Tax-Free Purchases

The Consulate General does not handle VAT refund requests. These are handled by the French customs authorities. It is not the responsibility of the Consulate General to follow up on refund requests.

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Tax-Free Shopping: How does it Work?

Export Sales Slips allow travelers who live outside the European Union and who are passing through France for less than 6 months to be exempted from export VAT for certain goods.

To find out the terms and conditions of tax-free sales refer to the information notice produced by the French customs services:

PDF - 462.2 kb
Tax Refund brochure
(PDF - 462.2 kb)












The purchase must be a retail sale that is touristic in nature and not of a commercial nature. The process can be used for a purchase over the internet, as long as it is delivered in France and the Export Sales Slip is given at the same time as the merchandise so that it can be stamped before departure.

Procedures when Leaving the European Territory

The traveler must present the sales slip provided by the store as well as the goods that were purchased to the customs office at the customs office at the final point of exit from the European Union within a maximum period of three months following the date of purchase.


PABLO

The Pablo Procedure

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Starting January 1, 2014, stores must issue PABLO sales slips (program for clearing slips by optical barcode reading). These computer slips, which have a barcode and the PABLO logo, must be scanned before departure.

Thanks to this electronic procedure which is now offered by the customs services, travelers are no longer obliged to go to the customs counter to have his or her PABLO slips validated before departure. They can now go to one of the PABLO terminals, which are self-service, with instructions in English on how to have his or her slip scanned and obtain the electronic signature for the slips to be processed.

These Kiosks make it possible for travelers to initiate the VAT refund process more quickly. Depending on the option that was chosen at the time of purchase, the traveler may request a refund of his or her VAT before departure.

I am leaving France, where can I find the PABLO terminals?

These terminals are available at the airports of Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle, Orly, Lyon St-Exupéry, Marseille-Provence, Nice-Côte d’Azur, Geneva-Cointrin, the port of Marseille and the customs offices in Saint-Julien en Bardonnex, Pontarlier et Vallard (Swiss border). Travelers can choose to have the information on the terminal screens in English.

At Paris-Orly
At the South terminal, departure level, gate G.

At Paris Roissy-Charles de Gaulle
Terminal 1 : CDGVAL level, hall 6.
Terminal 2 A: near arrivals, exit gate 5.
Terminal 2 C: near arrivals, exit 12.
Terminal 2 D: near arrivals, exit 6.
Terminal 2 E: Departures level, exit door 4.
Terminal 2 F: Arrivals level.
Terminal 3: Departures level.

Generally speaking, the terminals will be located near the customs counters.

How to carry out the tax refund procedures with the PABLO slips before departure?

- Go to the PABLO terminal. If you are leaving from an airport, you must go to the PABLO terminal before you check-in your bags, with your passport, your plane ticket, the PABLO slip and the items that are concerned in hand;

- Place the barcode of your PABLO sales slip in front of the optical reader of the terminal in order for it to be read and validated;

- The electronic message that appears on the terminal screen that reads “OK slip confirmed” is equivalent to a customs stamp;

- An electronic confirmation will be sent to the merchant as soon as receipt of the slip has been stamped by PABLO, the merchant can then immediately initiate the reimbursement procedure.

The process for regularizing your sales slips through the Consulate

PRINCIPLE

Obtaining the stamp on your sales slip that will start the VAT reimbursement process, after leaving the country where goods were purchased, can only be done under exceptional circumstances.

This procedure is not available to travelers who didn’t present their sales slip/and or merchandise when they left the territory of the EU, according to the instructions they agreed to do when they signed the sales slip.

It can only be used when the sales slip could not be scanned and signed at the customs office for reasons having to do with the operations of the customs offices (absences, momentary interruption, dysfunction in the PABLO application).

This procedure allows travelers who have left the EU without having had their sales slips stamped for these reasons only and under certain other conditions, to request these slips to be stamped after the goods have already been exported.

To this end, there are two options:

- The traveler is able to present a receipt from the customs service from the US custom which certifies that he has paid the required duties and taxes ;

- The traveler goes to the consulate of his place of residence with the tax refund slip(s) and the good s/he purchased to receive a certificate which attests to the fact that s/he presented the goods that were that were purchased to the consular authorities.

Timeline and cost

You must go to the Consulate in person and by appointment only

To request and appointment, please send an email to the following address:
contact@consulfrance-chicago.org explaining the reasons why you could not complete the tax refund formalities before leaving the EU.

During your appointment at the Consulate you will present:

- your passport ;
- all the unpacked goods mentioned on the tax refund slip(s) ;
- the sales tax slip(s) ;
- the dollar equivalent of 27 euros per tax refund slip (check the current rates under the chancellery tariffs section - line "Détaxe à l’exportation").

Sending the request for regularization through the Consulate

You must send your request for regularization to the regional customs directorate that has jurisdiction over the territory you left in the EU, within 6 months of the date of the purchase of the goods.

For the Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport:
Direction Régionale des Douanes et Droits Indirects
Rue du Signe
BP 16108
95701 Roissy CDG Cedex
France

For Orly airport:
Direction régionale des Douanes
7 Allée du Commandant Mouchotte
Orlytech
94546 Orly Aérogare Ouest
France

For other airports:
Consult the customs services directory.

When you made your purchases in France but left the territory of the EU via another member state:
Direction régionale des douanes de Paris
16 rue Yves Toudic
75010 Paris
France

If you travelled internationally by train and were not able to have the tax refund slips stamped during the trip or at the border station (leaving the European Union) by the customs service:
Direction générale des douanes françaises bureau F1
11 rue des 2 Communes
93558 Montreuil cedex

You will need to indicate:
- The reasons that prevented you from completing the customs export formalities ;
- The name of the exit Schengen airport and the date you exited the EU.

You will need to attach:
- An official document that proves that your habitual residence lies outside the EU and that your stay in France was for less than six months (copy of passport, identity document, consular card, residency card, etc) ;
- Proof that the goods have been exported. This proof can be provided by:
- Presenting a receipt from the customs service in your country of residence which certifies that you have paid the taxes and duties in force there ;
- Presenting a certificate of presentation of goods issued by the Consulate.
- A copy of your ticket.

For more information

Direction Générale des douanes et des droits indirects
Infos Douane Service
Outside Mainland France or abroad: +33 1 72 40 78 50

Price of a local call from a landline
Website: www.douane.gouv.fr
English : https://www.douane.gouv.fr/french-customs-information-available-english
E-mail: ids@douane.finances.gouv.fr

Brochure: Tax Refunds for your purchase in France

French customs - Information in English

Last modified on 14/06/2022

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