VAT Refunds for UK Visitors

VAT Refunds for UK Visitors

United Kingdom is the country where you should not miss to visit in your life and do shopping while you visit the country. it is possible for the uk visitors to claim the vat before they make a travel. Our United Kingdom travel guide will guide you to VAT refunds for UK visitors and tells you more on what VAT is, why you would want to reclaim it, who can and who cannot reclaim it, the correct procedure for reclaiming the VAT and other useful resources.

What is VAT & Why do you have to claim it back?

Value-added tax (VAT) is a Sales Tax (the UK government will change the percentage very often according to the country’s economy situation) which is currently 20% levied on most goods and services except basic food items, books and children's clothing. Restaurants must, by law, include VAT in their menu prices. If you are travelling for leisure purposes or visiting friends and family, you may be eligible for a VAT refund.

Visitors who Can Claim it back?

UK Visitors or UK tourists from non-European Union countries can reclaim the sales tax (VAT) on purchases from a number of British retailers*.

To claim, first purchase the goods from any merchant displaying the Tax Free Shopping sign. You'll be given a tax refund form by the retailer – keep it along with your receipt.

When you get to the airport, take your receipt and form to the Travelex counter or the Customs desk (located before and after security). Please ensure the form is completed before arrival and ensure you have the items with you for inspection. Anything large and bulky (including clothing) will need to be presented before check-in. High-value items including watches, cameras and smart phones must be presented after security control.

It may be possible for the refund to be paid in cash but this will depend on the retailer where the goods were purchased.

You may also be able to have your refund paid in your own local currency – just ask at the desk.

Please note the average queue time is 30 minutes, but will be longer at peak times, or if you are part of a tour group, or queuing behind a tour group. Please allow extra time to complete the VAT reclaim process and ensure you have checked in at least one hour before your departure time to clear check-in and airport security.

Which Goods Can You Reclaim Funds On?

The goods that visitors can reclaim funds on include all the goods purchases on which VAT was paid for in the UK. It should be noted that there are some exceptions where there are no refunds available. Some of the goods not currently eligible for refunds include:

Cars - new and used.

Goods worth more than £600 exported for the purposes of business. 

Gemstones that are unmounted 

Mail order goods including Internet sales 

Service charges i.e. hotel expenses, restaurants.

For a full list please see HM Revenue & Customs - VAT Refunds for further information on the VAT refund scheme.


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