We plan to visit Paris – and shop. :-) soon. To my understanding, we are not allowed to use the items purchased in France before applying for VAT refund. Is it still the case? And do we have to keep all the items in their original boxes?
Dear Paris Shopper:
In our experience, we are not aware of a requirement that items purchased in France must remain unused and in their original box until after applying for the VAT refund.
However, when applying for the VAT refund at the airport before leaving France, it is important to have all the receipts, VAT forms, and items available if the Customs Agent asks to see the item(s) purchased.
In addition, it is important that you claim ALL of your purchases when returning from your travels abroad. Be sure to have all of your receipts organized and ready to show the customs officer if asked. And be prepared to show the items you purchased which may be packed in your carry on or checked luggage. Do not try to hide any purchases or deceive the customs officer. If caught, you will be assessed a higher tax and could be penalized further by paying a penalty tax and having your passport flagged for all future travel.
Our advice is to always be honest and declare all your purchases abroad!
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