For shopaholics, traveling abroad equals (a lot of) tax-free shopping. A Dutch app, launched yesterday during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, is their dream come true. Vatfree.com enables travelers and expats to smoothly claim back their VAT by uploading stamped receipts, cutting out the need to visit service desks at airports. The app is available for both iOS and Android.
Travelers unaware claiming back VAT
“Every year over 3,3 million tourists from outside the EU visit The Netherlands alone. Over 70% of these travelers are unaware of the fact that they can claim back their VAT over all purchases made in the EU. On average they, therefore, leave almost 80 euro behind per person”, states Joni de Vogel-Smeenk, founder of vatfree.com (image above). “Our purpose is to enable travelers to easily shop Tax-Free at brands and stores that love them back.”
Transparency and simplicity
Travelers can claim back their VAT in four easy steps. When making a purchase, the customer asks for a receipt stating their name, country of residence and passport number. When leaving the EU the customer has his receipts stamped by customs to validate them for a VAT refund. After this, he simply uploads the receipts through the vatfree.com app. The stamped purchase receipts can then be dropped at one of the vatfree.com dropboxes at Schiphol Airport or sent in through the mail. After submitting their receipts, the status of their refund can be followed during the process.
Winner BIG-small Pitch Startup Event
During the Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona, vatfree.com was one of the twenty selected start-ups to pitch and present their mobile solution at the Holland Pavillion, an initiative of the Netherlands Entreprise Agency (RVO). Yesterday, they won the BIG-small Pitch Startup Event among other startups that focus on impact in the fields of security, IT, smart city, IoT, cloud, and privacy. The jury valued its business model, scalability and market opportunities the most. UNIIQ, the regional investment fund of the Dutch province of South-Holland, will back the ten finalists with their international ambitions.