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HMRC internal manual

VAT Personal Exports: Retail Exports

Personal exports - retail exports: Assurance at the retailer: Description of goods

You may generally allow the zero-rating to stand if fraud is not suspected, where a UK or EC customs authority has officially certified the VAT refund document. Where the description of goods is less than adequate you should remind the retailer of the requirement to include sufficient details to allow a customs officer to verify that the goods produced match those described on the refund form. It would be unreasonable to expect detailed descriptions for lower value items, for example “bedding”, “toys” or “underwear” would be acceptable. However, detailed descriptions must be shown for higher value items priced at £1,000 and above. The following examples are a useful guide to the sorts of descriptions you should expect to see.

Designer goods – could be described as “ladies-designer name-dress”, “gentlemen’s- designer name-suit”, “black-designer name-handbag” etc;

Jewellery – state what the item is e.g. “ring”, “necklace” etc and provide additional information such as the type and colour of any gems / precious metal, number of gems or weight of the item. Watches should include the make, model and serial number;

Computers, cameras and electrical goods – should include make, model and serial number.

The retailer will also need a description that contains sufficient detail in case the goods are returned for refund.