Changes to duty free shopping
The government has published the new rules for duty free and tax free shopping that will come into effect from 1 January 2021. The changes are wide ranging.
For anyone who smokes or drinks there will be no duty charged on alcohol or tobacco products from January 2021. This will apply irrespective of whether you are travelling to an EU or non-EU country. The new rules will apply to British ports, airports, international rail stations and sales on ships, trains and planes.
There will also be new increased personal limits on what you can bring home. This means that passengers coming to Britain will be able to bring back, for example, three crates of beer, two case of still wine and one case of sparkling wine or 4 litres of spirits to GB without paying UK duties.
The government has also announced the ending of all tax free sales from January 2021. This will apply to relevant sales of tax-free transactions in airports of goods in sectors such as: electronics, fashion and beauty products and will apply to passengers travelling to non-EU countries.
It has also been announced that the VAT Retail Export Scheme is to be scrapped from 1 January 2021. This means that VAT refunds for overseas visitors in British shops will be removed. The only exception will be when an item is shipped directly from the seller to the home address of the foreign customer.
The changes will apply in England, Wales and Scotland. The rules in Northern Ireland are still under discussion.