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Engagement ring VAT refund as Irish non-resident - am I eligible?

  • 19-10-2014 4:05pm
    Registered Users Posts: 3

    Hi everyone, I'd really appreciate any info/advice on claiming a VAT refund for an engagement ring.

    We are planning on getting an engagement ring in Ireland when we return home for Christmas this year. We are Irish citizens, Canadian permanent residents and have lived in Canada for 4 years returning every Christmas for holidays. We'd like to know if we are eligible to claim VAT back on the cost of the ring in Ireland. We were fairly sure we were eligible, having lived outside the country for more than 12 months, but I checked the website and it says "who cannot use the scheme - Irish (or E.U.) citizens who, having taken up residence outside the E.U. for 12 consecutive months, return on a visit (e.g. for holidays or business within those first twelve months)."

    Since we return every Christmas and within a calendar year, does this mean we are not eligible for a tax refund? We went to look at rings last year and the jeweller immediately suggested we claim tax back at the airport but didn't go into detail. If we get a refund, we'd have more to spend on a ring (yay!) but if not we don't want to overstretch our budget.

    Do any emigrants have experience with claiming tax back on engagement/wedding rings?

    Thanks in advance, any information is appreciated!


  • Registered Users Posts: 108 ✭✭coats

    My dad lived in Jersey for a number of years and he was always able to claim his VAT back at the airport when leaving Ireland with his proof of address

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,351 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus

    No, you're fine. During the first twelve months of your Canadian residence, if you have visited Ireland and bought something you would not have been eligible for a VAT refund. But you're fine now.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,017 ✭✭✭Crow92

    I went back for a trip and bought some things, got one of them vat tax back cards that the shop puts the amount of vat on it.
    They had self service kiosks at the airport you can just put in your details and that's all, got processed and took about 2-3 weeks or so to get the money sent to my bank account.
    No one asked me anything about where I was from etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7 RHN Ireland

    It might be worth saying this to the retailer at the time. They might well have the claim forms in the shop. I used to work in a tourist shop and if I remember correctly in some cases we didn't need to charge the VAT at all.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3 Kaitkx

    Thanks everyone for your replies!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,625 ✭✭✭AngryHippie

    Hell yeah you are.

    I got engagement and wedding rings for a very decent price and used FEXCO to claim all the VAT back.
    Major win considering E5k worth overall.

  • Registered Users Posts: 737 ✭✭✭Morgase

    Hi, I'm posting this from my girlfriend's account (I'm not signed up here), but I thought I could answer your question.

    I actually work for a company that processes VAT refunds for non-EU residents, and I can safely say that you are totally eligible. The important factor is not your nationality or citizenship, but your residence. Having been a Canadian resident for four years, you are entitled to claim back the VAT on any goods you buy for personal use in Ireland and then export out of the country.

    The "returning within twelve months" clause simply means that you would not have been eligible to claim on any purchases when you first left for Canada (four years ago) as you intended to return on a visit within the year. Any future visits or purchases beyond the twelve months -- when you have established residency in a non-EU country -- can safely ignore this and only care about where you are resident now. I'd say a good 25% of our claimants are Irish people living abroad in the USA or UAE, for example, who return home once or twice a year in order to see family and spend a fortune in Arnotts!

    Since you are well over the twelve months, you are fine.

    One word of advice: make sure your retailer actually works with a tax refunding agent before you make the purchase. It's not a compulsory scheme, and so some stores don't opt in at all, preferring to avoid the hassle. If you shop in such a store, getting your VAT back is an absolute pain in the hole, because you have to apply directly to the government, who will probably take years to get back to you, and only then to say they've misplaced your claim. Claiming through a VAT refunding agent is relatively painless, so make sure your potential store is signed up with one. Most will be, but just check in advance to be certain. I know that Weir & Sons, Boodles and Paul Sheeran Jewellers (all on Grafton Street) definitely offer the VAT refunding service.

    When making the purchase, all you do is ask the retailer to produce a VAT refunding form at the time of the sale, as it CANNOT be created in retrospect - the retailer themselves has to create the form and sign it there and then in order to prove the authenticity of the sale. Since you will have Irish accents some retailers may not instinctively offer the service to you, so just make it absolutely clear all the way through the sale that you want one.

    Once you've got the form, make sure you fully fill it out, then return it to the appropriate refunding company, either by post or using their kiosks at the airport - both FEXCO and Tax Free Worldwide have desks at Shannon Airport and Dublin Airport Terminal 2, and drop-off boxes at Dublin Airport Teminal 1. And if your purchase is for €2,000 or more, then you MUST have the form stamped by Irish customs at the airport when you leave Ireland - if you don't do this then the form is invalid, and it's a real rigmarole getting it approved, involving visiting Notaries in Canada and all sorts of other proof needing to be submitted. If the claim is for less than €2,000 then it doesn't need to be stamped when you leave, as the VAT refund agent will take care of that for you. Please note that the €2,000 threshold applies to the total value of the sale, and NOT just the refund amount (so even if you only stand to get back €350, if the sales value of the transaction is over €2,000, you need a customs stamp).

    But despite all those paragraphs, it's actually very simple:
    1. Check the store works with a VAT refund agent.
    2. Get the store to create a refund form for you when you make the purchase.
    3. Fully complete the form.
    4. Get a customs stamp if the value of the sale was €2,000 or more.
    5. Return the form to the appropriate refund agent, either via post or at their desk in the airport.
    6. Wait a few weeks, then receive your VAT refund.

    If you need any more information then please don't hesitate to PM this account - my girlfriend will pass the message on to me. And if you do go ahead and buy something, then let me know; if it's from one of the stores we work with, I'll try and make sure your claim gets processed expeditiously.

    I hope all that has helped!

  • Registered Users Posts: 3 Kaitkx

    Thanks for all the information Morgase! I have a couple of questions that I will PM you now.