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It's okay if you know this much!

I will teach you the tax exemption procedure in the UK

The price of many items purchased in the UK includes a 20% value added tax (VAT), which is the sales tax in Japan. Foreign guests visiting the UK have a system in which they can get the added tax refunded if they complete the procedures at the airport when they return to the country. However, in reality, fees will be deducted, so unfortunately not all 20% will be refunded.
Let's take a closer look at specific examples and procedures.
1. 1. Specific examples of tax exemptions and receipts subject to tax exemption
First of all, please see the example of the receipt on the right ( click the image to open another window )
The total purchase price is £45.05 . VAT is £7.51 . And the amount returned after the fee is £3.33 . In the calculation, I thought that I would return about 9 pounds, but it will be only about 1/3 of that.
If there are various shops to shop, each shop will only charge a fee and the refund will be small. In other words, even if the price is a little high, if you buy 500 pounds at one store, the refund amount will be larger than if you buy 100 pounds at 5 stores .
In addition, food items including cookies, which are popular as souvenirs, books and newspapers, children's clothing and shoes for children under the age of 14, are not exempt from tax exemption because VAT is not originally added . increase.
2. 2. Buy at the shoplabeled Duty Free
See the example receipt on the right ( click the image to open a new window ).
When you buy something at theDuty Free shop and go to the cash register, tell the clerk " VAT refund form, please " and you will receive a very long receipt with a space under the normal receipt where you can enter your name, address, etc. It may give you something like. This receipt is a tax exemption document, so please keep it in a safe place so that you do not throw it away with other receipts. When you receive this application form at the store, be sure to check that the signature of the person in charge is on the form.
In addition, you may receive the following documents. In this case as well, be sure to keep it together with the receipt.
Note : Please note that some stores set a minimum tax exemption amount. If it is a department store, you can purchase it on a different floor, but if the total amount exceeds the minimum amount, there is no problem . Harrods says it starts at £ 50, but some other department stores have higher settings. Either way, you may not expect a very large refund if you don't collect more than £ 100.
Tax free form 2.JPG
3. 3. When the shop staff fills out the VAT refund application form
Department stores and luxury brand stores may fill out an application form . In this case, you will need your passport, so be sure to bring it with you if you plan to make a big purchase . After filling out the form, you can staple the receipt and application form and hand it over, so please keep it in a safe place.
4. When filling out theVAT refund application form by yourself
In most cases, you will be given an application form like the one below, so please write it clearly in polite characters (capital letters and typefaces are preferred). ( Click the image to open another window )
Fill out these forms before you go to the VAT Refund counter atthe airport . The form may be in an envelope, but you can open the envelope and fill it out.
The items to be filled in are 1 to 8 below . * Please be sure to get the signature of the person in charge at the time of purchase when you receive this application form at the store.
Tax free form 1.JPG
Tax free form 2.JPG
Tax free form 3.JPG
1. 1. The name on your passport
2. 2. Address (things that can always be contacted)
3. 3. passport number
4. The country where the passport was issued (egJAPAN )
5. Date of entry into EU member states (Date of entry into the UK if the UK is the first EU member state to visit)
6. Return date from EU member states (return date if the UK is the last EU member state to visit)
7. Email address
8. credit card number
9. Signature of the store staff who purchased the item
​ 10. Airport examiner's stamp
 Note: If you get a cash refund, you will be charged an additional fee for each application form, so it is the quickest and easiest way to transfer it to your card account. In most cases, it will be transferred in a few days.
Note: Please be sure to take a photo of all receipts and applications once you have completed them. If the receipt or application is too big to fit on one sheet, it's okay to take the photo in several parts. If you make a deposit after returning to Japan, the photo will be proof, so be sure to check whether the document can be read after shooting. Be sure to keep these photos in a safe place until you can confirm the transfer.

5. Procedure at the airport

When you arrive at the airport, take your completed application, receipt, passport and return flight ticket to the location labeled " Customs / VAT exports ", " VAT Refund " or "TRAVELEX VAT ". In many cases, there is a line. Depending on the airport and terminal, you may have to give up because you may not be able to board in time due to the huge queue, so if you want a refund, please arrive at the airport as soon as possible. The airport staff may check the application form during the waiting time, so if you have any questions, please take this opportunity.

 Note 1: Especially at Heathrow Airport, the tax exemption counters are often crowded and you may have to wait 90 minutes or more. Considering waiting for a long time, it is recommended that those who complete the procedure arrive at the airport as soon as possible .

 Note 2: There is a "fastpass" at Heathrow Airport . If you pay 15 pounds, you can make a time reservation in advance. If you are interested, you can make a reservation from this site.

Reserve your VAT refund at Heathrow

Purchased items must be held while in line so that they can be seen immediately if necessary. If you want to put those duty-free items in your suitcase and carry them on board, the duty-free procedure must be done before check-in to check in your suitcase. In addition , only unused items that have been purchased will be refunded . Please be careful.

When it's your turn, give the airport staff a completed application, receipt, passport and return flight ticket . The staff will check the documents while asking about the date of entry to the UK (EU member state), the date of return (often on the day), and where the purchased items are. Upon completion, the receipt will be returned with the red stamp "VAT " . Please keep it so that it will not be lost.

Note: Click here for VAT procedures at Birmingham Airport.



6. Tax exemption range

When you return to Japan, you need to apply for tax exemption. At that time, if you purchase a product of 200,000 yen or more overseas, you need to declare it, and if it exceeds a certain amount, you need to pay customs duty when you return to Japan.

CA will give you the declaration documents on your return flight, so please fill them out before arriving at the airport.

For your reference, you can see the tax exemption range from here.

​​ Tax exemption range

As the main one


  1. If the total amount exceeds 200,000 yen, items that fit within 200,000 yen will be exempt from tax and the remaining items will be taxed.
    Customs will select and tax exempt items to your advantage.

  2. Items that cost more than 200,000 yen per item, for example, a bag of 250,000 yen, are taxed on the full amount of 250,000 yen.

  3. As a general rule, tax exemption is applied to items with a total overseas market price of 10,000 yen or less for each item. (For example, 9 chocolates for 1,000 yen each and 2 ties for 5,000 yen each are tax-free.)

*** Quote from the above link ***

Please note that separately shipped items are also included in this calculation.

6. When applying forVAT at Birmingham Airport

Birmingham Airport requires different procedures than other airports.

1. 1. After arriving at the airport and before lining up at the check-in counter , contact theBorder Force (immigration officer) by extension near the check-in counter and tell them that you want to go through VAT procedures. If you can't find your phone, ask a nearby airport staff member (not an airline staff member).

2. 2. When you contact us, the Border Force (immigration inspector) will be told to 1) wait for you to come to see you for the procedure, or 2) check in as it is and fill out the refund application (VAT Form ) etc. Put a set of documents in an envelope (be sure to bring one) and post it to the "VAT refund post box " provided after the security check (near the security check area) without sealing the envelope .


​ In this case, there are many cases where the staff does not check, so if there is an omission, the refund will not be returned. Please make sure that you do not make a mistake and check it before posting.

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