This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what beta means

HMRC internal manual

VAT Export and Removal of Goods from the UK

Particular types of export to destinations outside the EU: Duty free and tax free shops: Evidence of export for goods supplied at duty free and tax free shops

Sales made under the terms of ESC 9.1 may only be zero rated where the retailer has evidence that the goods have been sold to a passenger intending to export them directly to a destination outside the EU. Evidence logged against individual purchases consists of a record of the flight details obtained from a boarding card or flight document. Assurance officers can compare this information against flight destination data for verification purposes.

Certain airside retailers suggest that the recording of boarding card details is too time consuming, and request other simplified methods of evidencing sales to entitled passengers. To assist businesses, officers may agree use of a push-button on the till to identify sales to passengers travelling to EU and non-EU destinations. This method may only be allowed provided the retailer understands that they must request sight of the boarding card before pressing the appropriate till button.

Proposed methods for estimating zero-rated sales on the basis of the percentage of travellers leaving for non-EU destinations should be rejected. Estimation is not acceptable because

  • it does not enable the retailer to identify at the point of sale those goods sold to travellers for export outside of the EU, and
  • the method does not meet the evidential requirements for individual transactions.