Understanding the Tax Refund Service in France and Galeries Lafayette new Self Service Tax Back Refund Machines

One thing I love about shopping in France is taking advantage of the tax refund service at Galeries Lafayette. Galeries Lafayette's tax refund service is extremely simple. Discover what VAT tax is, how to qualify for the tax refund, and how the new Galeries Lafayette self-service tax back refund machines work / how to file the tax refund paperwork.

tax back refund service in Paris
gossip girl shopping in paris

What is VAT tax and tax Back Refund Services?

VAT tax is very similar to Sales tax. The main difference between VAT tax and Sales tax is VAT tax is already included into the goods and services on the price tag. VAT tax can range anywhere from 2% to 33%. At Galeries Lafayette, It's common to receive a 12% tax refund.

Tax Back Refund is the refund you receive from the government on the tax you paid for your item. Click more detailed information on the tax refund process in France.

How do you qualify for the tax refund service in France?

There are a few requirements for Galeries Lafayette Tax Refund that you must follow in order to claim your refund:

  1. Spend more than 100.01 Euros in the same store, the same day
  2. Cannot be a member of the EU (European Union)
  3. Must be older than 15
  4. Can't be in France longer than 6 months
  5. The refund must be processed the same day as your purchases, or by the end of the third consecutive day of shopping
  6. Must have your passport with you

How do you submit and File the Tax Refund Paperwork

tax back refund machine in France

Once you purchase something for more than 100.01 Euros ask for the VAT “Detaxe” Form. (Ask the sales associate for this if they do not automatically give it to you)

Galeries Lafayette now self-service tax back refund machines that take you step by step through the process of filling your tax back refunds. When you are processing the paperwork at the self-service kiosk you have the ability to get the VAT tax back immediately in cash or you can have it added back to your credit card which can take 3 months to 6 months.

If you want cash back immediately, you receive 10.8% of your purchases back as long as you depart from the EU within 21 days. If you decide to wait and have it refunded on your credit card, you will receive 12% cash back.

When you are using the self-service tax back refund machine at Galeries Lafayette, it will prompt you step by step what documents you need to scan and will tell you the amount you will receive back.

Once you finish with the tax refund machine, it will provide you will some paperwork. Make sure you take the paperwork and the envelope to drop it off at the airport. When you arrive to the airport, there will be boxes at these locations: Make sure you drop it in the Pablo box, and have your items you purchased available to show the customs officer!

At Paris-Orly
South Terminal: Departures level, gate G
West Terminal: Arrivals level, gate E

At Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Terminal 1: CDGVAL level, hall 6
Terminal 2A: Departures level, gate 5
Terminal 2C: Departures level, gate 12
Terminal 2D: Departures level, gate 6
Terminal 2E: Departures level, gate 4
Terminal 2F: Arrivals level
Terminal 3: Departures level, airside

tax back in Paris steps

Please leave any comments you may have regarding the tax refund process in Paris, and I will do my best to answer them

Sincerely Petite in Paris,


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  1. Hi!! Thanks for all the info
    Is okay if i make the tax free in madrid airport, of the things i bought in galeries lafayette? Thank you a lot

    1. Diane Marz says:

      Hello Vera,

      Yes, you can claim your tax refund at the Madrid airport for the purchases you made in Paris at Galeries Lafayette

      Hope that helps!


      1. Hello Vera,

        If I like the refund in cash, do I still need my forms validated by Customs and mail the forms? I am leaving EU from Amsterdam to London via Eurostar. I believe there’s no Customs.


        1. Diane Marz says:

          Hello Ela,

          Yes you’d still have to validate your forms by customs or else you’ll receive a chargeback

          Hope that helps!


          1. It has been mentioned earlier that to get a refund from Amsterdam if taking Eurostar to London, it can be done in the airport. Is the Tax Refund Customs officer before check in and security? Can people with no flights access Customs?

            Thanks Diane. Greatly appreciated.

    2. What if I lost the repaid Lafayette envelope, can I still send back by the regular envelope. How long does it take to get the refund if I leave from Italy? Thanks

      1. Diane Marz says:


        If you lost the prepaid envelope at the VAT TAX refund station in Italy make sure you ask them for another envelope to send back to Galeries Lafayette. If very scans perfectly you might not even have to drop off the envelope in the mailbox.

        The refund will take between 30–90 days. Since you are there during busy season, I’ve seen refunds take longer than the 90 days.

        Hope that helps


  2. Hello, I would be leaving Amsterdam for London via train from Amsterdam Centraal. Would I still be able to get VAT refund from there with the items i bought from Paris? I heard there are no customs officers there to perform the VAT refund for me

    1. Diane Marz says:

      Hello Clement,

      You’d have to go to the Amsterdam airport in order to receive the VAT TAX refund there is nowhere to process it at the train station in Amsterdam

      Hope that helps,