been imported. In this case you might get the refund, if the Danish customs accept the documentation.
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Can I use the goods before export?
No. Fight the urge to brake in the new pair of shoes! They have to be sealed in original packaging and unused. Customs may refuse to provide the stamp, if the goods are used.
What about services, such as: car rental, hotel and restaurants?
Services are not regarded as exportable goods and therefore not refundable. If you can’t put the goods in your luggage, you can’t get a tax refund.
How long time before I have the money on my account?
If you get your refund at their respective booths in the airport, Global Blue will transfer the money within 5 days and Tax Free Worldwide use up to 30 days for the same procedure.
You can also choose to get the amount in cash (for a fee).
If you wait until you get home, to send the stamped forms to the refund services, additional processing time can be expected.
Download the app
Both Global Blue and Tax Free Worldwide have their own app, which are available on App Store and Google Play. With these you can, among other functions, track your purchases and use the refund calculator, to see what you will actually get as a refund.
Hope that answered all your questions! If it didn’t please comment below and also comment if you have a pro tip, you want to share with fellow travelers.