Tax-free shopping for overseas visitors | An update for the luxury sector

The government is considering how best to digitalise the Retail Export Scheme (tax free shopping) to make it faster and more efficient than the current paper-based system.

Retail Export Scheme

The importance of tourists and international visitors for the UK’s luxury sector cannot be overstated – according to a recent Walpole member survey £1 in every £4 is attributable to tourists, and for some members overseas visitors account for up to 80% of their revenues. Walpole is therefore keen to ensure that the system chosen continues to put the needs of the customers, retailers and the refund agents at its core. It is important that we have a smooth transition and a new system that makes it easier, not harder, for our international visitors to receive their tax refund, and to continue seeing the UK as an attractive place to shop.

We are arranging a meeting to table the priorities and make this case to government. As part of this, it would be hugely helpful to demonstrate to ministers the strength of retail support for our position. If your company offers tax free shopping please would you consider adding your name to this letter? The letter will not be used publicly and we would of course seek permission before including your company name on any communications.

Please get in touch to indicate whether your company would be happy to be included in this initiative and, if so, whose name should be added. Please also feel free to ask any questions you may have.