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VAT Rates in the EU.

Is your business importing goods from abroad, or are you preparing for your travels? Learn how you can make VAT rates work in your favour.
VAT Rates

How does VAT work in the EU?

VAT (value added tax) is a type of consumption tax. Governments in EU countries apply it on the sale of goods and services.

VAT isn’t paid by businesses — instead, it’s charged to consumers in the price of goods, and collected by businesses, making it an indirect tax. Businesses are then responsible for reporting it to the government.

EU VAT works on the ‘destination principle’. VAT is paid to the government of the EU country of import because it is a consumption tax so is paid where the goods are consumed. For example, if a consumer living in France buys a pair of trainers from Italy, VAT is paid to the French government at the applicable French rate.

How does VAT work in the EU?

Learn more about VAT rates around the EU.

If you're doing business in the UK, or visiting another member state, it can be useful to understand how much VAT is in that country, and what your responsibilities are. Choose an EU country to find its VAT rates.
Country

EU VAT rates.

CountryStandard VAT rateFirst reduced rateSecond reduced rateSuper reduced rate

Austria

20%

13%

10%

Belgium

21%

12%

6%

Bulgaria

20%

9%

Cyprus

19%

9%

5%

Czech Republic

21%

15%

10%

Croatia

25%

13%

5%

Denmark

25%

Estonia

20%

9%

Finland

24%

14%

10%

France

20%

10%

5.5%

2.1%

Germany

19%

7%

Greece

24%

13%

6%

Hungary

27%

18%

5%

Ireland

23%

13.5%

9%

4.8%

Italy

22%

10%

5%

4%

Latvia

21%

12%

5%

Lithuania

21%

9%

5%

Luxembourg

17%

8%

3%

Malta

18%

7%

5%

The Netherlands

21%

9%

Poland

23%

8%

5%

Portugal

23%

13%

6%

Romania

19%

9%

5%

Slovakia

20%

10%

Slovenia

22%

9.5%

Spain

21%

10%

4%

Sweden

25%

12%

6%

VAT for businesses.

If you’re running a business, there are a few things you should know about VAT.

How does VAT work in the EU?

Importing goods from abroad? Find a cheaper alternative.

If you are interested in how to calculate VAT – Calculate your VAT here.

VAT for businesses.

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Tax-free shopping - VAT for travellers.

So, you’ve done some shopping abroad, and paid a healthy amount of money for VAT. The good thing is you can often get the amount refunded once you’ve returned home.

For example, European Union residents can get a VAT refund on goods bought in Singapore from a retailer that offers tax-free shopping.

The conditions for a VAT refund are different in every country and should be checked according to your destination — there’s usually a minimum purchase amount, and some exceptions to be considered.

If you’re planning on visiting any of these countries, have a look at their rules for tax-free shopping. And if you’d like to save even more money, don’t miss out on the travel money debit card from Wise, and spend in shops or online at the real exchange rate.

Tax-free shopping - VAT for travellers.

VAT Refund.

When you’ve visited the EU, you’ll be able to get a VAT refund on items bought if:

  • You live outside the EU and are going back home
  • You’re an EU resident and are leaving the EU for 12 months or more

Each European country has a couple of additional rules for reclaiming VAT, click on a country in the table above to find out more.

There are multiple ways of receiving the refund — either get paid immediately at a refund booth at the airport or send the approved form to a refund company.

VAT Refund.

How to get a VAT refund in 3 simple steps?

Application form

Application form

Get a Tax Refund Application Form from the retailer. You might also be asked to show your passport to check that you’re eligible.

Customs check

Customs check

At customs, present your passport, VAT form(s), VAT invoice(s) and the tax-free goods.

Refund approved

Refund approved

If all the criteria is met, customs will approve your form. You’ll get a signed form that allows you to receive the refund.

FAQ about VAT rate.

When importing goods from the EU into the UK or another European Union member state, you pay VAT at the rate of the country you are importing into.

For more information on those rates, head to the table above.

There are a few goods and services that are exempt from VAT and are not taxable. They include:

  • Medical and dental care
  • Insurance and financial services
  • Social services
  • Education
  • Certain intra-EU supplies
  • Exports of goods outside the EU

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