How to get back VAT (PDV) paid in Croatia in 2021

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LAST UPDATED: 20/5/2021

If you are a temporary visitor in Croatia, you may be entitled to a VAT refund at the end of your stay prior to departure. Before we dive into how you get back your VAT, let’s go over some basics.

In this post, we cover:

Let’s go…

What is VAT?

VAT stands for “Value Added Tax”. It is a tax calculated by a set percentage, which varies by country, that is added to most purchases. In some cases, a country may have a colloquial name for VAT. In Croatia, VAT is called “PDV”, which stands for ”porez na dodanu vrijednost”.

You can read all about Croatia’s PDV system here.

You can read about other taxes you might pay in Croatia here.

In Croatia, the PDV tax is 25% on every item you purchase with minute exceptions. To have the value-added tax refunded at the end of your visit to Croatia, there are certain formalities you must go through first.

Who can request a refund of VAT?

Only non-EU citizens can request a refund of value added tax upon exiting the European Union. They mustn’t have temporary or permanent residence in Croatia and the EU.

This implies all non-EU citizens without residency in EU including:

  • Third-country nationals
  • EU/EEA nationals
  • Croatian nationals
  • Persons with dual citizenship

For a purchase to qualify, you must spend more than 740 kuna on a single invoice, which is approximately 100EUR and 120USD (at the time of this post).

Furthermore, you can get a refund only for goods, but not for services. You can’t get a refund for fuels.

One more thing. You have to transport purchased goods outside Croatia and the EU in a period of 3 months after the purchase. Goods can be exported by mail or in any other appropriate manner. Someone else can export them on your behalf.

What do I need to do at the time of purchase?

Given that your purchase is above the limit, this is what you need to do at the time of purchase:

#1 Make sure you are shopping in a store that offers the possibility of a refund

Most tourist, department stores, and high-end shops offer VAT refund, which is usually indicated by a sign in the window or near the cash register. If you are unsure, ask the merchant.

#2 Have your passport ready

Let the cashier know that you want a VAT refund. You’ll be asked to present your passport when you make the purchase in order to start the refund process.

#3 Make sure you get the refund form

When you make your purchase, the merchant will fill out the refund document, often called a tax-free form. Fill out the paperwork correctly and attach it to your receipt. One example of the form goes to the merchant and another to you.

The precise details of getting your money back will depend on how a particular shop organizes its refund process. Usually, in Croatia, you need to get the documents (forms and receipts) stamped at the border (Customs Desk) when leaving the EU. Ask the customs desk for further instructions.

You need three things to start the refund process:

  • Your unused purchase (proof of export)
  • Receipt (original invoice)
  • VAT paperwork (PDV-P form completed at the shop – this form is also available here)

We wrote a guide on how to transfer money to Croatia from abroad which you may find useful when shopping in Croatia. It is available here.

What else should I know?

To be abundantly clear, you present and stamp the documents only at the last stop when exiting the EU, regardless of where you made your purchases.

So, if you bought a cravat in Croatia, a pair of leather boots in Italy and a vest in Slovenia, but your departure from the EU is in France, get your documents stamped at the airport in Paris. Also, please note that if there are different currencies (kuna, euros), you are obligated to pay the conversion fee.

At your point of departure, find the local Customs Office, they are usually positioned before airport security. In train stations, ports or border crossings, finding the customs desk may take a while, but it’s necessary if you want to get a VAT refund.

The purchases must be unused, accessible and in the original packaging.

What happens at the Customs Office?

At the Customs Office, an export officer will, first of all, stamp your documents. You must show them an invoice and a PDV-P form. You present the purchased item as a proof.

They will compare the data on the PDV-P form with the data from your passport or ID card. They will also check the information on goods, purchase price of goods, if goods were used in the EU, if a 3-month period for exporting is still valid and if the PDV-P form is signed and certified by the merchant.

The refund will be in cash, in the currency of the country where you made the purchase. They have high exchange rates, so change the refund in other exchange places if you can. Other refund services may require you to mail the documents, which usually takes a lot of time.

When it comes to VAT refunds, be prepared, informed and patient. Sometimes, even with the prepared documents and unused purchases, the situation can take an unexpected turn.

Make sure that you’re concentrated and focused on the solution, not the problem. If you don’t get the refund, you can always complain to the company where you bought the item, because ultimately they’re responsible for the refund.

Is there an easier way?

