Can I get a VAT refund?
When people shop in the UK they pay VAT on most things they buy. But there is a ‘VAT Retail Export scheme’ that allows certain people to claim back the VAT they have been charged on most of the goods they take out of the European Union (EU).
The scheme is normally advertised in UK shops as ‘Tax-Free Shopping’. Not all shops operate the scheme – if you are interested in using the scheme, look for shops displaying a Tax-Free Shopping sign or ask a shop assistant before you buy.
The UK left the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020 and entered a transitional period, currently due to end on 31 December 2020, during which EU law continues to apply in the UK. The UK’s relationship with the EU beyond the end of the transitional period has not yet been finalised. Please note that the guidance below reflects the law as it applied before the UK’s departure from the EU, and as it will continue to apply throughout the transitional period.
We look at below:
We recommend that you read HMRC Notice 704/1 Tax-free shopping in the UK to find out whether or not you can use the scheme.
HMRC Notice 704/1 Tax-free shopping in the UK explains how the Tax Free Shopping scheme works.
Please note the scheme does not include a number of items and the HMRC notice explains which items are excluded such as services.