Sale tax-free to tourists

Verified 01 January 2023 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister), Ministry of Finance

The sale in tax-free form is an exemption from value added tax (VAT) on the price of goods purchased by people passing through France. This exemption is subject to conditions. The trader who wishes to apply the tax refund must first apply for authorization from the tax authorities. The buyer cannot require the seller to apply the tax refund.

What is the application for approval?

In order to be able to apply the VAT rebate on the price of goods purchased by persons in France, the trader must have an authorization from the tax authorities.

Who should apply for approval?

The request for approval is addressed to the General Directorate of Customs and Indirect Taxes (DGDDI).

The application for approval must be accompanied by the following supporting documents:

  • Proof of registration less than 3 months old and bearing the value added tax identification number of the trader
  • Accounting entries attesting to the applicant's financial situation enabling it to meet its commitments
  • Proof that the applicant has not defaulted on payment to the tax and customs authorities in the 3 years preceding his application
  • Electronic export sales note data issued by the seller or its affiliated sellers
  • Bulletin No. 3 of the criminal record of company representatives

To make this request, you must fill in an approval form which must be sent with the supporting documents by mail or by registered letter with request for notice of receipt.

VAT tax: application for authorization

Who shall I contact

DGDDI has 30 days from receipt of the application to make a decision.

In the event of acceptance, the decision shall be taken after a study of the supporting documents by the administration.

In the event of a refusal, the applicant may submit his observations to the DGDDI within 30 days. The administration will have to give a final opinion which will close the application for approval.

Approval shall be granted for a period of 3 years. It shall be renewable at least three months before the expiry date.


If the applicant has been established for less than 3 months, his financial situation will be assessed on the basis of the information available at the time of the application.

All tourist goods sold for transport outside the European Union (EU), in the personal luggage of the buyer, are concerned.

Example :

Perfume, chocolate, crockery, alcohol

Purchase must match a retail sale. Thus, a purchase for professional use, corresponding to a wholesale commercial supply, cannot be exempted.

A product purchased for consumption in France cannot benefit from the tax refund.

The amount of purchases TTC: titleContent must be greater than €100 and they must have been made no more than over a period of three consecutive days from the first day of purchase. They must be in signs located in the same city and identified by a single intra-Community VAT number, or in the shops of the same shopping center.

When leaving the territory, the presentation of the goods is mandatory. Failure to present the goods cancels the tax refund and may result in a fine.

Certain services and goods are excluded from the tax-free allowance: manufactured tobacco, weapons, ammunition, cultural goods, private vehicles, petroleum products, for example.


The trader who offers the tax-free allowance to his customers can put an "Electronic Tax-Free" sticker on the window of his shop. To make the request, write to mentioning the postal address of the business.

The tax refund can be granted to the purchaser who meets the following 3 conditions:

  • He's got his habitual residence abroad (outside the European Union) on the date of purchase
  • He has 16 yrs minimum
  • He is visiting France for a period of time less than 6 months.

The buyer must be able to justify these conditions.

People who reside in a French overseas collectivity, in an ultramarine territory of another European country, in Andorra, San Marino or the Vatican, may also benefit from the tax refund.

The purchasers excluded from the scheme are members of diplomatic missions, consular posts and international organizations in France, residents of Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Mayotte, Réunion and Monaco.


goods must be removed from the EU before the end of 3e months after the date of purchase.


Persons residing in the United Kingdom, except those residing in Northern Ireland, may benefit from a VAT exemption.

The seller may grant the tax refund at any of the following times:

  • At the time of purchase (the sale is made without tax, with VAT already deducted)
  • After the purchase (the sale is made TTC: titleContent and VAT is refunded to the purchaser).

The seller should:

  1. Inform the buyer of the procedure
  2. Indicate to the buyer the amount of VAT and the net amount that will be refunded if he levies management fees
  3. Verify the buyer's non-resident status by asking him to present a supporting document (for example, tourist visa, passport or residence card for foreigners, consular card or residence permit registered in the passport of the French or Europeans established abroad).

Editing the voucher at the time of purchase

The seller must submit an export sales note with a bar code identifying the buyer no later than 3 days after the date of purchase.

The trader has 2 possibilities:

  • Either he does call to a tax refund operator responsible for the procedure (reimbursement management, provision of forms dedicated to the fallback procedure, etc.).
  • Either he edit the slip itself via the Pablo I app and give it to the buyer.

PABLO-I Teleprocedure

The waybill must contain following information :

  • Buyer (surname, first name, country of residence and passport number)
  • Retailer store (full name, address, VAT number)
  • Tax rebate operator, if necessary.

Validation on leaving the EU

When leaving France, the buyer must validate the bar code at a Pablo kiosk, located in ports, international airports and border stations.

Once the voucher has been validated electronically, the sale is definitively exempt from VAT.

The electronic validation of the voucher allows the trader to be informed in real time of the release of the goods and to promptly refund the VAT to the customer, unless the sale has already taken place without tax (HT).

The customer thus does not need to send the second sheet of the voucher to the seller in order to be reimbursed.

What is the fallback procedure?

The retailer's shop is authorized to use the paper copy of the voucher cerfa no. 10096, provided that the grounds for appeal are stated therein. The only 3 possible reasons are the general unavailability of the Pablo interface, the failure of the computer tools allowing the transmission of the vouchers or the interruption of the Internet connection.

The buyer must send this slip by post to the store or tax refund operator, within 6 months of the purchase.

The application for adjustment must also contain the following information:

  • Any document proving the buyer's habitual residence
  • Proof of export of goods
  • Original slip
  • Copy of the ticket

The buyer must also indicate the reasons for the inability to comply with the formalities and the date of departure from the European Union.

Please note

the online version of the sales note is a specimen, provided for information purposes only. A package of printed materials must be purchased from an authorized printer.

Sales slips: list of approved printers

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