Posted: 2 years ago

UK Plans to Cancel TAX FREE for International Tourists

A UK government plan to scrap VAT refunds for international visitors by the end of the year could cost the country billions of pounds.

In a letter to the chancellor, the heads of companies such as Marks & Spencer, Heathrow and Selfridges say the move puts 70,000 jobs at risk.

As the BBC article points out, under the VAT Retail Export Scheme (with VAT resources), visitors can get back the VAT they pay on products purchased in the UK.

The International Retail Trade Association (AIR) has called on the chancellor to reconsider "this devastating decision" before the UK becomes the only European country to impose VAT on international visitors. "This will hurt the tourism, retail and leisure industries, especially now, during the Covid-19 era," said Paul Barnes, AIR chief.   

According to Visit Britain, international tourists spent 6 billion on shopping in the UK in 2018, with tourists applying for tax 3.5bn in tax free and claimed 2.5bn.