NEW YORK -- American business travelers can save money on European purchases by using their MasterCard International BusinessCard.

The MasterCard VAT Reclaim Service, streamlines the procedure for recovering value-added taxes paid on almost all goods and services purchased in the European Community.

U.S. companies are entitled to a refund of the tax, which can add up to 25% to each purchase, but many don't bother applying because of the complicated refund process. Some companies are not aware that they qualify for a refund.

MasterCard has partnered with Foreign Exchange Co. of Ireland, a VAT reclaim specialist, to offer the service.

U.S. companies call an 800 number to receive a fulfillment kit, complete a MasterCard VAT Reclaim Service application form, provide original sales receipts, and sign a power of attorney form.

Foreign Exchange Co. takes it from there, working with local governments to reclaim the taxes incurred.

The U.S. company receives a refund on its account when the process is completed.

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