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This is our first cruise to Spain and I was reading that we have to pay VAT onboard when in Spain.  I am not sure at all how it works.   What percent do we have to pay VAT?  On what purchases do we have to pay while on a ship with all stops in Spain?  Do we have to pay VAT for a massage in the spa or is it just for purchases of goods?  Can we get VAT refund on every purchase we make onboard (even a massage)?  

Thank you.

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You only qualify for a VAT refund on goods which you take out of Europe - not services or goods that you consume before you leave.

Works for high-rollers, but not for heavy drinkers :classic_sad:


Ship's shop staff should know their stuff and be registered for VAT refunds (that doesn't necessarily mean an immediate refund, it could take months)

Ditto shops ashore - make sure they can deal with VAT refunds, many small shops can't.

Global Blue is the leading VAT refund organisation - if the ship or shop is registered with them it should be plain sailing

It was only when I checked the minimum transaction that qualifies for a refund that I found out that there's now NO minimum spend.



JB :classic_smile:



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Standard rate of IVA (Impuesto sobre el Valor Añadido or Spanish VAT) is 21% .  IVA on drink is 10% and 4% on food.  

Important note: in Europe prices include taxes, so there should be no additions.  The price on the menu should be the price you pay, even on the ship.  If the ship says they are in Spain and need to charge IVA/VAT then tell them that in Europe tax should be included in the prices.  When we go to U.S. or Canada, it is a bit of a culture shock to have the sales taxes added to the bill.  This does not happen in EU.

The onboard shops will probably be  a different situation as they advertise 'duty free' prices, so you will have to pay the tax on goods and providing you take the goods out of the EU then you should apply for a refund.

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