VAT Refund
OR Tambo International Airport

This appears to be quite an arduous task, but if your purchase is fairly sunstantial, it makes it worth it!

1 : Purchase
When you buy the article, let them know you're a foreign tourist, and ask for a tax invoive.
This must contain :

  • The words Tax Invoice
  • The seller's name and address
  • The seller's VAT registration number (a ten digit number, starting with a 4)
  • The date of issue of the tax invoice
  • A tax invoice number
  • A full description of the goods purchased, second hand goods must be indicated as such
  • The cost of the goods supplied in Rands
  • The amount of VAT charged, or a statement that VAT at the rate of 14% is included in the total cost of the goods
  • In the case of purchases over R3 000.00, the purchaser's name and address and the quantity or volume of the goods must appear on the tax invoice.

    Remember : Only the person whose name appears on the invoice may claim the refund.
    Tax invoices exceeding R3 000.00 that have been generated by a point of sale system that does not reflect the purchaser’s name and address but which are accompanied by proof of payment reflecting the purchaser’s name, for example a credit card payment slip, will be considered.
    In the event that you are in possession of an invoice exceeding R3 000.00 that does not comply with the above requirement, you may obtain a “copy tax invoice” from the South African vendor which reflects the purchaser’s name and address.
    The “copy tax invoice” together with the original invoice endorsed with a “VRA goods inspected” stamp may then be lodged for processing.

    2 : Inspection
    Remember: No Inspection No refund!
    When you depart, you must present your purchases as well as the relevant tax invoices to a VAT Refund official for inspections.
    If your purchases are too large to be kept as hand-luggage, you must present the goods and relevant tax invoices at a VAT Refund inspection desk or to a South African Customs official prior to the goods being checked in.
    You must have evidence, by an endorsement on the relevant tax invoice, that your article has been inspected by a VAT Refund official or a South African Customs official.

    3 : Claim your Refund :
    On departure from OR Tambo, present your claim at the VAT refund office.
    Your refund will be made by rand cheque payable anywhere in the world, except South Africa.
    The cheques may be cashed at the airport banking facility, into a major currency of your choice.
    Alternatively the refund can be credited to your VISA or Mastercard credit card account.
    Details will be provided by the VAT Refund Administrator's office at the airport.

    Methods of payment :
    VAT refund less than R3 000.00
    You may elect to receive your VAT refund in one of three ways:

  • A VAT refund cheque in South African Rands, which can be cashed on your departure at the banking facility in the International departures area.
  • You may also elect to receive the VAT refund by way of a foreign draft, issued in US Dollars, Pound Sterling, Euro, or one of the other major currencies.
  • In such a case, your VAT refund cheque will be mailed to you once the VAT refund claim has been approved by the South African Revenue Service.

    VAT refund exceeding R3 000.00
    Where the VAT refund exceeds R3 000.00, you will not receive payment as described above, but you can still elect any one of the three methods of payment mentioned above.
    Please note that payment will only be made once the VAT refund claim has been approved by the South African Revenue Service.

    There are VAT refund desks in:

  • the public area of the international departures terminal (for use before check-in)
  • the holding lounge

    Make sure you have followed the above steps before proceeding to the VAT refund outlet.
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