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Claiming VAT back on return to US??

Claiming VAT back on return to US??

Old Feb 27th 2005, 7:16 pm
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Default Claiming VAT back on return to US??

Simple question? As a resident of the US (and not resident in the UK for tax purposes) how can I claim back VAT on my purchases while in the UK? Can I do it on a Green Card? How about the I-551 stamp in my passport?

Thanks for answers/advice...
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Old Feb 28th 2005, 11:34 am
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Default Re: Claiming VAT back on return to US??

Yes, as long as you don't live in the EU you can claim VAT back. You need a VAT redund form and the shop needs to participate in the VAT refund export scheme. Not all shops participate in the program but you need to have them fill in the form at the time of purchase and then take it to customs at the airport. Then you mail it back to the shop and they will credit you. If you have goods sent to America then they can take the VAT off the purchase price, they still need to participate in the scheme though. It's a good scheme that I have used a few times and when I worked in a shop, filled in the paperwork for a lot of people.
http://www.hmce.gov.uk/channelsPorta...HMCE_CL_001212
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Old Feb 28th 2005, 11:39 am
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Post Re: Claiming VAT back on return to US??

Marks & Spencers participates in the reclaiming VAT scheme, although I can't remember the minimum amount you have to spend on goods there. (Don't forget that in the UK there is no VAT on children's clothes and books).

I've only bothered to reclaim the VAT once though.....you have to be able to show the goods to the clerk at Heathrow (or wherever) when you have to get the customs stamp.

I put all the stuff in a carry-on bag and the guy didn't even want to look at it and stamped the form anyway!

Most of the stuff I bring over these days is food anyway....and of course M&S undies...
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Old Feb 28th 2005, 1:02 pm
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Default Re: Claiming VAT back on return to US??

Originally Posted by nettlebed
Simple question? As a resident of the US (and not resident in the UK for tax purposes) how can I claim back VAT on my purchases while in the UK? Can I do it on a Green Card? How about the I-551 stamp in my passport?

Thanks for answers/advice...
Yes, you can. I've done it since moving to the US, both for the UK and France.

You need to identify stores that are in the scheme to give VAT back to visitors overseas (note the word visitors. i.e. not resident in the EU).

Also, there is a minimum amount to be spent in a single day (not necessarily a single visit) in order to be eligible to claim one's VAT back on purchases. In the UK, it varied between UK50-75 back in 2003.

The store should have a dept that can issue you the forms and stamp your receipts relating to the purchases that attract the VAT refund (not all items do).

Another thing, at the end of the day you do not get the full VAT amount back. The company that processes applications takes a cut too so you may want to calculate whether it's worth even applying for the refund. In my case, after the company took their cut, I got back about 10-12% of VAT refunded.

In some stores, you may be able to get the VAT refund back at the store instead of having to do the final paperwork at the airport. Also, strictly speaking, all the purchases must be available for inspection at the airport if that is the location where you drop off your paperwork for processing.




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Old Feb 28th 2005, 9:40 pm
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Default Re: Claiming VAT back on return to US??

Originally Posted by NC Penguin
Also, strictly speaking, all the purchases must be available for inspection at the airport if that is the location where you drop off your paperwork for processing.
Yeah, watch this - I unluckily got a complete rollocking from the female HM Customs officer in the departure lounge when I wasn't able to show her all the Doc Martens I'd bought and put in my checked luggage. But I mean, it's not as if I was going to carry 4 pairs of Docs onto the plane! I realized that it was all for show though and got my refund anyhow but it put me off enough not to bother. Actually there's very little worth buying in the UK that I can't get cheaper in the US, or on the web. Plus Docs are made in China now and much cheaper than they used to be in the US.
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Old Feb 28th 2005, 10:25 pm
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Default Re: Claiming VAT back on return to US??

You don't have to carry the things on the plane, just go to customs before you check in. That way if they want to see your stuff they can. At Gatwick it's just to the right of the security check.
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Old Mar 1st 2005, 2:15 am
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Default Re: Claiming VAT back on return to US??

A couple years back, tried the refund thing, got the cheque a few months down the line, in £...so just framed it as a souvenir of the effort...
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Old Mar 11th 2005, 3:23 pm
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Default Re: Claiming VAT back on return to US??

What about car hire? There is VAT on that. Has anyone claimed that back?
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Old Mar 11th 2005, 3:24 pm
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Default Re: Claiming VAT back on return to US??

Originally Posted by tony126
What about car hire? There is VAT on that. Has anyone claimed that back?
VAT refunds only apply to purchases, not rentals.




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