Taxes are usually included in the prices of hotel rooms, restaurant meals, and items purchased in shops. The price on the tag is what you’ll pay at the register.
The Czech V.A.T. is called DPH (daň z přidané hodnoty), and there are two rates. The higher one (21%) covers nearly everything—gifts, souvenirs, clothing, and food in restaurants. Food in grocery stores and books are taxed by 15%. Exported goods are exempt from the tax, which can be refunded. All tourists outside the EU are entitled to claim the tax back if they spend more than 2,000 Kč in one shop on the same day. Global Blue processes V.A.T. refunds in the Czech Republic and will give you your refund in cash (U.S. dollars or euros) from a booth at the airport; be aware that the Czech Republic does not provide a postage-paid mailer for V.A.T. refund forms, unlike most other European countries.
When making a purchase, ask for a V.A.T. refund form and find out whether the merchant gives refunds—not all stores do, nor are they required to. Have the form stamped like any customs form by customs officials when you leave the country or, if you're visiting several European Union countries, when you leave the EU. After you're through passport control, take the form to a refund-service counter for an on-the-spot refund (which is usually the quickest and easiest option), or mail it to the address on the form (or the envelope with it) after you arrive home. You receive the total refund stated on the form, but the processing time can be long, especially if you request a credit-card adjustment.
Global Blue is a Europe-wide service with 240,000 affiliated stores and more than 700 refund counters at major airports and border crossings. Its refund form, called a Tax Free Check, is the most common across the European continent. The service issues refunds in the form of cash, check, or credit-card adjustment.
Global Blue. 866/706–6090; 800–700–755; www.globalblue.com.