United Kingdom — Getting a Value-added tax (VAT) Refund
|General VAT Rate||Min. Refund Threshold||Local Currency|
Fully Digital VAT Refund
The VAT refund process in United Kingdom isn't digital, and requires paperwork.
Refund Kiosk Availability
There are no VAT refund kiosks currently available in United Kingdom.
Cash VAT Refund
In United Kingdom, VAT refunds can be provided in cash.
Credit Card VAT Refund
In United Kingdom, VAT refunds can be processed as a credit card refund.
United Kingdom's main VAT rate is 20%, with other rates including 5% and 0% that can apply to certain transactions. The Value-added tax (VAT) is administered by the HM Revenue & Customs (https://www.gov.uk/ government/organisations/ hm-revenue-customs) in London, and applies to most purchases of goods within United Kingdom. A VAT refund may be available to visitors who qualify for VAT-free purchases in United Kingdom.
Who qualifies for a United Kingdom VAT Refund?
The VAT tax is meant to tax consumption of good within United Kingdom, not goods exported to a foreign country. Therefore, United Kingdom allows tourists and others who purchase goods within United Kingdom for export to receive a refund of any VAT taxes paid.
In order to qualify to request a VAT refund in United Kingdom, you must make at least €30.00 Euros worth of qualifying purchases. This is equivalent to about GBP 30 in local currency, the Pound.
How is my United Kingdom VAT Refund Calculated?
Your total gross purchase amounts will be summed and rounded down to the nearest 0.10 Pound. From this total, the total amount of VAT refund will be calculated, based on the 20% standard VAT rate in United Kingdom. For example:
€100 euros spent (incl. 20% VAT) = €83.00 base price + €17.00 VAT paid
In this example, you would receive an approximate tax refund amount of €17 on a total of €100 in purchases. As you can see, VAT refunds can be quite significant in United Kingdom, especially if you're doing alot of shopping!
United Kingdom VAT Refund Application Process
1.) Make Tax-Free Qualifying Purchases
When you make a qualifying purchase in United Kingdom, you will receive a Tax Free Form from the vendor that records the purchases you made and the amount you paid. You will receive a separate Tax Free Form for each purchase.
The Tax Free Form may be a government form, or it may be associated with a particular sales tax refund processing company (like Global Blue or Premier Tax Free, shown here). Note that processing companies will collect a percentage of your VAT refund as a fee!
United Kingdom does not require you to save the original purchase receipt, so the Tax Free Form is sufficient for applying for a VAT refund.
2.) Validate Your Tax-Free Forms
Your Tax-Free Forms must be export validated in order to be accepted for a tax refund. Validation confirms that the products have been exported from United Kingdom, and will often be done in the airport as you leave the country.
You may be required to show your foreign passport, a plane ticket, and/or other proof that the goods you are buying VAT-free will be exported to a qualifying country. In United Kingdom, export validation for VAT-free purchases is carried out by United Kingdom's Customs department, who will provide a customs stamp to your Tax-Free Forms fo verify that the goods have been exported.
Private companies specializing in duty-free shopping (such as Global Blue, Premier Tax Free, etc.) are also allowed to validate tax-free purchases in United Kingdom. These companies may have locations at or near United Kingdom's major international airports.
Important Note: Your must export validate your Tax-Free Forms at most 3 months after the purchase is made. This means that you can only make tax-free purchases in United Kingdom for up to 3 months before you leave the country and export the goods purchased!
3.) Receive Your VAT Tax Refund
Once you have validated your Tax Free Forms, you're ready to receive your VAT refund. If you used a refund processing company, you will be able to receive your refund by submitting the validated forms to a company refund desk at the airport, or via mail (most companies make pre-paid envelopes available for this purpose). If you did not use a processing company, follow the instructions on your tax free form to receive your refund.
United Kingdom does not set a time limit on how long you have to submit your Tax Free Forms for a refund after validation. However, it's recommended that you submit them for a refund as soon as possible to avoid issues or delays.
- EN: United Kingdom VAT Refund
- RU: Великобритания Возврат НДС
- CN: 英国增值税退税
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