Changes in Tax-Free Shopping Changes for Tourists in the UK

Shopping Changes for Tourists in the UK:

Unfortunately, as of January 1st, 2021, tourists visiting the UK can no longer claim tax refunds (VAT refunds) on their purchases. This means you won’t be able to get back the Value Added Tax (VAT) you paid on goods while shopping in Britain.

Previously, tourists could reclaim VAT through the Retail Export Scheme (RES) when leaving the UK for a non-EU country. However, the UK government ended this program in 2021.

There is currently ongoing discussion about potentially re-instating a tax-free shopping scheme for tourists. In September 2023, there was even a debate in the UK Parliament on this topic. A campaign by businesses to bring back tax-free shopping gained traction in 2023, with support from major brands.

Here are some resources for further information:

  • UK Government Website: While the tax-free shopping scheme is no longer operational, you can find details about the changes and past information on the UK government website: tax on shopping and services: Tax-free shopping:
  • News Article: This article from The National discusses the potential return of tax-free shopping for tourists in the UK: Tax-free shopping for UK-bound tourists under review: [invalid URL removed] tourists-under-review/

We’ll be sure to update this blog if there are any developments regarding tax-free shopping for tourists in the UK. In the meantime, be sure to factor in VAT when budgeting for your trip.


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