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.
When you get to the airport, take your receipt and form to the Travelex counter or the Customs desk (located before and after security). Please ensure the form is competed before arrival and ensure you have the items with you for inspection. Anything large and bulky (including clothing) will need to be presented before check-in. High-value items including watches, cameras and smartphones must be presented after security control.
It may be possible for the refund to be paid in cash but this will depend on the retailer where the goods were purchased.
You may also be able to have your refund paid in your own local currency – just ask at the desk.
Please note the average queue time is 30 minutes, but will be longer at peak times, or if you are part of a tour group, or queuing behind a tour group. Please allow extra time to complete the VAT reclaim process and ensure you have checked in at least one hour before your departure time to clear check-in and airport security.
VAT Reclaim by appointment - Terminal 5
Book your 30-minute appointment in advance and enjoy a peace-of-mind VAT refund experience. Appointment slots cost £120 and will save you valuable time.
*Conditions apply. For full details visit the HM Revenue & Customs website.
VAT refunds leaflet
VAT Refund appointments
Claim your VAT refund before you fly from Heathrow Terminal 5