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France - Duty Free Shopping

Only non-E.U. citizens can buy duty free in France.
Normally you are reimbursed only a portion of the sales taxes upon departure from France at the customs office.


Prior to your purchase, check the store participates in the tax free scheme (not all stores do, the ones that do, often have a sticker that states so). 

To qualify, the shopper needs to be at least 15 years old and prove that your residence is outside the European Union and that you are 15 years old or over. A passport, a consular ID or any other official document attesting that you are not a resident of the European Union would suffice.

The shop assistant will issue a bordereau de détaxe (Retail Export Form) that you must sign and which must be endorsed by Customs within three months of the purchase, when you leave the European Union.

Make sure the shop assistant endorses the Retail Export Form and return it to you. Upon arrival in your country, you should mail a copy of the form to the French store and keep the "customer" copy in case of any possible dispute with the store.


Remember that you are required to show your purchases along with the receipts. If you are travelling by plane and wish to check in the duty free products with your luggage, go to the custom office first to obtain your reimbursement, then proceed to check in. Make sure you have enough time to do this. You may find many people lining up to be attended to.

Customs will keep a copy of the form and you will be handed back one, endorsed by Customs, keep it in case of any possible dispute with the store. 

If you are leaving the country and relocation outside of the EU and you wish to purchase large items like furniture, you can save a portion of VAT taxes (around 12%)  if you have these items delivered to the shipping company or by arranging for the shipping company to pick up the items. Make sure you inform the store of the decision of taking the items outside of the EU, in order to have them prepare the necessary paperwork.