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HMRC internal manual

VAT Personal Exports: Retail Exports

Personal exports - retail exports: Basic principles of the scheme: Who can operate the VAT retail export scheme?

Participation in the scheme is voluntary in the UK. Some retailers choose not to operate it for administrative reasons, particularly where they rarely deal with overseas travellers. Some larger retail chains only operate VAT retail export scheme from larger stores or stores on tourist routes.

Businesses selling goods via retail outlets may use VAT retail export scheme as long as the sale meets the usual conditions of the scheme. Goods sold by mail order or over the internet are excluded from VAT retail export scheme.

Refund companies

Many large retailers use a refund company to administer the scheme on their behalf. Refund companies will receive evidence of export (i.e. a certified VAT refund document) and make the refund. They usually provide an officially approved VAT refund document of their own design for use by their retailers. These VAT refund documents must contain the same information as the form VAT 407 produced by HMRC.