blog shbarcelona català   blog shbarcelona français   blog shbarcelona castellano   blog shbarcelona russian   blog shbarcelona russian   blog shbarcelona   blog shbarcelona   blog shbarcelona
Good to know

Tax free shopping in Barcelona

Alix Simonovitch
Written by Alix Simonovitch

You have had the time of your life in Barcelona, and now you want to do some tax-free shopping before heading back home. That sounds like fun, but how and where can you do this? For everyone that doesn’t live inside the European Union, this applies to you and it means saving 21 % of all your shopping. ShBarcelona is here to explain all about tax-free shopping in Barcelona.

What is Barcelona tax refund rate?

Photo : JWPhotography2012 via

First of all, everything you shop can be tax exempt, apart from hotel bills, restaurants and food items. So, what is this tax that you can be exonerated from and why? When a resident of the European Union buys something in the European Union, the price of the item is automatically increased by a tax called VAT (Value Added Tax, known in Spain as IVA). This tax goes unnoticed to the consumer who simply pays the price displayed in the store. However, all purchases include VAT, which in Spain amounts to 21%, except for certain items like food and books, which have only 10% VAT. The stores collect this tax and pay it to the government. Anyone living outside the European Union is entitled to claim VAT on purchases made in Spain when they return to their country. All you have to to is spend more than €90,15.

Related article: Outlets in Barcelona

How can I shop tax free?

Photo: Jorge Franganillo via Visual hunt

When you are shopping, ask the store if they will practice this service. You can then ask for tax refund checks that the store will fill for you. Keep all checks from all the stores in which you have been shopping. When, at the airport, you go get your VAT money back, you will be required to present tax refund checks and customs may require you to check all items in your baggage before validating your checks. When your checks have been validated by customs, you can receive the money in cash from any exchange office, in the currency of your choice.

Related article: Information about Barcelona

Barcelona’s tax refund offices

Photo: Giacomo P. via

If you do not go to the airport to leave Barcelona, the VAT refund procedure is a little different as you will not be able to cash your checks in Barcelona. Ask for a VAT refund envelope in the shops where you make your purchases. Before leaving Barcelona for a cruise, for example, you will have to go to the port terminal customs office and present your VAT refund checks for customs clearanceWhen you return to your country, send the validated checks to the VAT Refund Office in Madrid, in the envelope provided to you by the store. You will have to wait about 3 months to get reimbursed.

Follow the same procedure as in the example given for cruises for any other means of transport used to leave Barcelona. Your checks must imperatively be validated with the customs before leaving Spain. You can also  visit the Global blue tax free office in Passeig de Gracia, 7, in the city center, to get your money back.

About the author

Alix Simonovitch

Alix Simonovitch

Traveler and blogger, Alix wrote about the cities of Amsterdam and Brussels before moving to Barcelona 9 years ago. Writer and translator specialized in tourism and gastronomy, she wants to share all her discoveries in her new city.

Leave a Comment