HMRC to scrape VAT Retail Export Scheme from 1 January 2021

Nov 12, 2020 | VAT Updates

VAT Updates Europe

By the end of September the UK government decided the VAT Retail Export Scheme would be removed as of 1 January 2021. This VAT relief scheme states that purchases made by overseas visitors in the UK can be zero-rated when they are meant for personal use and the seller business is VAT-registered. In other words, the measures puts an end to the so call Duty-Free shops in the UK.

In order to avoid the end of this VAT scheme and the impact it will have in Duty-free shops businesses and consumers, there is a petition in the UK parliament website where people can sign and ask the government to consider reversing their decision.

VAT Retail Export Scheme general principles

As it stands today the VAT Retail Export Scheme allows certain customers to receive a refund of VAT paid on goods exported to destinations outside the UK or EU. In addition, it allows retailers to zero rate goods sold to entitled customers when they have the necessary evidence of export and have refunded the VAT to the customer

The scheme has no minimum sales value, although retailers may set a minimum sales value below which they will not operate the scheme.

For the purpose of this VAT scheme, an overseas visitor is a traveller (including a member of the crew of a ship or aircraft) who is not established in the UK or EU.



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