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Shopping Abroad: Limits, Exemptions and Taxes

  1. What is the purchase limit at the outbound free shop?

There is no limit on purchases at the duty-free shop at the airport where you board in Brazil. The store can sell as much as you want to buy. Everything that is bought on the way, however, is already considered to be abroad. There is no specific exemption for these purchases; on the way back you may have to pay tax on electronic items (read more in item 3).

  1. What is the limit on purchases from duty-free shops abroad?

Generally speaking, there is also no limit on purchases at airport duty-free shops where you travel abroad, whether in Ezeiza, Panama, Dubai, Cancún or wherever. Some countries will limit the amount of drinks and cigarettes you can buy, but there is no limit to the amount of spending you can make. Know, however, that these purchases are only tax free in the country of the duty-free shop; when arriving in Brazil, electronics purchased at foreign duty-free stores will still be subject to taxes (read more in item 3).

  1. What is the limit on purchases abroad?

Shopping Abroad: Limits, Exemptions and TaxesWe can bring a total of $ 500 in overseas purchases for travel by air (or $ 300 by land).

For a long time, that $ 500 referred only to electronic products. Clothes and objects for personal use invariably passed without problems.

Since the end of 2011, however, the IRS has tightened its enforcement, especially on flights from the United States. And when he wants, the supervisor can apply this $ 500 limit to all purchases, including clothing (and especially reaching for baby clothes).

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To the letter of the law, some electronics are excluded (read the next item), 20 souvenirs up to US $ 5 (as long as no more than 10 items are the same) and 10 more pieces over US $ 5 (no limit of 3 equals).

Most people still manage to get through with all their clothes shopping without any major problems. But if your flight is chosen for christ, be prepared to pay a fine on non-electronics as well.

  1. Is it true that cameras, cell phones and watches are exempt?

Since last year a new rule has allowed you to bring a camera, a cell phone and a watch outside the $ 500 quota.

But beware: the law speaks of ONE camera, ONE cell phone and ONE watch. If you bring three watches, two of them will count towards the $ 500 quota.

And there are pranks: this camera, this cell phone and this watch need to be out of the box and already used.

So, if you are thinking and buying a super camera out there, either leave the old lady in Brazil, or abandon the old one before boarding back.

  1. Are laptops and iPads exempt too?

They are not. No computers, no iPads, no iPods, no camcorders. Do not ask me why; I didn't write the regulations.

  1. Do these exemptions apply to Ciudad del Este, Rivera or Chuí?

No. The rule that exempted a camera, watch and cell phone from paying taxes used as an excuse the possibility of the traveler needing to use this equipment during the trip.

When shopping for trips to Ciudad del Este, the IRS does not believe that you cannot spend an afternoon without a cell phone or camera. So all electronics, including cameras, watches and cell phones, count towards the $ 300 quota for land travel.

  1. And what exceeds the $ 500 limit on overseas electronics purchases?

If you declare at customs when you return - I recommend it! -, you pay 50% tax on what you exceed. For example, if your iPad cost $ 750, you pay the equivalent of $ 125 (50% of the $ 250 surplus).

If you do not report and get caught on the X-ray, you will pay a 100% penalty on the excess of the $ 500 quota.

Payment can be made by check or debit card at the airport bank branch.

  1. What is the limit for purchases at the free shop in Volta in Brazil?

At the free shop at the airport where you land in Brazil, and only at this one, you are entitled to buy US $ 500 in excess of the quota, regardless of whether it is electronic or not, whether it is for personal use or not.

These purchases are packed in the free shop's own boxes, with the note pasted on the outside, and go straight through customs.

  1. Can I register the electronics I already have before traveling?

You can't not anymore. By releasing general, the IRS created this little trap: it closed the stations at the airports where you could heat up swings simply by checking out.

In other words: if you have a non-tropicalized iPad with no rating, and traveling abroad with it, when you return it can be taxed, if you cannot prove that the bug is already shot...

  1. Is it true that there is inspection at the airport in Foz do Iguaçu?

Yes. The federal police do selective inspection on boarding. You may have passed away from Ciudad del Este, but if they are suspicious of any equipment, you will have to roll around to prove you already had it before traveling to Foz.

  1. How does the tax return on purchases abroad work?

In Europe and Argentina there are accredited stores that issue special invoices for tourists, who can deduct VAT (value added tax, equivalent to our ICMS) when leaving the country. You must make a minimum purchase at the property (the limit varies by country), fill out a form and go to the airport tax return office before boarding (you may have to show your purchases). It takes work, but you can receive up to 15% of the value of purchases back, credited to your card.

In Argentina there are stations in Ezeiza, at Aeroparque and at the Buquebus terminal. In Europe, make your consolidated statement at the departure airport of the last country of your tour.


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