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Updated on 6 April 2024

VAT refunds when leaving the UK

Visitors to Northern Ireland from outside the EU may be able to claim back the VAT which is paid on goods when they leave the EU.

a sign with an arrow pointing to the left the wording reads 'VAT REFUND FOR TOURISTS'
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VAT Retail Export Scheme

The VAT Retail Export Scheme, also known as tax-free shopping, allows VAT on purchases made in Northern Ireland to be claimed back in certain circumstances, when those goods are taken out of the EU.

The scheme also applied to England, Scotland and Wales (that is, Great Britain) for purchases made on or before 31 December 2020.

Tax-free shopping may also be available for goods purchased in Great Britain if they are delivered straight to an address outside the UK.

You can find a basic outline of the system on GOV.UK. HMRC have also produced HMRC Notice 704/1 Tax-Free Shopping in the UK to explain the scheme in more detail.

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