Spain expedites VAT reimbursement for non-EU travelers

Customs Department of the Spanish Tax Administration developed a scan process for sealing invoices of VAT reimbursement for non-EU travelers (as foreseen in Spanish VAT law). The system is called DIVA (for the Spanish translation of VAT reimbursement) and currently it is voluntary.

The electronic system offers advantages for travelers, who will get reimbursements faster; as well as for merchants, who will be able to promote sales for the added value they may offer their customers. There are also advantages for the Customs Department, which is able to manage risk better, favoring the legit use of this tax advantage.

The DIVA system works from the stores which, directly or thru tax-free businesses, sent tax-free invoices to the Spanish Tax Administration (electronic reimbursement document). Stores may send the information in a couple of ways:
  • Through a web mass-mailer service (appropriate for big chain stores and stores that currently use tax-free intermediaries).
  • Specially designed web form for small businesses at the Spanish Tax Administration website.
When leaving the EU, travelers present the merchandise they bought along with the digital invoice (electronic reimbursement document) for digital sealing at any VAT sealing post (customs at Spanish international ports and airports). There will be automatic sealing technology available at all these posts, so that there will only be manual intervention of Customs when the risk analysis system kicks off.

DIVA is currently operating at major Spanish international airports and the ports of Algeciras and La Línea in Cádiz.