If you made a purchase in a store that works with Global Blue or Premier Tax Free, they take care of this entire process for you. Find their offices at the airport. These services charge a fee, usually a set percentage of your refund (about 4 percent), but save you further hassle and delay.

To avoid VAT entirely, shop at stores with VAT-free goods. Those shops usually have a sign ’VAT free’, ‘tax-free’ or sometimes the sign will be in the local language. In Croatia ‘’Bez PDV-a’’ means “without VAT”.

You can learn more about VAT refunds for international travelers here, which is published by the Croatian Ministry of Finance – Tax Administration.

Sources:
https://www.porezna-uprava.hr/en/EN_porezni_sustav/Documents/VATRefund.pdf
https://carina.gov.hr/pristup-informacijama/propisi-i-sporazumi/carinsko-zakonodavstvo/fizicke-osobe-2715/povrat-pdv-a-pri-izvozu-dobara-u-putnickom-prometu/2781

Please note: All information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal advice in any form. For legal advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. We can recommend one if you contact us.

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14 thoughts on “How to get back VAT (PDV) paid in Croatia in 2021

  1. Zack
    March 9, 2021 @ 1:12 pm

    Hello, if in Croatia on a temporary resident permit, and returning to the States, is it possible to still get a VAT refund upon exiting the country?

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      March 11, 2021 @ 1:31 pm

      Hi Zack,

      No, you cannot. The refund is only for tourists.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  2. Jonathan
    July 1, 2021 @ 8:45 pm

    Does UK count? Since non longer the EU since 32 December 2020.

    {reply}

    • Marija Tkalec
      July 2, 2021 @ 4:55 pm

      Hi Jonathan,

      This should work for the UK as well since it is no longer an EU Member State.

      Warm regards,
      Marija

      {reply}

  3. Apoorv Bolia
    September 5, 2021 @ 12:17 pm

    Hi Marija,

    I had a PDV-P form that i got from the retailer, which i also was able to get certified by the customs at the Zagreb airport. But this was not accepted by Global Blue, as this was a non-Global Blue partner.

    Is there a mailing address where i can forward the customer stamped invoice and completed PDV-P form to get the VAT refund account transferred.

    Thanks,
    Apoorv

    {reply}

    • Marija Tkalec
      September 14, 2021 @ 3:19 pm

      Hi Apoorv,

      You should send the form to the seller together with the bank account. Check with the seller before sending the form.

      Warm regards,
      Marija

      {reply}

  4. Apoorv Bolia
    September 6, 2021 @ 2:24 pm

    Dear Marija,

    I have recently returned from my travel to Croatia. I have a filled up PDV-P form, which was also certified at the airport by customs officer. This was a tax refund not related to Global Blue, so the airport cash counter did not refund my money. Is there a mailing address where i can send my PDV-P form and invoice, for claiming the VAT refund transfer to my bank account.

    Thank you,
    Apoorv

    {reply}

    • Marija Tkalec
      September 14, 2021 @ 3:21 pm

      Hi Apoorv,

      You should send the form to the seller together with the bank account. Check with the seller before sending the form.

      Warm regards,
      Marija

      {reply}

  5. Lejla
    September 10, 2021 @ 5:22 pm

    Pozdravi, hvala na uputama. Molim vas kome mi onda šaljemo formular nakon što je popunjen sa trgovce, špediterom i carinom?
    Puno hvala

    {reply}

    • Marija Tkalec
      September 15, 2021 @ 4:44 pm

      Hi Lejla,

      Hi Apoorv,

      Send the form to the seller together with the bank account. However, check with the seller before sending the form to be 100% sure.

      Warm regards,
      Marija

      {reply}

  6. Apoorv Bolia
    September 21, 2021 @ 12:27 pm

    Thank you Marija, let me try this

    {reply}

    • Marija Tkalec
      September 21, 2021 @ 3:38 pm

      Good luck, Apoorv, and please let me know whether you succeed or not.

      {reply}

  7. ANURAG SINGH
    September 27, 2021 @ 3:03 am

    Hello, i am traveling from Italy to Dubrovnik and then back to the US from Dubrovnik via Zurich. Is there’s a place at Dubrovnik airport to get VAT forms stamped? Thank you

    {reply}

    • Marija Tkalec
      October 14, 2021 @ 4:28 pm

      Hi Anurag,

      Sorry for the late reply. You can get stamps at the border. Did you solve your case?

      Warm regards,
      Marija

      {reply}

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