Tax-Free Shopping Update

Heathrow legal challenge to Chancellor over the abolition of VAT RES fails

Following the Chancellor’s decision to abolish the VAT Retail Export (tax-free shopping) Scheme for visitors from all countries in the UK, Heathrow Airport, Global Blue and WDFG UK mounted a judicial review to challenge the way the Government had made its decision.
26th May 2021
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Tax-Free Shopping Update Heathrow legal challenge to Chancellor over the abolition of VAT RES fails

Walpole, along with New West End Company, the Association of Independent Retail and other campaign partners, was and remains highly concerned by this decision to stop the scheme, which acted as a significant calling card for the UK and an enabler of export trade.

Last week, the court ruled that the Government did follow due procedure during the decision-making process for abolishing VAT RES.  This result is disappointing but was not a surprise given the narrow scope of judicial reviews on the legality of the decision-making process and it is worth noting that the court makes no comment on the decision itself.

The judicial review has served a significant purpose by making the Government reveal publicly the evidence it used to reach its decision. Walpole will use this information in our continued campaigning work with AIR, NWEC and other partners to get this decision overturned. We will be presenting further evidence to the Chancellor when international visitors resume global travel.

You can see the full judgement here and a summary of the review here from AIR.