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May 30, 2022 View:

No airport tax refunds in the UK from 2021

According to the latest official announcement of the British government, from January 1, 2021, the major airports, ports and Eurostar stations in the UK will stop tax refund services, which means that the UK will become the only country in Europe that does not provide airport tax refund services to international tourists.

Image from: English Circle

Duty-free stores at major airports will no longer sell duty-free apparel, beauty and skin care products, electronics and other goods.

At present, only alcohol and tobacco can continue to enjoy duty-free benefits.

UKGov.com: Tax-free shopping will change from January 2021.

The news has also been reported in various British media.

The Independent: Airport duty-free sales to end in January

Daily Express: New duty-free shopping rules for 2021 holidaymakers - with full list

Financial Times: UK retailers want to challenge removal of VAT relief for overseas visitors

Two changes are made clear in the UKGov.com document.

1. Tax-free sales

Due to concerns that duty-free benefits are not always reflected in the products sold in airport duty-free stores, we are ending duty-free sales of electronics and apparel at airports.

2. VAT Retail Export Program

Removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds for overseas visitors in UK stores. Overseas visitors will still be able to purchase VAT-free goods in stores and have them sent directly to their overseas address. However, the cumbersome in-airport tax refund service will end and visitors will not be able to take their goods back duty-free in person.

In addition, according to documents issued by the UK government network.

From January next year, all overseas visitors (EU or non-EU) entering the UK will be able to take home: up to 42 liters of beer, 18 liters of wine and 9 liters of sparkling wine (all duty free). Quotas for tobacco and other goods will remain unchanged.

However, travelers arriving in the UK from the EU will no longer be able to bring back unlimited amounts of alcohol and tobacco that are not subject to tax declaration.