Queenie Tan shares European shopping hack in viral TikTok

The best thing about shopping in Europe, is just that, shopping in Europe. Why? because most of what’s on offer isn’t yet available in Australia.

And to help sweeten the experience, Aussies can get money back on tax for shopping – but it comes with “loops and holes”.

Sydney woman and finance influencer Queenie Tan, 24, who has accumulated 2.7 million ‘likes’ on her TikToks, revealed how you can get 10 to 20 percent off your shopping in Europe through the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS).

“When you are a tourist from a non-European country, all you need to do is show your passport when you buy something and tell them you’d like to apply for the tourist tax refund scheme,” Queenie explains in her video.

“Then you will be able to get the sales tax back at the airport when you leave. Generally this is from 10 to 20 percent depending on the country.

Famous TikToker Queenie Tan, 24, who has accumulated 2.7 million likes on her videos.
Famous TikToker Queenie Tan, 24, who has accumulated 2.7 million likes on her videos.
TikTok/investwithqueenie

“Just remember to bring your receipt with you to the airport and your items in your carry on.”

In her clip, which has been viewed more than 111,00 times, many were shocked to learn about the refund scheme.

“What the hell, I did not know this when I was there,” one person wrote.

“God bless this scheme,” another added.

However, as excited as many were to learn about the tax scheme, others weren’t keen on waiting in line for the refund given how busy airports have been post-pandemic.

“And what are your tips on how to not wait in the tax claims queue at the airport because that can take over an hour,” one person asked.

Angus Kidman, travel expert at Finder, told news.com.au the refund scheme potentially lets you claim back GST on expensive items, but there are a lot of hoops to jump through.

“Consumers are hit with VAT (value added tax) or GST in many countries, and these tend to be very high in Europe,” he said.

Mr. Kidman said the rate typically ranges from 5 to 25 percent, depending on the country.

Many were shocked to learn about Queenie Tan's refund scheme.
Many were shocked to learn about Queenie Tan’s refund scheme.

Queenie Tan showed tourists can get money back on tax for shopping.
Queenie Tan said tourists can get tax dollars refunded when shopping in Europe.

Queenie Tan revealed how you can get 10 to 20 per cent off your shopping in Europe through the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS).
Queenie Tan says tourists can save 10 to 20 percent on their purchases.

“As a visitor to the EU who is returning home, you may be eligible to buy goods free of VAT in certain shops,” he said.

“(But) keep in mind there are a few hoops to jump through first – miss just one step and you’ll lose out on the refund,” he warned.

He said you’ll have to pay the full, tax-inclusive price for the goods in the shop.

“You’ll get the VAT refunded on departure,” he added.

Queenie Tan reminder viewers to bring the receipt with you to the airport.
Queenie Tan reminds viewers to bring their receipts to the airport.
TikTok/investwithqueenie

“There isn’t one standard procedure for the entire European Union. Generally you’ll need to fill out some paperwork, then bring your receipts/forms to a VAT office at the airport or border crossing and finally show the item at the customs office.

“If you request a cash refund at the airport, you should get it immediately. But it can take up to three weeks for a bank transfer.”

Mr. Kidman also said the rules vary depending on where you are in Europe.

“Each country has its own tax regime and there’s often a minimum amount you need to spend to qualify for a refund.”

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