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VAT and tax-free shopping

What is VAT?

VAT is a 20% sales tax charged on most goods and services sold in Britain.

End of tax-free shopping

On 31 December 2020, the UK’s tax-free shopping scheme, also referred to as the Retail Export Scheme, ended.

It is not possible to claim a VAT refund for overseas visitors in British shops, and there are no tax-free sales at airports, ports and Eurostar stations.

When might I be able to get a VAT refund?

You can only buy tax-free goods from shops in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) if they are delivered direct to an address outside the UK. Check with the retailer to find out if they offer a delivery service.

If you’re visiting Northern Ireland, you may be able to claim tax back on goods from certain retailers. You can claim this as a VAT refund when you leave Northern Ireland or the EU. If you purchase goods from a shop for delivery, they must be sent to an address outside the UK and the EU.

For more information, visit the official customs website here