V3.608 Retail exports

The retail export scheme was designed to allow visitors to the EU from non-EU countries to claim a refund of any VAT charged in relation to goods purchased by them in the EU.

From 1 January 2021 the scheme will still apply to goods supplied by retailers in the EU and Northern Ireland. Retailers in Northern Ireland, who choose to use the scheme, will be able to continue to operate it in Northern Ireland in much the same way as before Brexit. However, the scheme is no longer available to retailers in Great Britain.

The VAT retail export scheme allows participating retailers to zero rate goods sold to certain customers (visitors) subject to adherence with the schemes conditions.

Operation of the scheme is voluntary and retailers do not have to operate it. Those who do, however, must make sure that all the conditions set out in Notice 704 are met.

Operation of the retail export scheme from 1 January 2021

Retailers may only operate the scheme if they comply with the conditions set out in Notice 704. In summary, these are:


    •     the customer must be entitled to use the scheme


    •     the goods must be eligible to be purchased under the scheme


    •     the customer must make the purchase in person and complete the form at the retailer's premises in full


    •     the goods must be exported from Northern Ireland and the EU by the last day of the third month following the month in which the goods were

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