VAT (value added tax) refund / PABLO
Launched on 1 January 2014, PABLO is an online application which allows you to do your VAT refund procedure without presenting yourself to a customs desk (stamp).
More information on the Customs website :http://www.douane.gouv.fr/articles/a10805-detaxe-presentation-de-pablo
To read the PABLO brochure (PDF, 1,08Mo), click here
Who is entitled for a VAT refund?
You must be:
• A resident in another country at the date of purchase,
• And visiting France for less than six months.
You must be able to provide proof of both these requirements at the time of purchase (ID if you are a foreign national; a consulate registration card or any other documentary proof if you are French and reside outside the EU).
The following are not entitled to VAT refunds:
• Residents of a European Union Member State;
• Residents of French overseas departments (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion) and the overseas authorities of St. Barthelemy and the French part of Saint Martin;
• Members of diplomatic or consular missions and international organizations who are posted to France;
• Students and trainees residing over six months of the year in France;
• Immigrant workers (even if returning permanently to their country of origin);
• Residents of Monaco;
• Minors aged fifteen or under.
Which goods are eligible for a VAT refund?
The goods you buy must be retail purchases made as a visitor and must not be for commercial purposes.
Warning: Because of their specific nature, some goods are not eligible for a VAT refund. They include:
Some consumer goods:
• Manufactured tobaccos.
Goods covered by special controls, such as:
• Goods subject to special formalities (Washington Convention, end-use control procedure, licensing, etc.)
• Petroleum products
• Postage stamps
• Cultural goods
• Private means of transport, including their accessories and provisioning (supplies, fuel, etc.).
For the last three categories of goods, there are specific exceptions for which VAT refunds are possible. Please contact the Customs service for further information (details at end of leafl et).
How to obtain a VAT refund?
The goods that you buy must be retail purchases made as a visitor and must not be for commercial purposes.
The total value of your purchases (including VAT) at a single shop on the same day must be over €175.
When you make your purchase the retailer will give you a VAT refund form. The two pages of the form must be signed by the retailer and yourself. By signing both sheets, you are undertaking to complete certain formalities.
Before checking your luggage, you must present the goods and the form together for certification by Customs, at the time of your definite departure from the European Union.
If you are leaving the European Union from France
If your form must be manually certified, French Customs will give you back both sheets of your form, stamped with a Customs stamp.
• You must post the Customs-stamped pink sheet to the retailer
• You must keep the green sheet in the event of any dispute
If your form can be electronically certified at a PABLO station, the message “OK Bordereau validé” (OK, form validated) will appear, confirming that the goods have been exported. This is the equivalent of a Customs stamp. You do not need to mail the retailer one of the form’s sheets. He or she will be notified directly of the electronic certification.
Warning: The goods must be available for Customs inspection when the forms are stamped. Failure to present them will result in the cancellation of the forms and a possible fine.
Regularization of VAT refunds
In exceptional circumstances and when duly justified, upon return to Australia, forms that were not stamped on departure from the European Union, may be presented to French Consular Authorities for consideration.
The Consulate-General of France in Sydney is authorized to certify that goods, bought in France under the tax refund scheme, have been imported into Australia.
However, certification can only be done on condition that the actual goods are presented to a French Consular Official :
- in their original packaging
- with the price tag still attached.
Prior to presenting the goods, a written request has to be sent to the Consulate-General of France in Sydney stating the reasons that prevented the traveller from completing Customs’ formalities for export, and, include the copy of the following documents:
- boarding pass
- receipt of purchase(s)
- VAT refund form.
Should the Consulate-General consider the request favorably, contact will be made with the applicant for completion of all other formalities.
Please note :
- A fee is applicable for each certificate issued and one certificate is issued per form.
- An appointment to meet with a French consular Official is compulsory
For any further information, please send an email to the customs section of the Consulate-General of France
Information is also available on the French Customs website