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VAT refund for purchases made in Italy by EU non-resident subjects

The Agenzia delle Dogane has a very clear webpage in English (!) about the topic, which unfortunately (as often happens) doesn't clarify "exceptions".

An American (well... originally Romanian, naturalized Israeli, who studied in Germany and eventually immigrated to the US...) acquaintance of mine had the necessity of leaving Italy on a run, due to a broken foot (no puns intended!).

Being the strong shopper that she is, she purchased lots of personal items during her trip through Germany, France and Italy and meant to collect her refunds when leaving the EU from Rome, as she does pretty much every year...
The foot-situation prevented her from doing so.

Now: allegedly she was able to visit the German and French consulate in SF and get all her paperwork duly stamped (upon exhibition of receipts and fashion and accessories items...), so that she could mail in the forms for refund.
Again, allegedly, she wasn't as fortunate with our Italian offices, where, apparently the problematic was unknown to the clerk she talked to...

Does anybody know which office or Officer she should try to address there?
The value of the refunds is about €200.-, thus, understandably, not easy to pass on...

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I am afraid that without endorsement by the Italian Customs on leaving the country there is no possibility from abroad to recover VAT on purchases made in Italy.
I will further inquire with the Representant of the "Guardia di Finanza" at the Embassy in Washington
Fabrizio Marcelli
Consul General
Thank you very much, Consul General, for your prompt reply!
I will gladly hear about any update you will be able to provide.

The understanding of the visitor to Italy was that she needed only to have somebody (recognized by the "Intendenza di Finanza") to verify that the actual goods mentioned on the receipts did leave Italy, and stamping the official refund papers, which she brought from Italy...
Basically an official "witnessing", almost a "Notariato" act.
But I explained her that it's never so easy: since the Intendenza di Finanza may recognize ONLY the Agenzia delle Dogane (Custom) as capable and/or authorized to do that...

Anyway, I thought it was interesting, and I appreciated very much the Consulate following up (and the US national did too!)...
Thanks again.
We had good news from Washington.
A late endorsement on the receipts is possible. The goods purchased in Italy should be visioned by our office, which will issue a statement for the customs agency.
So your acquaintance must show us both goods and receipts and we will confirm their provenance.
Thank you Giorgio for having raised the matter and permitted us to clarify a procedure little known in the U.S.
Fabrizio Marcelli
Consul General
...that's great news, thanks Consul!
I will be gladly reporting to the US citizens, who will be undoubtedly grateful (and pleasantly surprised...).

It's not only great news for forgetful tourists to Italy, but more importantly (for us Italians) because it proves that if there's a good communication flow among all parts, questions are quickly answered and, when possible, problems are promptly solved.
Sometimes it's a matter of linking the parts together...

Thanks again!
Dear Consul,

This was very useful, thank you!

Danny Maco I received the following message, which I gladly publicize:

From: Ingrid *****
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2008 16:03:48 -0700
Subject: Re: consul general
Hi Giorgio!
Went to the Italian consulate today and they were wonderful and did everything!
Thanks to all of you, I'm glad we have the right Italians in this town!

That pretty much made my day...
Thank you for our Consul General, a good follow up and positive action.

Giorgio: useful discussion and ...
while not a laughable matter (I broke toes in the past and know it's no fun), I can detect the "Ligure humor" in "leaving Italy (aka the Stivale n.d.r.) on a run, due to a broken foot "!

I am sure any Consulate in USA have an official of the Trade Commission who can answer your question.

Good luck

...don't be so sure!

The Consulate General in SF did the "extra mile" and found eventually a solution, that's true, but:

a.) the current Consulate management and administration is the best that San Francisco had in memorable times;

b.) it would be hard to guarantee that level of commitment and efficiency as being (1.) standard across the US, and (2.) average anywhere in the world.


Also, Trade Commission officers are not based out of the Consular representation facilities.




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