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How to Get Your Sales Tax Refund in Rome

Want to know how to get your VAT tax refund in Rome

If you are not a resident of the EU (European Union) and spend at least 154.94 Euros in one retail store on one day, you are eligible for a refund of part of the sales tax (called the VAT, or value added tax in Europe). For the sake of brevity lets use 155 Euros as the amount.

You don’t have to spend 155 euros on one item. As long as you spend that 155 Euros or more in one store on one day, you’re entitled to get part of that VAT back. This page tells you how to do it with the least hassle in Rome Italy.

tax refund signs in shop windowsLook for the tax refund signs and logos in shop windows

Getting Your VAT Refund in Rome FAQ

Here are the questions I hear most about getting your VAT refund in Rome:

How to be Eligible to Get the Tax Refund in Rome

Procedure While Shopping

Procedure at Customs at the Airport

All About Getting Your VAT refund (actually getting back the money)

Help if you Don't Get Your Tax Refund in Rome

Please note that Romewise is an informational website. We are not related to the tax-refund companies who issue refunds, nor do we have contacts at the Customs office in Rome.

If you have a problem receiving your refund, please contact the company that issues the refund. You can tell which company it is by looking for the logo is on the form you filled out, for example, Global Blue or Premier.

Tax Refund in Rome: Eligibility for the VAT Refund

How do I get the tax back for this thing I just bought?

The official minimum amount you must spend to receive a VAT refund, according to the European Commission, is 175 Euros. However, each country can set a different amount as the minimum. As of 2019, that minimum is 154.94 € in Italy, but you should know it may be different in other EU countries.

When we ran our B&B in Rome, I would often have people show up at the reception with a bag of shoes or clothes, or just a receipt, and ask, how do I get my tax back on this?

Sometimes, the person did not spend 155 Euros in one store, or, did not fill out any forms while in the store.

In either case, there is no way to get the tax back at this point (on some occasions, the person has then gone back to the store on the same day to request the form.

This is certainly worthwhile if you have spent enough money and will get a substantial amount back.

A better plan would be to know before you shop, and fill out the form while in a given store.)

Bottom line is, to be eligible for the tax refund in Rome, you need to:

  1. Be a non-EU resident (not living inside the European Union)
  2. Spend 155 Euros in one store in one day (it does not have to be on one item; as long as the total is 155 Euros or more in one shop in one day)
  3. Not wear or use the item before leaving the EU
  4. And you must fill out the form in the shop where you purchase the item(s.)

Can I get the VAT back on my hotel stay?

The VAT refund is never applicable to services you consume while in the EU. VAT on hotel rooms, meals, entry to museums, etc is 10% but you cannot get this back as you consume this while inside the EU.

Tax Refund in Rome: Procedure while shopping

Before you buy something in Rome, check if the shop participates in a tax-refund program. There is usually a sticker or sign posted in the shop window, or by the cash register, but sometimes it's not obvious. Just ask. You can be sure every major design label (Valentino, Prada, Gucci, etc.) participates.

As long as you spend 155€ or more in one shop in one day, in a store that offers the tax refund in Rome, you will be able to fill out the form. This is the first necessary step to getting your money back. It doesn't take long so just do it!

If possible, make a photocopy of the form for your records.

Some of the forms have duplicates and you get to keep one, but not always.

Can I Get the Tax Back in Any Shop in Rome?

Not all shops participate in the tax refund in Rome program.

It is up to the store manager/owner to sign up for it. Most of the shops in the center do participate, because it attracts foreign tourists like you. If you buy something in a shop that does not participate in a tax refund in Rome program, then you will not be able to get the tax back on what you purchase there.

There are three major companies that offer the tax refund in Rome (although there are a few others). Some shops even offer a choice of which company to use. There may be different percentages of tax back, so ask.

global blue tax refund logo

The one with the most airport locations in Europe is Global Blue. If you have to get your refund in another EU airport, you will likely find Global Blue just about everywhere while the other two are not always available. Don't worry though. You can still get the tax back. See below.

