Tag Archives: Czech Republic

If you’re a tourist – demand a tax refund!

Stop Paying Taxes

Travellers can often claim back local sales tax on high-value goods you’ll be ‘exporting’. Whenever you make a purchase overseas it’s worth asking whether you can seek a refund of sales tax – it is possible throughout most of Europe but not for GST paid in New Zealand, for instance. Local regulations vary but this often involves having the goods and reciept stamped by customs before you depart. You may be paid on the spot, but more frequently you need to mail the stamped form back to the place of purchase for a refund check or electronic credit.

Global Refund - Tax Free ShoppingTwo services Global Tax Refund Tax Free Shopping and Premier Tax Free promise to simplify the process of reimbursement in many (overwealmingly European) countries, although whether you’re interested in the services or not the websites are useful for a guide to European sales tax rates and restrictions (e.g. time limit for export or refund claims).

Both services are designed to simplify and streamline the process and allow you to be reimbursed immediately at their airport kiosk for purchases previously mPremier Tax Freeade at participating merchants who display relevant logo. If you forget or don’t have a chance to claim at the airport you will often be able to access the refund by mailing the documents from home, but check this in advance. Global Tax Free is the larger with some 230,000 participating merchants in 35 countries, Premier claims around of 75,000 ‘retail partners’ across 15 countries. Both websites offer shopping guides containing a list of participating merchants and specific details of the claims process for each country.

Both of these systems charge a percentage commission (around 4%) for the service, which may or may not be a fair price for avoiding dealings with the local beuracracy.

For a good guide to tax refunds for travellers in Europe see Rick Steves’ guide.

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[Image by Jahat]

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Extra! Extra! London more expensive than Warsaw

 Warsaw Royal Castle A survey by the UK Post Office Travel Service has found Warsaw to be the cheapest of ten ‘cultural captials’, with London shockingly rated as the most expensive:

For around £75 price tag tourists can enjoy a trip including visits to Warsaw’s historic art galleries, museums and heritage sites, together with nights at the renowned Polish National Opera, ballet and a symphony concert. The experience cost less than 25 per cent of the equivalent London cost. (TravelWeekly)

The survey measured the cost of admission to three top museums or galleries and three heritage sites, and tickets to an orchestral performance, opera and ballet. Prague, Lisbon and Amsterdam also fared well in the economy stakes, compared to Rome, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona and New York.

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[Image via Kevin’s Gadgets]

European cheap sleeps

ClinkIn my round-up of tips and hints earlier today I left out this article from The Age Nights of Cheap Splendor. In hindsight I’m glad because it deserves to be highlighted, it really is a belter if you’re looking for a place to stay in Europe. Highlights include the Clink Hostel in London, a restored London courthouse, that starts at $25 a night, converted first class rail carriages in the Scottish highlands, a treehouse in Norway and Colditz castle which was (without intending to reinforce any unfair negative stereotypes of hostels) a prisoner of war camp.

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90 days don’t go so far any more

Schengen AgreementThe Sunday Telegraph had an article worth reading about the ramifactions of EU enlargement for Australian travellers to Europe. The accession of nine Eastern European countries to the EU, and to the Schengen Agreement makes it much easier for Australians to travel to those countries as a 90 day Schengen visa will be issued on arrival. However, the sting in the tail is this – because Australian travellers are still only allowed to stay in the area covered by the convention (which also includes most of Western Europe, coloured blue in the map) for ninety days in a six month period. these nine new countries are included in the same ninety days as France, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, etc, the likelihood of Australian travellers wishing to exceed the total 90 days is greatly increased.

The article also observes that

An emerging problem arises from travellers booking flights themselves over the internet, and therefore being unaware of visa requirements.

Then, when they’re checking in at the airport, they discover the airline won’t carry them because their paperwork isn’t in order.

“That can obviously be a pretty big problem for the traveller, yet it happens quite frequently; it’s a pretty common occurrence,” Mr Derbyshire says.

A sage reminded to be extra careful if you’re travelling through a number of countries.

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