UTU Tax Free FAQs

We've compiled a list of answers to common questions.

What is UTU Tax Free?

UTU Tax Free is the world’s first major mobile innovation in tax-free shopping. It introduces a brand new way of claiming your VAT Refund . Our App tracks all your refunds, saving you time queuing and filling forms. All from your fingertips! Most importantly, it offers you a higher refund on your overseas shopping.

 

What is UTU 100% Refund?

UTU 100% Refund is an instant refund given to you in the form of an eVoucher, in equal value of your VAT refund amount. You can redeem this eVoucher immediately for your next purchase in the store. There are no fees or charges applied.

 

How do I get a 100% refund?

When you shop at any of our selected UTU Partner stores, you’ll be prompted on the cashier’s device to opt for a 100% in-store eVoucher that is made available instantly on your mobile which you can then redeem immediately for your next purchase at the same store.

 

How do I claim a VAT refund?

Under EU regulations, international travellers can claim Value Added Tax (VAT) paid on goods they have purchased in the EU. To be eligible for tax-free shopping in any of the EU countries, you must reside permanently outside the EU or have a valid long-term visa (over 3 months) for a non-EU country.

At your last country of departure before leaving the EU, but before checking-in, you need to obtain a Customs stamp on all your VAT Refund forms at any Customs – airports, seaports and others. Prepare your duly-completed VAT Refund forms, receipts, and passport. The Customs officer may request to see your purchases before validating your forms.

 

Do I need my passport to do tax-free shopping with UTU?

Yes, you need your passport for tax free shopping when you make your purchases and when you submit your Tax Refund Form and proof of goods purchased to Customs to get export validation. You can save yourself some time and register your passport to the UTU App before you travel.

 

Where can I find the list of participating UTU Partners?

Go to ‘Shop’ section on the App and UTU Brand Partners are listed there. These are the shops that offer UTU 100% Refund in the form of an eVoucher.

 

Do I need my VAT refund forms validated at Customs?

We advise you to keep all your VAT refund forms and receipts as they need to be validated at Customs checkpoints.

 

What if I had forgotten to validate my VAT refund forms at Customs?

If you have claimed the 100% Refund eVoucher, you have 21 days from the date of issue of the eVoucher to validate your form at the Customs or you will be charged the full amount of the eVoucher plus 3% processing fees on the value of the eVoucher or €5, whichever is higher.  However, your VAT refund form is valid for 90 days from the date of issue. If you validate it after 21 days and within 90 days,  the full amount of eVoucher charged will be refunded to the selected Payment Channel excluding the processing fees.

 

What does Refund to Payment Channel on cashier’s device mean?

When you choose Refund to Payment Channel instead of 100% Refund eVoucher, your VAT is refunded to your choice of payment channel and you will receive up to 80% of your VAT refund amount, subject to your completion of due process of validating the refund forms at Customs.

 

Why was my VAT Refund form denied at Customs?

There could be many reasons why the forms may be denied including 1. Failure to provide the required information, and 2. Not meeting the minimum spend at a single retailer. Whatever the reasons may be, validation of the Forms fall under the jurisdiction of the Customs. We have no control. We advise you to contact the Customs for further clarifications.

 

How long does the VAT refund process take?

If you have completed all the paperwork and got the VAT refund forms stamped at the airport or seaport, mailed the documents and requested your VAT to be refunded to your credit card, you should receive your refunds within 21 working days.

 

Which are the mobile operating systems that UTU supports?

For iPhone, iOS version 7.1 and above

For Android, version 6.0 and above

How do I register for a UTU account?

  1. Download the UTU App available on App Store, Google Play, Mi Store, Huawei App Store, Baidu App Store
  2. Register your profile with your First Name and Last Name. (Ensure that the name you filled-in is in accordance to your Passport.)
  3. Enter your Mobile and Passport Number
  4. Enter your credit card details and proceed to verify the credit card with bank OTP process
 

Why do I need to enter my credit card information?

You will need to enter at least one credit card when you register so that all your VAT refunds will be credited to the choice of your payment channel. The fastest option is to scan your credit card so that we are able to capture the right information. Alternatively, enter the information manually. Ensure information entered is accurate, or delays in your VAT refund may result.

