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Have your say on tax free shopping for overseas visitors

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Time is running out to have your say on plans to improve the Tax Free Shopping system offered to visitors to the UK.

Airport departures board (© shutterstock)

The system, known as the VAT Retail Export Scheme, allows non-European Union visitors to the UK to claim a refund of VAT on goods they buy and export out of the EU in their personal luggage.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has launched a consultation on proposals to overhaul the scheme to make it easier to use and understand. At the same time HMRC aims to reduce the scope for error, improve compliance and protect revenue.

We are keen to hear from retailers, the tourist industry and users of the scheme to find out their views on how it can be made to work better for everyone.

Among the proposals on the table are ways to improve the customer experience of using Tax Free Shopping, protecting revenue and possibly introducing a minimum threshold below which claims cannot be made – something in place in many other EU member states, but not the UK.

HMRC also wants to hear views on whether putting Tax Free Shopping online would improve customers’ experience, and prevent fraud. You have until 30 September to respond to the consultation on the scheme.

Published 22 August 2013