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Recovering Tax on duty-free purchases

Recovering Tax on duty-free purchases

Esme Shakeshaft

One (potentially large) benefit of Brexit is that from 1st January 2021 residents of England, Scotland and Wales shopping in the EU (or Northern Ireland) are eligible to shop tax-free on certain goods as a private consumer. Only limited shops will offer this facility but a range of goods are potentially included including fashion items, cosmetics, technology, jewellery, food and wine. Please note there are some other criteria including minimum spend and that the goods must leave the EU within 3 months. Any shops offering tax-free shopping are required to make arrangements with the tax authorities and will usually display this prominently (although potentially in the native language).

The goods must be purchased at the VAT –inclusive price in the shop. You will be asked to prove you are a visitor to the EU (generally by showing a passport or other identity document). In some cases you may be asked to show your return ticket to demonstrate you will be departing the EU within 3 months. A Tax free form must be obtained from the retailer, the form must be stamped upon leaving the EU (or Northern Ireland) after which the refund can be claimed. It may be possible at some larger airports to claim the VAT refund there but in most cases it will be necessary to send the refund form to the address provided by the shop.

If you require more information on the new limits since the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020 and the new worldwide duty-free limits per person for alcohol brought into Great Britain, please click here.