How to refund VAT and excise duties?


It is particularly important for small and medium-sized businesses to have a working capital, which can be used for business development, continuity, and cash flow management. Often, a company that begins carrying out passenger or cargo transportation activities is not aware of the possibility of saving money by recovering the paid VAT and excise duty taxes for the costs incurred abroad. We provide a brief guide on how to recover taxes on fuel and other goods and services related to transportation activities. 

Refund of taxes from EU and other countries: in which cases can a refund be received? 

Taxes can be recovered for paid VAT and excise duties applied to certain goods and services.  

From which countries can taxes be recovered? 

Taxes can be recovered from the following countries:  

Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Great Britain, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Iceland, Spain, Cyprus, Croatia, Latvia, Poland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, France, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Hungary, Germany. 

The most popular services are: 

  • Refund of taxes from Norway; 
  • Refund of taxes from Germany; 
  • Refund of taxes from the Netherlands. 

How to recover taxes from EU countries? 

Refund of taxes is possible if: 

Your VAT invoices comply with the EU requirements, meaning that they contain the following details: company’s name, VAT code and registration address.  

Your receipts indicate the seller’s VAT code, name, address and the amount of VAT. 

Such tax refund procedures and documentation are generally common across Europe, but each may have its own aspects. If you have any questions about specific countries, please contact our EBV team of professionals.  

From which countries can taxes be recovered? 

VAT can be recovered from the following countries: 

  • Ireland 
  • Austria 
  • Belgium 
  • Bulgaria 
  • Czech Republic 
  • Denmark 
  • Great Britain 
  • Estonia 
  • Greece 
  • Italy 
  • Iceland 
  • Spain 
  • Cyprus 
  • Croatia 
  • Latvia 
  • Poland 
  • Lithuania 
  • Liechtenstein 
  • Luxembourg 
  • Malta 
  • Netherlands 
  • Norway 
  • Portugal 
  • France 
  • Romania 
  • Slovakia 
  • Slovenia 
  • Finland 
  • Sweden 
  • Switzerland 
  • Hungary 
  • Germany 

Excise duty on fuel can be recovered from the following countries: 

  • Belgium 
  • Spain 
  • Italy 
  • Croatia 
  • France 
  • Slovenia 
  • Hungary 

For which goods or services can VAT be recovered, and which excise duty is refunded? 

VAT is refundable for: 

  • fuel; 
  • paid toll; 
  • vehicle repair costs (not valid in all countries); 
  • various parts; 
  • representation expenses; 
  • hotel accommodation services (not valid in all countries); 
  • catering services; 
  • communication services; 
  • telecommunication costs; 
  • other services. 

Excise duty can be recovered for fuel.

Who can recover VAT and excise duty taxes? 

You can get a VAT refund if your business meets the following criteria: 

  • You pay VAT in the country where your business is established. 
  • Taxes can be recovered by a company whose main activity is the transportation of goods.
  • You have purchased goods or services in one of the European countries listed above. 
  • The purchased goods or services are intended for the operation of your company (not for personal use). 
  • You are not carrying out your business activities in a country from which you wish to recover VAT. 
  • You do not have official offices established in the countries from which you want to recover VAT. 
  • You have invoices and receipts issued in the name of your company. 

You can recover excise duty on fuel if: 

  • You refuelled in one of these countries: France, Belgium, Slovenia, Hungary, Italy, Croatia and Spain. 
  • You paid for the fuel with a fuel or payment card. 
  • You have all the documents confirming the purchase of fuel. 
  • The operating weight of your vehicle is at least 7.5 tons. 
  • The transport company is registered in a European Union country. 
  • You do not have a representative office and do not officially operate in the said countries. 

How long does it take to receive a tax refund? 

It is important to know that all countries have the right to process applications for up to 4 months. However, if you choose us, you will be able to receive a VAT refund within 2 business days from the date of submission of the appropriate documents. Excise duty refunds depend on the country, therefore refund deadlines may vary. For example, recovery of taxes from Norway can take longer than 6 months, while from Finland it will only take 1-2 months. Feel free to contact us if the refund of taxes to transport companies regarding fuel and tolls is relevant to you.  

A number of businesses operating internationally forget to look for a legal way to save money, however, the refund of taxes from various European countries is a normal practice. Unfortunately, persons who are running businesses or managing finances and accounts often face a language barrier or lack of knowledge of the laws, which leads to loss of money. Tax refunds are particularly relevant to transport companies, since they may incur service provision costs in several different countries on the same day. Contact us today if the recovery of taxes is relevant to you and your business.  

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