Press Room

1 Nov 2021

Sarah Shears comments in The Express re Brits using trips to the EU to make VAT-free purchases and the impact on UK corporates

Head of VAT Group Sarah Shears comments on how British holidaymakers are using their trips to the EU to make VAT-free purchases and the impact on UK corporates, in The Express.

Sarah’s comments were published in The Express, 31 October, and can be found here.

“Now that the UK has left the EU, British tourists are eligible to shop Tax Free in the EU. However, there are certain criteria that must be met. For example, they must reside in England, Scotland or Wales and provide proof of residency. They must meet the minimum spend criteria of the country in which the purchase is made and they must also export the unused goods outside of the EU within a three-month period.

“Whilst a number of British nationals are sure to take advantage of tax free shopping in the EU and this will of course have an effect on UK businesses, we would not expect this effect to be too large due to the conditions that must be met and the thresholds in place. You must be in the shop yourself when you buy the goods (although someone else can pay for them). Not all shops offer a VAT-free facility and those that choose to do so must make the appropriate arrangements with the tax authorities. Customers must also pay the VAT upfront before filling out the relevant forms and taking the validated forms to a refund office. Furthermore, on return to Great Britain, individuals may have to pay import VAT and customs duty if they exceed their allowance.

“Due to the combination of factors involved, and the need to actually travel to the EU to benefit from this tax free shopping, we would not anticipate these changes having a significant impact on UK corporates.”

Sarah Shears

Sarah is head of the VAT Group. She has a deep indirect tax technical knowledge of across a number of sectors, connecting complex tax technical issues with practical and commercial application.

Email: Sarah Shears