Did You Know?
- How Visitors Can Reclaim VAT (Sales Tax) in Scotland
"Value Added Tax" or "VAT" at the rate of 17.5% is added to most goods sold in the UK. Foreign visitors can sometimes reclaim this tax on purchases from certain stores where the value is over a minimum amount (usually 50/100 pounds). Here's a step by step guide to how you can get the tax back.
- The Retail Export Scheme is voluntary, so not all retailers offer the service. Look for the sign "Tax Free Shopping" in the windows of stores which participate.
- Ask the sales assistant for the form for reclaiming the tax. Fill in the form and retain it.
- VAT refunds cannot be processed after you return home - only at the point of exit from the UK.
- When leaving the UK, keep the goods involved in your hand luggage.
- Show the goods and the form to a customs officer at the VAT desk at the airport or seaport as you leave the UK.
- The customs officer checks the goods and validates the claim voucher.
- Sometimes the refund is issued immediately, otherwise you have to send the validated voucher to the store where you bought the goods in the envelope provided.
- A check (sometimes minus a small service charge) will be sent to you; you can also have the refund applied to your credit card account.
- Since VAT is already included in the purchase price, the refund will be approximately 14.9% of the purchase price.
- Keep a note of the store's address and contact details (e-mail address if they have one) in case you have to contact them later.
- It may take anything up to three months to process the refund. If you encounter any problems, contact the store.
- See also the government's Customs and Excise Web site for more on the Travelerís Guide to the Retail Export Scheme>.
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