Getting your Tax back

Packing, freight and tax free shopping

Tax free shopping

If you live outside of the European Community (EC) but have a visa to remain in the UK as a student, you might be interested in a scheme commonly advertised in the UK shops as ‘Tax Free Shopping’. While you are in the UK you will pay Value Added Tax (VAT) on most goods that you¬†buy. The VAT retail Export Scheme allows you to claim a VAT refund on goods that you personally export from the EC.

You must comply with certain conditions in order to qualify for a refund. You will only be able to get a VAT refund on goods that you buy at the end of your period of study (ie. in the last three months) when you intend to leave the UK. You must then remain outside of the UK for a period of at least 12 months.

When you go to buy goods you should take your passport with you to demonstrate to the retailer that you are entitled to buy goods under the scheme. Not all retailers operate the scheme so it is a good idea to check first. If you want to know more contact the Customs’ National Advice Service at 0845 010 9000