Brits unaware of overseas tax rebates

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Failing to claim tax rebates on overseas purchases is costing British holidaymakers millions each year, according to research by Direct Line.

Of the 2,002 people surveyed, just 8% said they had reclaimed VAT on their purchases abroad in the past 2 years.

Tax-free shopping is widely available in some of Britain’s most popular holiday destinations such as EU member states, Thailand and Japan.

A lack of awareness was shown to be the biggest reason why the majority of British holidaymakers fail to claim rebates:

  • 42% said they weren’t aware they could claim a VAT rebate
  • 14% couldn’t receive a rebate because they hadn’t kept the receipts
  • 12% thought the rebate wouldn’t be worthwhile
  • 12% said it was inconvenient.

Tom Bishop, head of travel insurance at Direct Line, said:

“Getting some of the money you’ve spent back when returning from holiday should be an opportunity too good to miss, but millions of people aren’t taking advantage of it. We’re big spenders when it comes to shopping abroad, so the tax on these items really does add up and once you have arrived home it will be too late to claim.

“Check before you travel if your holiday destination offers a VAT or GST rebate, keep all your receipts and ensure you have sufficient time at the airport or port to make a claim before you leave.”

Going on holiday? Contact us to discuss the impact on your personal finances before you go.