Reclaiming VAT

(12 Posts)
NadiSel Sat 28-Dec-13 23:27:12

Hi - I'm after some advice from someone who has been thru the process please. Its for a large amount of money (for me anyway!), so those who have read about it somewhere or heard it from a mate at the coffee club etc - thanks, but I really do need some solid advice please.

I'm working at one of the International Organisations in Brussels. I'm back in the UK at the moment and want to buy a TV that will set me back £500 and then take it back to Brussels for personal use, in my car & via the ferry to Belgium. How do I claim back the VAT? I know I need to get a receipt with my Belgian address on it, but is there somewhere at the Hull ferry port for me to submit the receipt? Do I claim the VAT back from Customs&Excise or is it simply a case of getting the form stamped at the port and then somehow claiming the VAT back from the shop that I am buying the item from? Grateful for knowhow from any experienced mums netters. I've googled an old thread about doing it via the airport and carrying it as hand luggage, but that's not relevant to my circumstances.

Oh, and the reason why I'm buying in the UK is because the shop gives great, long warranties which will still be valid when I return to UK in a couple of years time.

OP’s posts: |
butterfliesinmytummy Sun 29-Dec-13 16:02:07

I was under the impression that you couldn't claim back vat within the eu? Might be wrong though.....

ZamMummyInGabs Sun 29-Dec-13 20:23:08

butterflies is right, you can't claim back the VAT unless you live outside the EU.

Even then you have to buy the goods from a shop that is part of the refund scheme, eg John Lewis, & complete all the paperwork before you leave the country.

frosch Sun 29-Dec-13 20:26:09

As you're in the EU, you cannot claim back the VAT. Only visitors from outside the EU are entailed to reclaim.

If you buy electronic (or otherwise) goods from outside the EU, you can reclaim the VAT charge as you leave the airport/port. Then, when you enter the EU, you declare the goods and pay the VAT that is levied in that particular EU country. There is no escaping VAT; just an option, if you're lucky, of paying a slightly lower level of tax.

NadiSel Sun 29-Dec-13 23:48:16

OK sorry I had not realised that this did not apply to everyone in EU, so should have added dh is working in NATO so we can claim back the VAT of electronic items. I'm just not sure of the process and whether one claims off the shop or from the govt (i.e customs & excise). Butterflies I think you are suggesting the shop needs to be 'in on the scheme' hence only select shops?

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JollySantersSelectionBox Mon 30-Dec-13 01:52:15

I claim back my VAT as I live in Switzerland.

For me it works like this:

Check with the company you are buying from that they do a tax free shopping scheme like Global Blue for example.

When you purchase the item the retailer will print or fill out the paperwork with you and tell you the refund value you will get back.

If you are buying in central London or Westfield there is an office that you can process the transaction through.

If you are going via an airport - customs need to stamp your form to make sure the country of exit is non EU, check you are taking the items out of the country. In Gatwick or Heathrow they will do this physically, in London City they have an honesty box - you post your form after customs x ray etc, they stamp it and post it onto the company in the prepaid envelope. In the larger airports you can take your stamped form to some of the bureau de change places and get a cash refund in your chosen currency. There is a hefty charge from these companies you don't get your entire vat back.

If you are using the scheme overland you get the leaving final EU destination country customs to stamp the form (for me it's the road toll in France or Germany for example) and you post it Freepost back to the company.

When you do a postal application you give them CC details, or bank details for a transfer refund.

The thing is, it is all based on the assessment of your address, permit, or final destination. As NATO staff there could be a different procedure for you. I have never noticed A specific NATO box to tick, but then I've never really looked. Try looking on the Global Blue website perhaps?

I've also seen Swiss nationals going through customs to declare - paying Swiss tax over their duty free limit and getting UK vat refunds back. At our local airport they have a till at the end.

NadiSel Mon 30-Dec-13 08:21:58


That's superb - thank you. 1st port of call for me is to check with the shop that they do the tax free scheme and then if they do to get them to help with the paperwork.

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frosch Mon 30-Dec-13 08:50:22

NadiSel, Switzerland is a different kettle of fish as, despite the bilateral agreements, it's not an EU member.

Does this quote from the NATO website help at all By the sound of this, you need to contact your HR:

Taxation, VAT, Etc.

(NB : VAT is referred to as “TVA” in French and “BTW” in Dutch)

Expatriate staff who have not yet completed their first year of residence in Belgium, provided that this is their first period of employment in the country, may purchase certain items (such as furniture and electrical appliances and, under specific conditions, cars) without paying VAT. Information concerning the formalities for VAT exemption, and any obligation to pay direct taxes, will be provided by the Privileges and Immunities/Vehicle Registration Offices, Human Resources.

chloeb2002 Mon 30-Dec-13 12:30:37

Also check the warrenty is valid outside of the UK. We looked at getting electrical goods and taking them with us to aus. We were told by every company we asked that the warranty was null and void outside if the uk.. Plug changes.. Adapters.. Transport.. All invalidated the warranty.

JollySantersSelectionBox Mon 30-Dec-13 13:28:48

Yes from what Frosch says you won't be able to claim in the conventional way.

It looks like you do it through NATO as an employee, so you probably don't need to find a scheme,you need your DH to sort out the paperwork, and ensure that the purchase can come from the UK?

NadiSel Mon 30-Dec-13 19:32:13

A reputable shop did tell me that any extended warranty was reduced to the standard 1 year manufacturers warranty when the item was taken abroad but that if the item broke down and was brought back to UK then the warranty was still valid. Bringing it back to UK is always an option for me, but I guess not a feasible option for you in oz cloeb!

OP’s posts: |
chloeb2002 Wed 01-Jan-14 10:28:59

Urrrr no.. Maybe not... wink

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