Ways of saving while traveling: Tax refund for tourists in Cancun

Si te gustaría leer este artículo en español, hace click acá.

Did you know that in many countries, when travelling as a tourist, you can ask for a tax refund?

Yes!In many cities you get to have a refund and this is one of those travelling tips that are a must know.

Cancun is one of the cities that makes tourists happy with beautiful beaches, historical site seeing and, on top of that, they also participates in the tax refund! Yay! And you can get it done at the airport before leaving. Super convenient.

Unfortunately, the english version of the official web page does not provide as detailed information as the one in the spanish version that is why, int this article, I will fill in the gaps so you can have a complete understanding of what to do when asking for the refund.

What do you have to know?

There is a catch, NOT all stores are affiliated to the tax free system so, in order to identify the stores which are, just look for the TAX FREE logo, on the doors of the stores or just ask one of the employees if they participate in the tax refund system.

According to the TAX FREE oficial web page, there are more than 10.000 stores affiliated to the tax refund system.

Bear in mind that they will only refund  8.9 % of the total amount spent on your shopping purchases. For those travelers who like doing their shopping on their holidays, this is  pretty good savings.

Which are the items or services that do not qualify for the tax refund?

There are some items and services that are not included in the TAXFREE refund system such as:

  • Books
  • Open alcoholic drinks
  • Medicine
  • Expenses on hotels, restaurants, taxi cabs, flight tickets, etc;
  • Perishable goods

There is not complete english list available on the official webpage, however, you can check it out in spanish here.

How does it work?

In order to ask for the refund you must keep all the receipts of the purchases done at the affiliated stores. Generally, all the stores doing the tax refund will provide you with a valid ticket for the refund. If you have any doubts at the moment of the purchase, just ask the cashier if the ticket will be accepted at the tax refund offices.

Be sure to keep all the tickets of your purchases. If you are not sure if some of them will be accepted keep them anyways. The employees at the office will tell you which are valid and which are not.


Purchases payed in CASH are limited to a maximum of $3000  Mexican Pesos per person.

If you pay your purchases with a credit or debit card, there is a minimum limit purchase of $1200 Mexican Pesos and no maximum limit.

If the total amount of your purchase exceeds $5000 Mexican Pesos you will have to bring in and show the purchases bought at the TAX FREE offices at the airport before starting the paperwork.

All the documents provided must be under the name of the person asking for the refund.

Once you get your receipts you can go to the TAXFREE offices, in this particular case, to the ones located at Cancun Airport.

In order to begin the paperwork, you will have to hand in the receipts, your passaport, your flight ticket and a credit card where they will place the refund.

Once they confirm all the documentation is correct, they will fill in a form for the refund and you will be given a copy like this one.

As regards the time the refund will take, in the english version of the official webpage they mention it will take approximately 45 days, however, in the spanish version it says it will take a maximum of 40 days, so let’s say it should not take more than 50 days to round it up.

According to the official web page the refund is subject to the SAT ( Tax Administration Service) verification and validation. This will depend on the quality and validity of the documents provided by the tourist.

Tracking your refund

Once the process began you can check the state of the refund here. You will see something like this.

Image taken from the Official Web Page TAXFREE México.


Where can I find the TAX FREE offices?

The pictures you will see correspond to Terminal 2 of Cancun Airport (CUN).

Once you are in the pre-boarding area of the airport, you will see the Free Shop next to the Domestic Departure sign.


If you go through the FREE SHOP, on your right side, you will be able to see the FREE SHOP offices, next to the scalator.

The information here given is up to the date of publication of the article.

All the information is based on my own experience and investigation. If you still have any doubts you can always go and check the official web page TAXFREE or just leave me a comment, I will happy  to get back to you with some help.

With love, from one traveler to you.


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