 

Am I able to edit my profile after I have registered?

You may open the UTU App > Menu > View and Edit Profile > Done

  

How can I update my credit card information?

You may remove a credit card by swiping left on your ‘My Cards’ screen and adding another.

 

What is the UTU ID?

When you register for a UTU account, UTU creates a unique ID associated to your account. Upon successful registration, the UTU ID appears on the bottom right of your App home page. Clicking on it will change your UTU ID into a QR Code; clicking it again will switch it to a Barcode.

 

Where can I view all my transactions and refunds?

Clicking on the arrow at the top of the navigation bar will display a summary of your transactions. At the bottom of this summary page is a ‘Statement’ button, and clicking on that will show all your transaction history, such as the eVouchers claimed, pending refunds, and total refunds.

 

How do I delete my UTU account?

To remove your Account, open your UTU App, select Menu > View and Edit Profile > Edit > Delete Profile.

 

Why am I unable to delete my UTU account?

A possible reason why your account cannot be deleted is due to pending amounts in your account. Simply contact UTU Support and we will assist you to clear the pending amounts and remove your account.

What is UTU Direct?

Bring us any VAT refund form issued by any tax refund operator and UTU Direct will give you 85% of your VAT Refund for your tax-free purchases in Italy versus the ~55-60% refund that you get today.

 

How does UTU Direct work?

Download the UTU Tax Free app, available on all major app stores. Ensure that you have signed up and registered with your payment card and passport details before you shop. Once you make a tax free purchase, take your Tax Free form(s) to the nearest UTU Service Counter or Lounge (please ensure you do not sign on the form, neither hand your credit card to the cashier nor opt in for any in-store instant refund offered. This is to avoid suffering penalty fees later on). Once your VAT Refund is processed, you will receive a notification on your UTU app and you’re free to cash back to your preferred payment channel.

 

Why should I not sign my Tax Free Form?

This is so that you won’t be charged any penalty fee or suffer a lower tax refund rate so remember to avoid putting your credit card information on the form or signing it. Simply take your forms to a UTU Service Counter or Lounge & we’ll do the rest.

 

Step 1: Ask for a Tax Free Form at the store

Inform the cashier that

  1. You do not want to use a credit card for your tax refund (so that you won’t be charged any penalty fee or suffer a lower tax refund rate)
  2. Leave the credit card field blank, and do not sign on the form

 

Step 2: Go to a UTU Service Counter or Lounge

Take your Tax Free form(s) to the nearest UTU service Counter or Lounge. With the help of our service agent, sign your form and get your Passport verified.

 

Step 3: Validate your Tax Free Forms

Remember to validate all of your UTU processed Tax Free forms with Customs, at the last point of departure before leaving the eurozone.

 

Step 4: Enclose and Mail

Put your validated forms in the pre-paid envelope (provided to you at the UTU Service Counters or Lounge) and mail them at a public mailbox (there is usually one located near Customs) before you leave the EU.

Remember: No Customs stamp, No refund. No need to queue up anywhere else.

 

Where can I find UTU service counters and Lounges?

You can find UTU Service Counters in 4 cities in Italy: Milan, Rome, Florence & Venice.

Visit our unique UTU Service Lounge in the heart of Montenapoleone! 

  • Milan – Via Borgospesso, 8, 20121 Milano MI, Italy

You may also visit the following Interchange locations in these cities to find a UTU Service Counter:

  • Rome – Via di Porta Angelica 37/39 00193-Roma
  • Rome – Piazza di Spagna 80 00187-Roma
  • Florence – Via Por Santa Maria, 35/R 50122 Firenze
  • Venice – Merceria San Salvador, 4840 30124-Venezia

 

What do I need to do at a UTU Service Counter or Lounge?

If you choose to shop in Italy, look for our UTU Service Counters and Lounge located in the heart of 4 cities: Milan, Rome, Florence & Venice. Inform the service staff that you’ll be choosing UTU Direct for your VAT refund. Present all your Tax Free forms, with supporting receipts at the counter. UTU staff will help finalize your UTU Direct submission. Your Tax Free forms will be labelled and verified by the QR Code stickers attached. Keep all your verified forms and pre-paid envelopes safely for Customs validation later.

