If you go shopping during your trip to Mexico, you may be able to apply for a tax refund on your purchases. The tourist tax or VAT refund is only available to international tourists who buy goods at specific stores that participate in the program, spend a certain amount on each purchase and leave the country by sea or by air from specific destinations. The refund is for 8.9% of the purchase, minus the fee that . You need to apply for the refund at the aiport or cruise terminal prior to leaving the country. Read on to find out if you're eligible and how to go about claiming your tax refund.
Eligibility for Tax Refund
To be eligible for the tax refund, you must have spent at least 1200 pesos on Mexican goods (there's no refund for services, so hotel and food expenses do not apply) and you must return to your country by sea or air. Each receipt that you present must be for at least 1200 pesos (individual items may cost less, but the complete purchase at the store must be for at least that amount). If the purchase was paid for in cash, the total tax refund will not surpass 3000 pesos. Credit card purchases should be made with Visa, Mastercard, or American Express and do not entail a maximum purchase limit. Purchases must be made in stores and establishments that are affiliated with the tax reimbursement program in order to qualify. When making the purchase, ask for an offial invoice which will contain an outline of the items purchased and the store's tax information.
Any foreign national who is leaving the country through one of the authorized airports on a commercial airline flight is elibible: private airplane flights do not qualify for tax refunds. Airline employees are not eligible for tax refunds. You can not get a tax refund if you are leaving Mexico by land.
Procedure for Obtaining a Refund
Do your shopping at any of 6000 participating stores throughout the country - look for the Moneyback logo in the store window, or ask a salesperson if the store is part of the program. Then, when making your purchase, request a VAT itemized invoice. When leaving the country, you will need to go to a MONEYBACK kiosk or office at your airport or cruise ship terminal and present your passport, immigration form (the FMM, also sometimes referred to as a tourist card), your boarding pass or cruise ID for departure, receipts for your purchases along with credit card vouchers, and you should also bring along the goods you purchased so they can be verified. Goods that are being shipped out of the country do not qualify: you must carry the items back with you in your luggage in order for the tax refund to apply. If you are missing any of the required documents, or if you depart Mexico by land, you will not be eligible for the refund.
The refund is for 8.9% of the amount of the purchases and will be credited to your credit card in your local currency. The process usually takes about 45 to 90 days for the money to show up on your credit card account. If you have any inquiries, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the FOLIO number from the form you were given at the Moneyback office or kiosk.
If you have left the country and you didn't have time to visit the kiosk to apply for your refund before your departure, there's a possibility you may still be able to get your tax refund from your purchases in Mexico, even after you have left the country. You must have photocopies of all the required documents: passport, immigration form, boarding pass, official receipts and credit card vouchers. Scan them and send the files as email to email@example.com. They will verify your documentation and if everything is in order, your tax refund will be processed.
Is it worth it?
The tourist tax refund is mainly for tourists visiting Mexico City, Guadalajara, Cancún, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Los Cabos, Mazatlán, and also for cruise ship passengers departing from Majahual, Progreso or Ensenada. Getting the necessary paperwork together and taking the time to apply for the refund on the day of your departure can be a hassle, so it's probably only worth it if you've made a lot of purchases or bought a big ticket item.