How to apply for a VAT refund

Foreign visitors to South Africa may  claim back VAT paid on items which they take out of the country when the total valued exceeds R250.  The application for a refund must be lodged with the VAT Refund Administrator's offices. These offices are situated at Johannesburg and Cape Town International Airports, various land border posts and designated commercial harbours.

When purchasing goods, simply identify yourself as a foreign tourist to shop assistants, and request a tax invoice. A tax invoice must contain all the following information:

  • the amount of VAT charged, or a statement that VAT is included in the total cost of the goods
  • the quantity and full description of the goods purchased
  • a unique serialised tax invoice number
  • the buyer's name and address
  • the amount of VAT charged, or a statement to the effect that VAT at the rate of 14% is included in the total cost of the goods.

You must present the original documents as well as the items purchased.

Foreign passport holders who travel to the Republic of South Africa on a non-resident travel document and export moveable goods from the Republic of South Africa, may claim back VAT. South African passport holders are excluded from the scheme.