VAT Refunds at Heathrow Airport

When I was in Europe and London, I bought stuff using my credit cards. So before I flew back to Malaysia, I reclaimed the sales tax (VAT) at the Heathrow Airport.

I thought that I could reclaim cash but when I reached the counter, I was asked to claim it by credit card. So I had to fill in my credit card number. 

A friend told me that I wouldn't be able to get back the refund or rather I got to wait endlessly for them to pay to my credit card.

But to my surprise, I was paid after about a month..

Visitors from non-European Union countries can reclaim the sales tax (VAT) on purchases from a number of British retailers.
To claim, first purchase goods from any merchant displaying the Tax Free Shopping sign. You'll be given a tax refund form by the retailer – keep it along with your receipt.
Then when you get to the airport, take your receipt and form to the Travelex counter or UK Border Agency office (located before and after security). Please have the items with you for inspection and anything large and bulky (including clothing) will need to be presented before check in. High value items including watches, cameras, smart phones must be presented after security control.

It may be possible for the refund to be paid in cash but this will depend the retailer where the goods were purchased. You may also have your refund paid in your own local currency – just ask at the desk.


  1. Very good experience. I preferred to get refund in cash though.

  2. That's what we call GST here. Everything you buy or pay for there is subject to GST or VAT...and in the UK, for tourists, you can claim it back when you leave (not Australia or NZ). Problem is I was not disciplined enough to keep track of my expenses...and too lazy to go and claim back. So, percuma bayar lor... Sigh!!!!!

  3. sometimes i'm just lazy to go through all the chores, afterall i don't spend much too, haha :D

  4. Something like GST in Singapore.. good information!

  5. i usually don't bother haha. i just go off without claiming. but yes i don't spend too much.. mostly food so bleh :p.

  6. Great info but seldom really shop when travelling overseas. tQ.

  7. The whole process is so efficient.

  8. UK VAT is 20%, so if the whole sum is refunded, it is substantial.

    it's only the hassle of filling the forms & having to show the goods bought.

  9. I never claimed and that was so silly of me!

  10. So do I do the refund at the retail store or at the airport? Thank in advance!

  11. Heathrow Airport is top of the list of new-fangled airports, but is always more utilitarian and hence holds the name as a classy airport with the incarnation of varied traditions and values depicting the glory of British people.


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