As we were jewelry shopping on the famous Ponte Vecchio Bridge in Florence, for numerous reasons, my guard was up. When the jeweler offered up a tax free capability that would save us 30 or €40 on our purchase, I got a little more interested. However, always suspicious, I wondered if this was a dubious proposition.
After our purchase, the lovely proprietor filled out some information in her computer and printed out a receipt for us to give to the tax free office at the airport. Feeling lighter financially, and with nothing else but a receipt and verbal direction, I was a still a bit uncertain about the tax refund.
As soon as we checked into our airlines at Leonardo da Vinci - Fiumicino Airport near Rome, we were told to go to the tax free office before going through security. Look for the Dogana - Customs sign and go to the Global Blue Refund Office. We got there and of course there was a long line. We stood in line for approximately 20 to 30 minutes
This was no big deal, as we had plenty of time before our scheduled departure time. Had we been cutting it close, we probably would’ve skipped this line all together and gone on through security, as the tax refund was not going to be enormous.
After a few minutes a second desk opened and the line begin to move fairly rapidly. Once at the desk, the attendant asked for the receipt and our passport and he inputted a few more elements of information into the computer. He asked if we wanted dollars or euros, or credit back on our card. There was a different price point for each option, and the credit card seemed to provide the most money back. However, we informed the credit would take five days to post. The cash would’ve been instantaneous.
Once we were through security we found another tax office with similar signage. Only one person was in line at this location. Had we known this, we probably would have skipped the 20 minute wait prior to security for the other tax office.
As I sat down and began to wait for the flight and look at my email, I notice we had already received an email from ex ex ex, describing that they had validated our tax information, providing a method for tracking the refund progress.
Long story short, if offered a tax-free purchase while in Italy and they tell you that you when you get to the airport that you need to go to the tax office, don’t be concerned. This is a do-able procedure. If you have the time and the shop is willing to assist with their portion of the procedure, this is a pretty good chance you will get the tax back after filling at the airport.