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Tax Free Shopping in Mexico! Is it worth it?

Shopping in Playa Del Carmen Touche collection

If shopping in Mexico on vacation sounds like enough fun in itself, how does doing it tax free sound? It is possible to get this discount but there are some important details you will need to consider and see if it is worth participating for you.

How does Tax Free shopping in Mexico work?

  1. You need to shop at an affiliated store with Tax Free shopping.
  2. Ask for an official invoice with the stores tax id number (this is usually just the receipt from the store) and keep your credit card slips if you used a card.
  3. When you leave at the airport, visit the Tax Free booths with your paperwork.
  4. In about 40 days you will receive your refund.
  5. And that is all you need to do.

Where can you find shops in the affiliated Tax Free program?

There are more then 10,000 stores in the program. These tend to be more commercial stores that are larger. You will need to look for the Tax Free sticker in the store of ask if they are an affiliate. Some of the stores you can shop at are Cartier, Tommy Hilfiger, Massimo Dutti, Ultra Jewels, Sunglass Hut, Armani Exchange, Nike Factory Store, Zara, Pineda Covalin, Bershka, Cloe, Swarovski, Pull and Bear, Plaza La Fiesta, Boss, Full Sand, Levis and Guess.

You can find many of these stores in Playa Del Carmen on 5th Avenue and in the shopping plazas of Paseo Del Carmen and Quinta Alegria.

Note: There are exclusions of certain products for the Tax Free program like drugs, food, and services like tours, hotels and transportation are not included.

What are the limits for cash and credit card purchased for the Tax Free program?

If you use cash you should save all your receipts with the RFC number (Mexican Tax id number). There is no minimum for cash purchased but there is a maximum of 3000 MX pesos. So if you want to get tax back you should only spend cash up to 3000 pesos and then use a credit card for other purchases.

For credit cards or debit cards there is a minimum of 1200 MX pesos per invoice. This means that in one store you will need to make a large enough purchase to meet the 1200 MX peso threshold. There however is no maximum so you can go a little crazy with this! So you can spend unlimited amounts of money on credit cards and as long as each purchase has a receipt of 1200, MX pesos then it qualifies for tax back.

Note: If you have large purchases like goods over 5000 MX Pesos you will be asked to show the goods at the time of getting to a Tax Free booth.

Who qualifies to the Tax Free shopping?

Any tourist that comes to Mexico and leaves via airplane or cruise is available to get this arrangement.

What paperwork do you need at the airport?

  • You will need your receipts with the stores tax id number (called RFC) and credit card slips.
  • Your passport.
  • Your boarding pass either boarding ticket or cruise ticket.
  • Your immigration form and the tax refund forms filled out.

What is the tax in Mexico and what do you get back?

The VAT (or value added tax) in Mexico is 16%. You will notice that every store you are in the tax is already included in the price and no store can add taxes to your purchases at the register. It is illegal for a store to do this in Mexico! With the Tax Free program you get 65% of the tax back. This means you are about getting 10% back on your purchases. It is up to you if you think it is worth the time and effort to fill out the forms and keep the receipts. For example if you spend about 3000 MX pesos in cash and file for the Tax Free program you will receive about 300 pesos back. If you plan on large purchases especially at the jewelry stores this program can be an incentive to buy something large because of the refund.

Tax Free is a Mexican company that works with the Mexican government to provide this service and has been open since 2006.

After you leave Mexico you can actually track your refund at the official site here.

Where are the Tax Free booths at the Cancun airport?

In Terminal 2 at the Cancun airport the booth is on the main floor and open from 9:00am-10:00pm. In Terminal 3 it is located upstairs in front of Gate C21. It is open from 9:00am-10:00pm.

If you don’t do the paperwork at the airport you can email the documents to:


If you are going to spend some money at the affiliate stores you might want to consider this. The paperwork is fairly east to fill our and the refund process is straight forward. Happy shopping everyone!

Have you done this program? Let us know how it worked for you in the comments below.

16 Comments on Tax Free Shopping in Mexico! Is it worth it?

  1. Cindy Dodson // April 1, 2016 at 8:36 AM // Reply


    I filled out all the required paperwork in Los Cabos at the airport, at the Maritime terminal. I was given paperwork with phone numbers if I did not receive my payment. I did not and the numbers are not working and all emails have gone unanswered. I may call the store that I received the jewelry from, Eduardo Sanchez.
    Please advise

    • Mr.Yucatan // April 1, 2016 at 10:15 AM // Reply

      Sorry to hear you are having issues with getting your tax refund back. Here are a few questions for you. Was the store on the list of registered stores? Has it been 40 days since you submitted the paperwork? If you say yes to those then contacting the store might be the best thing to do and ask them about it. Although they might not pay it much attention since they already made the sale, but hopefully it gets all worked out for you.