Do I have to carry my passport with me when I shop?

NO. Do NOT do this.

If you get pick-pocketed or otherwise lose your passport, it’s a big headache. Leave your passport in your hotel room.

You should, however, always carry some form of official ID.

And, for the purposes of getting your tax refund in Rome, you should carry a photocopy of your passport. I have mine scanned and available on my phone.

These days, I am finding that either someone in the shop will fill out the tax refund form for me, or there are  machines now that automate everything.

And the passport number MUST be filled out in the store, or they will not give you the form.

Procedure at the Customs Office at the Airport


As of 2017, there are new procedures for getting your tax refund in Rome at Fiumicino airport!

If the invoice was issued in Italy, and only by one of the three big companies (logos above), then you do NOT need to go to the Customs office at all, but rather go directly to the tax refund counter for your refund. 

You MAY want to visit the tax refund counter before you check in for your flight, just IN CASE they ask you to go get the Customs Stamp (better to be cautious). In that case you would need your luggage.

If the invoice was issued in any other country, or by another tax-free company, then continue with the procedure below for getting the Customs stamp and eventual refund:

The below will tell you the different procedures for dealing with your tax refund form, and whether or not you have to get a Customs stamp:

I'm flying out of Rome to my home country, and checking the items in my luggage. What do I do?

This is my favorite scenario for getting a tax refund in Rome because it's the easiest for getting a tax refund in Rome.

I always put my tax-back items in my checked luggage, especially perfumes or clothing. Then I can get everything done in one place.

Make sure you have the tax-refund form handy. Go to the airline check-in counter FIRST before you do anything else.

delta check in counter FCOCheck in first and get your boarding pass. This is the first step to getting the tax refund at Fiumicino airport.

While you are checking in at the airline's counter, let the agent know that you have tax-back items in one (or more) of the suitcases. If you have more luggage to check, and it doesn't contain any tax-back items, the agent can take it for you then, and check it.

If your goods were purchased in Italy, and your tax-back form is of one of the three companies whose logos are shown above, then you will simply go to the tax-refund counter after checking in. Bring your luggage with the items, on the very small chance they will ask you to go to Customs.

If your items were not purchased in Italy, and/or the form you have does not match one of the above logos then follow the next step:

For the piece of luggage where the items are, they will make a luggage tag for you, and stick it to the wall behind them. They won't yet check that particular piece of luggage because you have to take it with you to Customs.

customs fiumicino airportCustoms booth at Fiumicino airport in Rome

Once you have your boarding pass, proceed to the Customs office. There are Customs offices located in the Departures Areas of Terminals T1 and T3 at Fiucimino airport

In Terminal 3, it's a room in the back of all the check-in counters, but quite easy to find. In Terminal 1, it's just a little booth, but it's right in the middle of all the check-in counters.

You have to show the Customs official your passportyour boarding pass, the tax-refund form filled out entirely with your passport number (there has to be a fiscal receipt attached to the form also, so do not lose that.)

Here is the Global Blue envelope I received from the shop were I made my purchase, Rinascente; the fiscal receipt for the purchase; the electronic form they filled out for me at Rinascente; and my passport.

At the Customs counter, the agent will ask you if the items you purchased are in the luggage that is with you. They hardly ever look at it, but they might. Be prepared for this.

If you don't have the item(s) in the luggage, or have worn/used it, they will not give you the stamp.

Once all is in order (and really this is almost always very speedy), the Customs official will give you a stamp on the tax-refund form. Now you can get your money back!

First you have to head back to the check-in counter where the agent has kept your luggage tag. You should not have to wait in line. The agent will remember you, take your luggage, put the tag on it, and check it.

You can sometimes check the luggage directly at the Customs office. In this case, the airline agent checking you in will know the drill, and give you the luggage tag directly when you check in for your flight.

I'm flying out of Rome to my home country, and carrying the items on the plane with me. What do I do?

If you decide to carry the item(s) with you, you will still have to show it/them to a Customs agent, but this time it will be inside the terminal.

