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VAT free shopping for international visitors reinstated

Robert Marchant, Partner, VAT and Customs Duty Services
23/09/2022
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There were no significant changes to the UK’s VAT rules in today’s mini-Budget. However, retailers will be pleased to see the announcement that VAT free shopping for international visitors in Great Britain will be reinstated.

Budget 2020 announced the abolition of VAT free shopping for international visitors. Under the previous VAT Retail Export Scheme (VAT RES), it was possible for international visitors to seek a refund of VAT paid on goods purchased in the UK, as long as the goods were not being consumed in the UK. As part of the UK’s departure from the EU, these rules were removed with effect from 31 December 2020. At that time there were estimates given of sales of circa £3.5 billion (per annum) of VAT free sales to tourists. Many retailers were concerned the loss of the VAT relief would have a detrimental impact on tourist hotspots, as well as shopping villages such as Bicester Village in Oxfordshire.

The Chancellor has said that the VAT free shopping scheme for international visitors is to be reinstated in Great Britain, in a new digital format, with the aim of boosting the high street and encouraging more international visitors.

For further information or to discuss how we can help you, please contact Robert Marchant or your usual Crowe contact.

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Robert Marchant
Robert Marchant
Partner, VAT and Customs Duty services
London