 

Why do I need to download UTU Tax Free to use UTU Direct?

Being a UTU Member helps you have a rewarding shopping experience in Italy! You can add your passport and payment details and register before you shop. After carrying out the UTU Direct steps, you’ll get to track your spend and refund on your mobile. Once your UTU Direct refund(s) has been processed, you’ll receive an in-app notification and can then cash out your 85% refund to a preferred payment channel. You’ll also be able to use all of our solutions within one seamless App.

What is UTU Plus?     

UTU Plus is another innovative tax-free solution that offers up to 5% more on your VAT refund. Just choose UTU Plus upon registration and you will be automatically issued a 16-digit account number. Upon completing the Customs validation, your VAT refund amount together with up to 5% extra cash is conveniently credited into your Default Payment Channel.

*You are considered a tourist if you are a non-EU resident and do not hold a EU passport

 

What does up ‘to 5%’ mean?

Your additional ‘up to 5%’ is awarded on the VAT refund amount when UTU receives it from the VAT operator. This bonus will be credited to your UTU Plus account and may not be exactly 5% due to currency fluctuations which occur as a result of the conversion to the currency chosen.

 

In which currency is the UTU Plus Virtual Card issued in?

The UTU Plus Virtual Card is a Euro-based currency card.

 

 What is the UTU Plus Virtual Card used for?

The UTU Plus Virtual Card can only be used for VAT Refunds. Any other use will be considered an abuse of the service and will imply your personal responsibility as specified under our Terms and conditions.

 

Where can I shop tax free with the UTU Plus Virtual Card?

Tax free shopping with UTU Plus Virtual Card is currently available in the following countries:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Cyprus
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
 

What are the fees charged for UTU Plus Virtual Card?

You will be charged a one-time fixed amount for the Service activation (activation fee) of the UTU Plus Virtual Card an amount of 1,99 Euro. For receiving your VAT refund onto your preferred payment channel, a fee of 2,5% is applied. UTU does not charge any transaction fees on card transactions. 

Fee Type

Value

Currency

Account set up

0

Euro

Card Activation

1.99

Euro

Monthly account maintenance

0

Euro

Monthly card maintenance

0

Euro

Receipt of VAT refund onto the UTU Plus Virtual Card

(Charged on Tax Refund load)

2.5%

Euro

Disbursement of VAT onto designated payment channel

0

Euro

FX mark up

0%

Euro

Card renewal (PAN, extend validity)

1,00

Euro

Card replacement (new PAN, reissue card)

0

Euro

Account closure/redemption

0

Euro

 

What is the exchange rate used?

When the VAT amount is transferred to your selected payment channel, a currency conversion may apply. The exchange rate is a variable rate, however, it is calculated at 0,9% above the ECB (Euro foreign exchange reference rates).  If you wish to receive information about the currency exchange rate on a specific transaction on your UTU Plus Virtual Card, please contact our Customer Support specialist, who will provide you this information. The 0,9% is not charged to the UTU member.

 

How do I register for UTU Plus Virtual Card?

Simply download the UTU Tax Free app from App Store or Google Play store and complete registration with your personal details including your passport details. Add your preferred payment channel(s) which you would like to link to the UTU Plus Virtual card in order to receive your tax refund. This way you will receive your tax refund onto your preferred payment channel. 

 

Who do I call or reach if I have any queries?

Should you have any queries or need any assistance, please contact us all days between 11:00-19:00 (CET or UTC/GMT+1) at +44 (800) 041 8174 or write to us at ututaxfree@utu.global. For customer support out of office hours, please call the self-service number +44 (800) 047 0996.

 

HOW TO USE IT?

 

Which shops can I claim a Tax (VAT) Refund from?

Most authorized stores you visit as a tourist in the EU will offer you a tax refund, or a VAT refund.