So you first check in as above. Check your luggage normally, get your boarding pass and go through security.

Once you are in the international terminal (1 or 3), find the Customs counter. Show the Customs agent your boarding pass, passport, tax refund form, and the item(s) in question. When you carry it on the plane with you, they always look at it (as opposed to when you put it in checked luggage, where they almost never check.) You must make sure the item has not been used/worn.

The cash refund offices are right next to this counter. So once you get your stamp, you can just scoot over to the right counter and get your cash back.

I am flying out of Rome but to another EU country before flying home. How does that work?

If you are flying out of Fiumicino airport, but not yet leaving Europe (the EU), you will follow one of these two procedures to get your Customs stamp:

  1. If you put the item in your checked luggage, and check it all the way through, you still follow the procedure above, and get the Customs stamp in Fiumicino airport.
  2. If you prefer to carry the item with you in carry-on, then you will have to find the Customs office in the last European airport before you fly home.

See below for how to get your tax refund if you are not leaving Europe out of Rome.


If you got the tax refund in Rome (downtown), then you MUST mail the Customs-stamped form in, no matter where you get it stamped.

If you mail the forms in their envelopes, from any European airport, it's free. If you get the form stamped but forget to mail it while in the airport, you can mail it from outside the EU but you will need to pay postage.

If you got the tax refund in Rome, and do NOT get the Customs stamp on the form and mail it in, the company that gave you the refund will charge your credit card back for the money they gave you, plus a penalty.

All About Getting Your VAT Refund

The following are all the ways to actually collect your refund (cash or credit card.) This assumes you have already gotten or will definitely get the Customs stamp on the tax-refund form.

Should I get the tax refund in Rome or at the airport?

I once went through the procedure of getting the tax refund in Rome (downtown). However, other than that one time, I always get my tax back at the airport.

I don’t recommend doing your tax refund in Rome - why waste your precious sightseeing time in Rome doing this?

If you feel like getting the tax refund IN ROME it, it’s not that complicated. The offices are centrally located. You just have to find the correct office and go through the procedure (see next section.)

But you should know this does not save you much time at the airport at all because no matter where you get your tax refund, in Rome or at the airport, you still must go through Customs and get the forms stamped when you leave the EU. See below for both procedures.

What is the procedure for getting my tax refund in Rome (downtown)?

If you want to get your tax refund in Rome, find the correct office belonging to the company of the tax-refund on your form. The form or envelope you have should have the addresses of the in-town locations.

  • For a list of Global Blue locations in downtown Rome, click here.
  • For a list of Premier Tax Refund locations in downtown Rome, click here.
  • For a list of Tax Refunds for Tourists locations in downtown Rome, click here.
tax refund office in romeOne of the tax refund offices in downtown Rome

Bring the form, your passport, and a credit card. You will not be able to receive a refund in town if you do not bring these three items. (You do not need to bring the items you purchased.)

They will give you the VAT refund in cash or on your credit card, but it's provisional. They will also take an imprint of your card. You will still need to send in the form, with the Customs stamp on it, once you have gotten this stamp at your departure airport (departing the EU.) See steps for this in the next section.

If you do not send in the form with the Customs stamp on it, the tax refund office will charge your credit card back for the money they gave you, plus a fee.

What is the procedure for getting my tax refund in Rome Fiumicino airport?

You can get your money back right at Fiumicino airport. This assumes that Fiumicino is the airport you use to leave the European Union.

If you are flying transit to another European city as your departure point, then you can only get the money back (sometimes cash but always credit) at the last European airport you fly out of.

You've checked your luggage, and you have your form(s) with the Customs stamp. Now you are ready to get your money back.

Follow the signs for the tax refund booths. 

As of 2017, Terminal 5 is not operating at Fiumicino airport. You will fly out of Terminal 1 or 3.

Terminal 5 will eventually be back in use, and when it does, I'll add that part back in.

tax refund booths at FCOTax refund booths in Terminal 5 of Fiumicino airport in Rome

You need to go to the booth that matches the logo of the company that issues the tax-refund.

