How Do I Ensure My VAT Refund?
To ensure a 20% VAT refund, the current possessor needs to own the property for at least 20 years – even though most rental periods last either nine or 11 years – and to rent it to a tenant, providing special services. This ensures he or she won’t have to pay the government fractions of the refund for selling the property early. If one decides to sell the property before the 20 years is up he or she will have to pay the French government 1/20th of the VAT refund for each year before the rental period is up. For example, if one owns the property for nine years, he or she will have to pay 11/20ths of the amount of the VAT refund. On top of this, the new buyers of the property must be French leaseback owners as well. If not, you will be liable for the rebate since the property will no longer be used for tourism.
VAT refunds take roughly 3 months to process if done by yourself. Most of the time, they are processed by the property developers who might charge a small commission for doing so.