Shops do not have to offer a Tax-free or VAT-free service. Most authorised stores you visit (as a tourist in the EU) will offer you a tax refund, or a VAT refund. The shop will usually display a prominent sign in the window, advertising that it is a ‘tax-free’ or ‘VAT-free’ shop. This may be displayed in the local language. To be sure, when you are in the store, ask the shop assistant in advance whether they provide this service.

 

How do I use the UTU Plus to receive my VAT refund?

At your last country of departure before leaving the EU, but before checking-in, you need to obtain Customs validation on all your VAT Refund forms at any Customs – airports, seaports and others. Prepare your duly-completed VAT Refund forms, receipts, and passport. The Customs officer may request to see your purchases before validating your forms.

You must enter your assigned UTU Plus Virtual Card 16 digit card number as your preferred refund channel when you fill up your VAT Refund form. Under EU regulations, international travelers can claim Value Added Tax (VAT) paid on goods they have purchased in the EU.

The refund received using UTU Plus Virtual Card will be up to 5% more than what is normally received using other modes of refund such as cash, credit cards or e-wallets. Additional promotional campaign can eventually add a further percentage points of refund as better specified on the App at the time of the activation.

 

Do I need my passport to do Tax Free shopping?                  

Yes, you need your passport for Tax Free shopping when you make your purchases and when you submit your purchases to Customs to get export validation.

 

Do I have to still fill in the VAT Refund form in-store?   

Yes. You have to obtain your tax refund form from the shop you made a purchase at. Simply fill in your unique UTU Plus Virtual Card number with the local currency of the country selected to complete the tax refund process.

 

How long does the refund process take?                            

The refund process commences immediately once submitted, if the form is delivered at the desk of the proper tax refund operator, filled in with your unique UTU Plus VISA card number. The refund process can take up to 3/4 weeks if posted in a public mailbox with the proper prepaid envelope and filled in with your unique UTU Plus VISA Card number. Follow the App instructions in order to avoid delays.

 

How long will it take to get the VAT refund transferred onto my preferred payment channel?

From successfully submitting your VAT refund request to the Tax Refund Operator, you can expect to receive your VAT refund on your selected preferred Payment Channel in up to 5 weeks. We commit to automatically credit within 3 to 5 days from receiving the VAT refund amount from the tax refund operator onto the UTU Plus Visa Card, directly on your selected payment channel.

 

How do I get Customs validation for my VAT refund forms?         

When leaving EU, you need to obtain a customs approval or validation from your last point of departure. To obtain it, you have to submit your duly completed VAT form, receipts, personal information and purchased goods at Customs.

 

Where do I enter my assigned UTU Plus Virtual card number on the VAT Refund Form?

Please enter your UTU Plus Virtual Card Number into the credit card/ payment card section of your VAT refund form.

 

Do I need to show my UTU App when paying at the store?

You do not need to flash your app if when you are filling in the form. Simply enter your 16-digit UTU Plus Virtual Card number in your payment card number section.

 

Why was my VAT Refund form denied by Customs?

There could be many reasons why the forms may be denied including:

  1. Failure to provide the required information,
  2. Not meeting the minimum spent at a single retailer,
  3. Other

Whatever the reasons may be, validation of the Forms falls under the jurisdiction of the Customs. UTU has no control. We advise you to contact the Customs for further clarifications.

 

Payment Channel

 

Do I need a Credit or Debit card to claim my VAT refund? 

Yes. In order to obtain your VAT refund, you need to first register your preferred payment channel in your UTU app.

 

What is a payment channel?

A payment channel is your own standard bank card. You can link your card to the UTU Plus Virtual Account by adding your card details in the app.

 

What are the payment channels UTU connects to?                             

You can register with your own payment card in the UTU app. UTU supports following card schemes:

  • Visa Credit Card
  • Visa Debit Card
  • Visa Electron
  • MasterCard Credit Card
  • MasterCard Debit Card
  • UnionPay Credit Card
  • UnionPay Debit Card

Please remember that UTU does not support pre-paid cards for refunding.

 

How many cards can I add?

You may add up to 5 credit or debit cards of your preference.

 

What are the supported currencies?

UTU Plus supports all currencies. and the settlement currencies in the table below.