NEW PROCEDURE AS OF 2017: If your invoice was issued outside of Italy, then you would have gotten a Customs stamp. Otherwise you just give them the tax-free form directly. They also need to see your passport, but not your boarding pass.

They will ask if you want cash or credit, and if cash, how you want it. If you choose credit, they will simply take the form from you and mail it in. You will always get a receipt for your tax refund in Rome.

If you either don't have time to deal with the cash-back booths, or, you are flying out of Terminal 2, which does not have cash-refund offices, then you can just mail the form for your refund. In this case, the tax refund will go directly onto your credit card.

What is the procedure for getting my tax refund at another European airport?

If you are flying out of Rome Fiumicino airport, but connecting through another European city before leaving the EU entirely, then you have two options for getting the Customs stamp, depending on where the items are packed:

If you are checking the item in your checked luggage, and checking your luggage through to your final destination, then you will get the Customs stamp in Rome. See steps above. 

If you are taking the item on the plane with you in carry-on, then you will need to get the Customs stamp at the last airport before departing the EU. You will need to locate the Customs office in that airport, and go there with your boarding pass, passport, the tax-refund form, and the item(s) to show the agent.

Regardless of how you pack the item(s), and where you get the Customs stamp on the tax-refund form, if you want cash back, you will have to do this at the last airport before departing the EU.

And here's the thing: there is not always the possibility to get cash at airports in other European cities. This may be because the tax-refund company does not have an office there, but rather, offers their services through another company, like a currency exchange. You will get your refund processed but in any case it will be on your credit card.

Also, I've had the experience in other European cities like Amsterdam and Paris, when flying back to the US, that it takes me some time to change terminals, and I usually don't have that extra time to go running around looking for the cash refund offices, which may be really out of the way.


If you are connecting to another European city when you leave Rome, to depart the EU for your trip home, always check the item in your luggage so you can get the Customs stamp done right away in Rome.

And then immediately after getting the stamp, mail in the form for credit on your credit card. And be done with it.

Do not waste time in other airports looking for Customs and/or the cash back offices....sometimes only to find you cannot get the cash back anyway.

Tax Refund in Rome: How much money will I get back?

The amount of the tax you pay on goods in Italy is 22%.

However, you will not get that much back. You may get back anywhere from 10-16%. That's because there are "administrative fees", presumably some that the tax-refund company keeps, and then there is some that the store owner can opt to keep.

It’s unlikely you will ever get 16%.

I only know one shop that does this. It's in my neighborhood. She does not keep any of the tax-back money, and passes the entire refund to the customer. Nice of her, huh!

Most of the time, you will get back about 11-13% of the tax you spend. But even on a minimum purchase of 155 Euros, this is around 20 Euros. Why leave this money on the table? You are entitled to get it back!

Tax Refund in Rome: Can I get Dollars or do I have to get Euros?

When you get your tax refund in Rome, you can get it on your credit card or in cash. 

Getting your refund on your credit card:

If you get the credit back on your credit card, know it can take 2-3 months before you see the credit on your statement. There will be no administrative fees, but you will get it back in Euros, converted to your own currency, so the amount may depend on the exchange rate.

This issue is pretty negligible, so don't worry too much about it.

A bigger issue is waiting for the refund to appear on your credit card statement. But if you visit the website of the refund company, you can usually track your refund.

I have never once had the refund go astray. When I've chosen to (or been required to) get my refund on my credit card, it's always arrived, even 3 months later.

Getting your refund in cash:

When I get my tax refund in Rome airport, I always get Euros cash. This is because the cash exchange rate to dollars is one of the worst there is. And, I will use the Euros again since I live in Rome.

If you don't think you will be coming back to Europe in the near future, and prefer the cash back in US Dollars, just know that if you get cash, the exchange rate is really bad. They have you over a barrel and you have no choice. This is why I get Euros (or opt for the credit back on my card.)

Almost all the cash-refund offices charge a small administrative fee for giving cash back, especially in airports not in Rome.

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