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.
Following the 2016 European Union (EU) membership referendum in the UK, on 29 March 2017 the UK provided notice to the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the EU under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. At the time of writing (in March 2019), the date and terms of the UK’s departure from the EU have not yet been finalised. Therefore, please note that the guidance below reflects the law as it applies before the UK’s departure from the EU.
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.