 

GOOD TO KNOW

 

What’s a VAT refund and is it the same as tax refund?

Yes, VAT (Value Added Tax) is a tax given on the value of goods and it is included in the price of anything purchased as a tourist, so a VAT refund is a tax refund. Each European Country has a different VAT percentage. If you are a visitor to the EU and you are returning to a non-EU country, you may be eligible to buy goods for personal use free of VAT.

 

Am I eligible for tax free shopping? 

If you’re a tourist and not a permanent resident of the EU, you can shop tax free in the EU. Look out for authorized retailers and don’t forget to fill up your tax refund forms before departure.

 

What is a card issuer?

A credit card issuer is any financial institution that issues, or causes to be issued, payment instruments/cards. 

Is my money safe with UTU?

UTU acts as an intermediary in the VAT refund procedure for purchases of personal goods made in the customs territory of the European Union. As part of our agreement with you, we undertake liability to transfer the VAT refund amount once received onto the UTU Plus Virtual card to your preferred designated payment channel

 

 Is UTU regulated?

UTU is GDPR and PCI compliant. We are not required to be regulated for the provision of VAT tax refund services.  

 

MY UTU APP

 

How do I update my details?

Go to “View and Edit Profile” in the UTU app. Here you are able to change your personal details and contact information.

 

How can I get a statement?

Your UTU application, UTU Plus section has Statement feature, you can view your statement any time to track status of your refunds.

 

VAT Refund is not showing up in my statement, why?

Please ensure you have completed necessary procedure required by the tax free operator and customs regulations. The process of VAT refund can take up to 5 weeks.

 

My UTU Plus Virtual Card is due to expire

When your UTU Plus Virtual Card is about to expire, your UTU app will notify you. You can renew your UTU Plus Virtual card for an additional 3 months for 1 euro by simply choosing so on your UTU app.

 

How can I terminate my account?

Go to “View and Edit Profile” in your UTU app and press edit. At the bottom of screen, you have a choice to terminate your account by clicking “Delete profile”. Please remember you cannot terminate your account if you have any pending transactions.

 

Is there a fee to terminate my account?

No. There are no additional fees charged when you decide to terminate account.

 

How is the information I provided being used?

Please refer to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy available in the UTU Plus app.

 

How can I submit a lost or stolen report or account data compromise?

Please call us all days between 11:00-19:00 (CET or UTC/GMT+1) at +44 (800) 041 8174 or contact us at ututaxfree@utu.global.  For out of office hours, please use the self-service number +44 (800) 047 0996.

How does UTU 100% Refund work?

  1. Download UTU, register for UTU membership with your mobile number, email, and add your passport and payment channel details.
  2. Identify yourself as a UTU member at the cashier the moment you make a purchase at any UTU Partner store. You will be asked to scan your UTU Member ID from the cashier’s device and to select a refund option of your choice. Select your 100% Refund in the form of eVoucher which you can use instantly for your next purchase at the same UTU Partner store.
  3. Please ensure that you remember to validate your tax refund forms at Customs within 21 days of issue to avoid being charged the full amount of the 100% Refund (received in the form of an eVoucher on the app).
  4. Alternatively, you may choose Conventional Refund that offers you up to 80% of your VAT refund amount, credited directly to your preferred Payment Channel.
 

Do all eVoucher have an expiry?

Yes. All eVouchers issued at the UTU Partner store will have an expiry date. Terms and Conditions may vary from store to store.

 

Can I exchange my eVoucher for cash?

All eVoucher issued are subject to the UTU Partner’s terms and conditions. Please refer to the eVoucher terms and conditions on the UTU App.

 

Is there a minimum/maximum amount for conventional refund to Payment Card?

There is a minimum of 10 USD to be refunded as the conventional refund to Payment Card.

The app is not loading on my mobile device. What should I do?

Make sure that your mobile device is connected to WiFi or that your mobile data is activated on your mobile.

 

How is my information managed?

Your information is stored in the encrypted formats at secure servers. UTU is PCI compliant which means that we are verified to securely handle payment information.

Email: ututaxfree@utu.global
UTU App General Support: +44 (800) 0418174

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