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It doesn’t sound bad, does it? Getting over 20% back on clothing, handbags, electronics, or anything else you buy while you visit Spain is not too good to be true. It is something we do every single time we visit Spain, and we recommend you try it as well. It is fully legal and you just have to know how it is done. Every time you are at airports you see the Tax Free stores. Following this guide is how you make every store a Tax Free store.
Buying tax free at the airport is not big deal. The stores do not charge the 21% sales tax, so you don’t ever have to deal with it. However, if you stop by one of the many shopping malls or local stores, you will always be charged sales tax at a rate of 21%. Getting over a fifth of the purchase price back is like having your very own sale everywhere you go. It is even better when you shop at one of the many outlet malls, where they are already giving you a discount over regular stores. We just went to Plaza Mayor ourselves, and not only were the prices much lower, they even had a 20% sale on the already reduced price. On top of that I knew I would get another 21% off.
An example is a pair of Diesel Jeans that I purchased while at Plaza Mayor. The original price of the jeans was 160 euro. That is what they would cost at a regular, Spanish Diesel store. Because this was an outlet store, the price was already reduced to 120 euro. Plaza Mayor had a sale going on all month, which gave me another 20% off. That brought the purchase price, in the store, down to 96 euro. Not bad, but not good enough! Once at the airport on our departure date we collected 20 euros, in CASH! The jeans that had started out at 160 euro were actually purchased for 76 euro or at a 52.5% discount over full price!
Below is a step by step instructional guide to getting the 21% sales tax back. You’ll have to do the research yourself to find the good starting price deals, but Plaza Mayor is a GREAT place to start!
- When you go shopping in Spain, be sure to bring your passport.
- Be sure to buy for at least 90 euros per store. Tax free rules only apply to purchases over this amount. Try combining your purchases with friends to make it above this magical number.
- At the time of purchase be sure to tell the cashier that you want to purchase it tax free. Look for a sign that says “Global Blue – Tax Free” in the store. You might have to take your receipt to customer service, as they can’t always do this at the cash register (Wortens is an example).
- Fill in the Tax Free document they give you. Most likely they will need to see your passport before they give you the document. It asks for passport number, name and address. Quick and easy to fill in.
That does it for the shopping aspect of it. The next few steps are for the day of your departure from Spain. You need to get your Tax Free documents stamped BEFORE you go through security, but the stamp office won’t process your paperwork unless you have a boarding pass.
To obtain a boarding pass without checking your bags yet, do the following:
- Go to the airline’s check-in desk, as if you are going to check your luggage
- Tell them that you need to get your boarding pass, but that you do not want to check your luggage yet, as you need to show it to the Tax Free office.
- Collect your boarding pass and go to the VAT Refund stamp office
At Malaga airport the VAT Refund office is located to the right of the security checkpoint. Go there and show them your passport, boarding pass, and all of your tax free receipts. Be sure you receive a stamp on EACH tax free document.
- Go back to the airline’s check-in area, and finish checking in your luggage.
- Go through security and head towards gate D42. Just to the left of the gate you will see an office called “Airport Exchange Exact”. Give them your passport, your stamped tax free document, AND your receipts. Without the receipt they will not process the paperwork.
- Collect your money!
That is it! You end up with 21% cash back, in your hand, right there at the airport. The baguettes never looked so tempting, now that you have this “free” money! If you made your purchases by credit or debit card, you do have the option to get the money put back onto your card. This is a good solution if you do not want to have money returned to you in Euro. The same office that gives you money is also a currency exchange office, so they can give you money in your preferred currency, however you will have to pay their exchange fees. You will get ALL of the sales tax back if you collect in Euro or if you get your money back on your card. To get the refund back on your card simply take the stamped tax free document and the receipts and mail it to the address shown on your tax free papers. Processing will take a few days, but you will get it eventually. However, for us at least there is something to be said about having cash in hand, versus waiting for the mail.
That is it. Try it next time you come visit us in La Cala de Mijas, Malaga. It is quick, it is simple, and the few minutes it takes pays for themselves very well. At the bare minimum you will collect 18 euro in cash, if you made a 90 euro purchase. If you shop for clothing once or twice per year, when you are in Malaga, Spain, then you will end up with a lot more!
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Welcome to our Homes
Thank you for your interest in our Two Vacation Rentals in La Cala de Mijas, Spain. Both are in the same complex, have private Jacuzzis on the terrace, 28000 square meters of Sub-Tropical gardens, 2 saltwater Swimming Pools, and all within walking distance to the beach!
Where are we?
Our 2 Vacation Rental homes are located in La Cala de Mijas on Costa del Sol in southern Spain. La Cala is an old fishing village, with tons of charm, cobblestone streets, Moore ruins, an excellent "Blue Flag"-rated Beach and Restaurants from around the world