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VAT Refunds

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When you visit the UK you will pay Value Added Tax (VAT) on most things you buy. The VAT Retail Export Scheme allows you to claim a VAT refund on most goods you buy when you leave the EU.

Not all retailers participate in the VAT refund scheme. When you purchase the goods ask the retailer if they participate as you will need to complete the form in the shop and the retailer will need to verify you have purchased the goods. The VAT rate is currently 20%.

Are you eligible to claim a VAT refund?

You are eligible for a VAT refund if:

  • You normally live outside the EU.
  • You are an overseas resident but have been working/studying in the UK. However, you will need to prove that you are leaving the EU for more than 12 months.
  • EU residents may also qualify if you leave the UK for a destination outside of the EU and do not return to the EU within 12 months.

In all cases you must:

  • Be able to prove that you belong to one of the categories above by showing the Border Force officer your passport, visa or other documents if requested to do so.
  • Take the goods outside the EU by the end of the third full calendar month after purchase (eg: goods bought on 1st or 31st January should be exported by 30 April).

What goods can I buy under the scheme?

You can buy any goods under the scheme on which you pay VAT if the retailer participates in the scheme except for the following:

  • Services eg hotel bills and car hire.
  • Goods bought online or by mail order.
  • Un-mounted gemstones
  • Consumable goods you have already started using.
  • Goods which require an export licence (except antiques).
  • Goods worth over £600, being exported for business purposes.
  • Goods to be exported as freight.

These goods must be exported within your hold or hand luggage.

How do I claim?

REQUEST A VAT REFUND FORM

When you purchase goods, from any UK retailer, inform the retailer immediately that you wish to reclaim VAT. The retailer will give you a VAT Refund Form for you to complete and sign. Please note, forms should be completed prior to visiting the TRAVELEX desk at Manchester Airport.

PROCEED TO THE TRAVELEX DESK IN THE CHECK IN HALL

Prior to check in, take your completed form to the TRAVELEX VAT desk, located in the check in hall. Goods must be available for inspection by the TRAVELEX staff at the desk. Dependent on the nature of the goods, some passengers may be required to proceed airside before they are able to claim a refund. TRAVELEX will advise accordingly. TRAVELEX will process the forms of the following providers: Global Blue, Premiere Tax Free, GB Tax Free & Innova Tax Free.

 

COLLECT YOUR REFUND

Depending on the type of form you have given TRAVELEX, the method by which you will receive your refund will vary. This could be a refund to your credit card, by cheque sent to your home or cash, which can be paid in the currency of your choice. Please note, there may be a fee for cash refunds.

What if I am leaving the UK via another EU country?

  • Goods carried on as hand baggage must be produced to Customs in the last EU country with the refund form before leaving to return home.
  • Goods in hold baggage must be presented to Border Force Officers in the UK if an individual item exceeds £5,000. If less than this you can claim your VAT refund from the Travelex VAT refund desk located in check-in.
  • After you leave the EU there is no facility to have your VAT 407 certified in your country of destination. You MUST claim this back prior to leaving the EU.
  • If for any reason you do not receive your VAT refund you should write to the retailer not to the Border Force.

What if I am leaving the EU on a through transit flight via another EU country?

  • Goods carried on as hand baggage must be produced to Customs in the last EU country with the refund form before leaving to return home.
  • Goods in hold baggage must be presented to Border Force Officers in the UK if an individual item exceeds £5,000. If less than this you can claim your VAT refund from the Travelex VAT refund desk located in check-in.
  • After you leave the EU there is no facility to have your VAT 407 certified in your country of destination. You MUST claim this back prior to leaving the EU.
  • If for any reason you do not receive your VAT refund you should write to the retailer not to the Border Force.

What should I do if I decide not to export all of the goods bought under the scheme?

If you decide to leave goods bought under the scheme in the EU, you must clearly delete those items from any VAT refund document when you finally leave the EU. This amendment must be made before you present the VAT refund documentation and the remaining goods to Customs for examination and certification (if that is appropriate under the procedures above).

For more information please visit the HM Revenue and Customs website.
If you need any further help please call Border Force at Manchester Airport 0161 261 5904