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Tax-free shopping in the UK

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

You can actually purchase some goods in the UK and get the VAT charged on your purchases back. You can enjoy this if you meet any of the conditions below: 

* You live outside the European Union normally and you are just visiting the UK for a short period.

* You are an European Union resident and you are planning to leave the EU for 12months or more.

* You are a non-European Union resident but you study or have a job in the UK and you are planning to leave the European Union for 12 months or more.

It is good to note that some goods are not entitled to VAT returns they include:

- Goods you made use of in the UK
- Cars
- Charges from services provided
- Gold that weighs more than 125gram
- Goods sent to another country for business transactions. These goods must be worth more than £600.
- Goods that require an export license to transfer them out of the country
- Gemstones (Unmounted)
- Goods you purchased via the internet.

In order to be able to get your VAT refund you need to obtain a VAT 407 form from the retailer you purchased your goods from. They might ask you for proof to know if you are eligible for it, this could include your passport, visa. At the airport you will then show the custom officers the goods you purchased, the receipts you received and the VAT 407 form you filled. If the custom officers have no issues with the evidences you provided then your form will be approved.

The VAT can be paid back immediately at the airport which is the best option, however  you can send the approved form to the retailer and you will be informed on how you will get it back.

Keep checking my blog regularly. Cheers!


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