  2. Hi there I spent an obscene amount of money (about £10,000 GBP) on holiday at Playa Del Carmen, I had all my receipts and processed it all. I was told it takes 30-60 days. It has been 60 days and the company is not answering me.

    I took the receipts to a desk in a gem store in Quinta avenida. I do not remember the name of the store, super gems something like that. Also I processed some more paperwork at another desk at a Sephora I think near the Cozumal ferry point on the mainland at the bottom of Quinta avenida. Please can you help me?

    • Mr.Yucatan // May 29, 2016 at 9:58 AM // Reply

      When you say you processed receipts at the store, what do you mean? The program works when you take the official store receipt with the stores RFC number on it (that means the store is officially reporting it as taxable income to the government). Then you are to take your receipts to the airport and fill out the forms or submit via email to the contact in the article for your tax free shopping discount. Did the store say they would process it for you?

  3. Hi I took it to an official at a desk yes. They made copies of the receipts and my boarding passes my passport number. They said I did not have to do anything further the paperwork would take 30-60 days to complete. I holidayed in March 2016. I completed a lot of paperwork at the official tax desk at a jewellery store on 5th avenue. Super gem or something. The tax desk was right at the back of the gem/jewellery store.

    • Mr.Yucatan // May 30, 2016 at 1:40 AM // Reply

      Ok. We can go by the store to ask for you. We will include in the article and tell people that they should do it at the airport instead of at the store. There is no incentive for the store complete the paperwork after they have made the sale. It is not a benefit for them to process the paperwork and even more vile thought, they don’t have to record the sale to tax authorities if it is recorded. One option you do have is to file the paperwork yourself via the email address in the article. If we are able to find out anything at the store we will let you know.

    • Mr.Yucatan // May 30, 2016 at 6:20 PM // Reply

      We have to say we went looking to this store on 5th and near the Cozumel Ferry Pier and did not find this store. There are no stores named Super Gem or even close to that. So we are not able to help any further. Your best bet is to submit all your paperwork to the official email address of the tax free program to get your refund. We wish you good luck with this.

  4. I travel to cancun and purchased a bag from Louis Vuitton. I went to the tax free office to get my tax refund paperwork filled out. The gentleman advised me I will be receiving the refund in my credit card within 30 to 90 days. It has been more than 3 and a half month already. I still did not receive my refund.

    • Hello Peggy

      Did you get an email or phone number with your receipt?

      • Yes, I sent the email to the person that took care of my refund and he never responded to my email. It’s been almost a month for the first email, and I sent another follow up email around last week or so. Same, no respond.

  5. I sent the email to the person that took care of my refund and he never responded to my email. It’s been almost a month for the first email, and I sent another follow up email around last week or so. Same, no respond.

  6. This is just fraud. I log a claim whne i left mexico on 9 july, i got an enail tbat the money have been refind, but nothing show up on mu amex card. Tax said i have to talk with amex, hahahaha, if they are puting money back on my amex, why Amex should be the contact pint? Well i believe this is how the whole system works in mexico

  7. it seems like tax refunds programs such as moneyback and taxfree in playa del carmen are big scams. the scary thing is that you leave your passport copy and boarding flight reservation that has a lot of information on it.
    Did anybody try to get a refund directly at the official custom/immigration office in cancun airport instead of going via those 3rd party companies?

  8. With the common trend being no-one gets a refund I wonder why this is even done either in Mexico or here in the USA? Let’s face it what incentive is there for the retailer. Plus like what it has been said once the sale is made and your out of country the chances of getting your refund looks like its 0%.

  9. I bought a new macbook at the Istore on Quinta and was given the rfc receipt and a leaflet to claim some of the tax back via MONEYBACK. It lists kiosks at all the main tourist airports as well as 4 inside PDC shops. Are these the same guys as Tax Free? The leaflet says you need to shop at one of their affiliated stores. Does that preclude me from using TAX FREE to claim it back?

    Thing is, the MONEYBACK leaflet the store have me offers 8.9% refund, which is 56% of the tax. If I’m going to get ripped off I’d rather it was for 35% and not 44%!

    By the way, other forum reports of people getting their refunds 9-10 months later, so hold on!,

  10. This is a scam. Made purchases August 2016 and it is January 2017 and still no refund. Flyer states 40 days for refund, but that came and went months ago. Emails not answered and the website to check your status only says “Reviewing” and no contact information.It is also not a secure website so expect some fraud entering your passport number.

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