On 11 September, HMRC confirmed that it was ending the practice of tax-free sales in airports of goods such as electronics and clothing for passengers travelling to non-EU countries, following concerns that the tax-concession is not always passed on to consumers in the airport. In some instances, it says, these tax-free goods are brought back into the country by UK residents, putting high street retailers at a disadvantage. As a result of the changes, the ability to claim VAT refunds for overseas visitors for purchases from British shops will be removed. Overseas visitors will still be able to buy items VAT-free in store and have them sent direct to their overseas addresses – but they will not be able to take the goods with them, and the system of claiming VAT refunds on items they take home in their luggage will be ended.
see also the consultation response –