Schiphol offers VAT refunds

May 15, 1994|By New York Times News Service

International passengers traveling through Amsterdam Airport Schiphol may now obtain value-added tax refunds there on purchases made in any of the 12 countries of the European Union. The airport is among the most recent to offer the service, which is also available at airports in other European cities.

Formerly only departing passengers were able to collect their refunds, and only on merchandise bought in the Netherlands. The new arrangement allows even those who are just changing planes in Amsterdam to complete this transaction.

Refunds of the value-added tax (VAT) are available on merchandise purchased at stores affiliated with Europe Tax-Free Shopping. International passengers who make purchases at an affiliated store receive a certificate that must be stamped by customs at the airport. The certificate can be redeemed for cash in any major currency at one of several airport offices of ABN AMRO or at the airport branch of GWK, both major Dutch banks.

There is no service charge, but a minimum purchase is required for a refund. In the Netherlands, at least 300 guilders (about $160) must be spent in one shop in a day.

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