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Tax issues for Netherlands purchases by US citizen?

Discussion forum for expats moving to or living in The Netherlands.

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Tax issues for Netherlands purchases by US citizen?

Post Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:59 pm

Does Netherlands allow BTW refunds for non-residents like many other countries?

If I am correctly reading www2.deloitte.com/cont...e-2015.pdf (page 189-191), VAT (BTW in Dutch) on purchases in Netherlands can only be refunded for business supplies and not things that tourists buy. But that seems hard to believe, given how many other countries like to help out tourists.

The document says you have to go through an electronic portal in the country you are registered in. Does that mean I have to register on their website for a password and claim a refund in the same place, or wait till I get "home" to claim it? I was thinking of picking it up at their shop to avoid shipping (plus there's too much risk of not getting it before I leave USA in twelve days).

In Spain and Perú, you have to have the shop prepare a special form at time of purchase. Not sure what Netherlands requires, nor did the shop owner know. I'm surprised this is not a duplicate, but all the suggestions are U.K.

What do I have to do to get a refund of Netherlands BTW?

Can I also get the refund if I order from USA and have it shipped here?

If I do get the refund, for a €700 bicycle accessory (trailer that doubles as a travel case for the bike), what, if any, is USA going to charge me on my return? Is that the same whether bought there and carried back, or bought online and shipped in?

If I DON'T get the refund, will USA CBP waive the US tariff (if any)?


Wes Groleau
Happy Hobo


Regular Poster
Regular Poster
Re: Tax issues for Netherlands purchases by US citizen?

Post Posted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:20 am

Found the best option (if everyone is honest). According to the Tax and Customs Administration, I can get a receipt signed¹, send it to the shop, and the shop can issue a refund. The downside is that if the shop doesn't give a refund, I'm no longer in EU so it's hard to do anything about it. But (hard to believe the theory matches the reality), any EU country can sign it (stamp it) as I leave. And the leaving has to be less than ninety days after the purchase.

I could go to "vatfree" or one of the other companies mentioned in this Shiphol document. Three disadvantages there: (1) I have to go to Shiphol for vatfree.com²; (2) I do all the work except for the actual contacting the shop; and (3) they keep almost a third of the tax.

The only thing about getting the receipt stamped in "any EU country" is that I'm a little skeptical that Italy or Poland will certify a Netherlands receipt.

¹I think it's a stamp rather than a signature, and it is a certification that I actually took the thing out of the EU.

²Travelex is everywhere, but their fee is higher and I don't know if all their sites will handle Netherlands purchases.


Wes Groleau
Happy Hobo


Regular Poster
Regular Poster
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