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Tourist Tax Rebate Entitlement

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Hi, I was wondering if anyone on here may have experience of the tourist tax rebate, or more specifically how you know if you are entitled to it?

For context, I am looking to get myself a new watch and am flying back to UK in October so was looking at duty free, however I have been advised that due to changes in tax rules it is often cheaper to buy in a country and claim back GST/VAT at the airport. I am in Aus on a temp 457, if I bought here in Aus am I not entitled to claim it back as a tourist? If not, can I buy in London and claim back the VAT the other way? or am I not a tourist in UK as I am from there even though living abroad? 

If anyone has any experience of this I would really appreciate any anecdotal advice!

Thanks in advance for any help.


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You don't have to be a tourist to claim the GST back on goods purchased, you just need to be leaving the country.  I'm here as a permanent resident and was able to claim back the GST on a pair of (expensive) headphones last time I visited the UK.  I have a colleague who regularly travels and claims the GST back on goods purchased here that he is taking with him.  The only restriction is the value of the goods has to be over a certain amount.  All the info you need can be found here https://www.abf.gov.au/entering-and-leaving-australia/tourist-refund-scheme/for-travellers.

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving.

Dale Carnegie – 1888-1955, Author and Lecturer

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I claimed some VAT back on a watch when leaving the UK recently, at Heathrow Airport. They wanted to see evidence that I was moving away permanently (the rule is you can't be coming back into the EU for 12 months, I think: see second bullet point here: https://www.gov.uk/tax-on-shopping/taxfree-shopping). In this case my one way plane ticket and Aus employment contract was enough.

VAT is 20% so if the retail price was the same you theoretically get more back in the UK, BUT in Aus you get the whole 10% GST back whereas in the UK the admin is outsourced and the contractor takes a chunky cut, so you should check with the shop how much you will actually get back.


Edited by Tychen

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