7 March 2024

UK Tax Refunds - Luxury sector requests return of tax-free buying for visitors to the UK

Walpole, the official body for the UK luxury industry, has called on the government to take steps in its spring budget to help luxury brands. By Leatherbiz.

In the build-up to budget day, the chief executive of Walpole, Helen Brocklebank, called on the government to reinstate tax refunds for consumers from other countries to encourage an increase in sales of luxury goods in shops in the UK.

Refunds of sales tax for shoppers from overseas ended after the UK left the European Union at the start of 2021. An EU-wide policy of allowing shoppers from other parts of the world to claim back sales tax no longer applied in the UK from that point on.

Luxury brands in the UK have complained since then that tourists, to make the most of the tax refund, have waited until visiting Paris or Rome or other cities during trips to Europe to shop and UK brands and retailers are missing out.

Addressing this, Helen Brocklebank said reintroducing the tax refund in the UK would boost spending among visitors from across the globe and help support manufacturing, hospitality and retail jobs in the UK.

She added: “Such a move would provide a massive boost to the UK’s luxury sector, which already contributes over £48 billion to the economy each year and supports 156,000 jobs across the regions.”

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