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How to claim VAT refund

Updated April 07, 2017

Value Added Tax (VAT) is added to goods and services in the UK just like a sales tax. If you are not a resident in the European Community and are taking goods out of the E.U., you may be eligible to claim a VAT refund. Certain items, such as boats, motor vehicles, gemstones, freight and mail order items are not eligible for a VAT refund. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is responsible for evaluating and issuing VAT refunds to travellers.

Show your passport to the retailer where you are buying the items and have them complete a form VAT 407 or VAT Retail Export Scheme sales invoice for each item you are exporting.

Report to a Customs officer before leaving the European Community. If you are travelling to multiple countries in the E.C., this must be done in the last country before you return home. Show both the goods and the VAT 407 or Export Scheme sales invoice to the officer.

Obtain your refund. This can be done in one of several ways ---. by mailing the VAT form back to the retailer, using a commercial refund company or by claiming an instant refund at an HMRC refund booth. Administration charges may apply.

Things You'll Need

  • VAT receipts for each item
  • Customs Form VAT 407
  • VAT Retail export scheme sales invoice
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About the Author

Gwen Wark is a freelance writer working from London, Dublin, and New York. She has been a published writer since 1998 with works appearing in both university and local publications. Her current writing projects include SEO, web copy, print and advertising features. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in history from Rutgers University.