Why tax free is failing for a new generation of travellers ?

Millions of euros in tax free refunds are going unclaimed each year. But what’s stopping today’s travellers from claiming what’s rightfully theirs?

Tax free refunds… what’s the problem?

A German writer once said :

Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time.

Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe

It brings us to the question, what is the value of time and money, and how do we measure it? We live in a world where time and money are comparable. Perhaps this is the reason why each year millions of euros are lost in unclaimed VAT tax refunds?

Or is it simply that those who reside outside of Europe traveling in Spain are unaware or misinformed in the topic, and their rights when it comes to tax-free shopping

Tax free providers are failing travelers

It’s true that the VAT tax free refund process is dated, and leaves a tech savvy audience ill served.

VAT refunds sit firmly within the payments and fin-tech industry, where we’ve seen unprecedented technological developments over the past decade. With the rise of contactless, and a global shift towards real time payments it’s incredible that the customer journey is still not entirely digitised.

Could a revamp of the customer journey offered by tax free operators help to increase VAT refund claims? Even those ineligible for VAT refunds have witnessed the endless queues at customs desks in the departure halls of European airports.

And for what… a few Euros?

It may only be a few Euros but that money is rightfully yours! More needs to be done to return these funds to their rightful owner in an efficient and timely manner. Barriers must be broken down to streamline the entire process.

Tax free refunds – time vs money

When we consider the time required to make a claim we can begin to understand that for many of us it’s simply not worth it.

But how does our culture and values impact our willingness to claim?

A significant difference exists between the number of Chinese travelers claiming tax-free refunds in comparison to their American counterparts. Is it simply a matter of awareness, or is the balance between time and money weighted differently depending on culture?

Restrictions lifted

Until July 2018 a minimum spend of 90.15 Euros was in place to qualify for a VAT refund in Spain. Seven months ago restrictions were lifted meaning that ALL non European residents visiting Spain can shop tax free.

Reinventing tax free shopping with Woonivers

Here at Woonivers, we recently launched our shiny new app. It’s providing a truly digital tax free process to support a time-poor audience.

No more paper, no more queues, no more waiting in line. We are reinventing travel shopping, digitising the entire process, bringing about a positive change for travelers and retailers alike.

Finally, with Woonivers you can take care of both your time and money. Scan and go tax free shopping… download the free Woonivers app today!