VAT News

Retail Export Scheme changes


Retail Export Scheme

The current Retail Export Scheme has allowed non-EU visitors to the UK to purchase goods VAT-free from participating UK retailers, paying VAT at the time of sale and receiving a refund later on, when HMRC paperwork confirms their departure from the UK. 

HM Treasury has confirmed that the Retail Export Scheme ends on 31 December and from January 2021 retail sales to non EU customers can only be zero rated if the UK retailer sends the goods directly to the non EU customer’s home address ( and keeps the appropriate HMRC documentation as proof of export). It won’t be possible to make VAT-free sales where the customer takes the goods with them.

Related to this change, in an effort to remove the competitive VAT advantage that airport shops are perceived to have in comparison to UK high street shops, from January 2021 the current zero rating of sales of goods other than tobacco and alcohol products at UK airports to non-EU passengers will also stop and VAT will become chargeable on these sales.


If you would welcome any advice regarding VAT and exports, especially as the Brexit transition period reaches its end please do get in touch with your usual contact in the Centurion team or contact us by email at


For the avoidance of doubt, the content recorded in this news article does not constitute formal advice and we do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided at the time of reading. It is always recommended that you seek professional advice before acting on any of the news articles or information included.

We are part of the Xeinadin Group. The firm of the future!