I'm getting ready for a trip to London from Canada. On my previous visit, I could get a VAT refund of 20% by using my passport when making purchases or receiving the refund at the airport tax refund counters.

I'd like to understand the tax refund rules that have changed after Brexit.

While researching this, I've encountered a lot of confusion and conflicting information on various forums. I am hoping to get an answer from someone that have first hand experience. Thank you for your assistance!

1 Answer 1


Since 2021, VAT-free shopping is usually only available in the UK if the goods are not picked up in person but shipped immediately to an address outside the UK. There are some additional exemptions if you are shopping in Northern Ireland, but not England, Scotland, or Wales.

There have been proposals to bring VAT refunds back for tourists, but as far as I can tell none have gone anywhere.

  • Might want to mention that "duty-free shopping" (in an international departures terminal), which is likewise VAT-free, is still available.
    – Sneftel
    Aug 17, 2023 at 14:14

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