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Get your money back

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by revivaldrum, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. I'm thinking about VAT. If I buy a laptop, for example, before leaving the UK, can I claim my VAT back? How recent does the purchase have to be? Are there any special rules anyone knows about? What form is it you have to fill in?

    Cheers anyone
     
  2. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    In order to get your VAT back you have to be resident in a non-EU country ( not 100% sure that it has to be non-EU but that is what I was asked last time I used this ). The vendor needs to fill in a form for you - which they should have - which is stamped and also has details of your passport and residence permit for the country abroad. You then get that stamped by the the customs officials either when you leave the EU or enter the non-EU country. They may request to see the goods you are requiring the VAT back for.
    As far as I know, it is not retrospective ( one can imagine all the problems that would cause ).
     
  3. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    You have to take the goods out of the country within a certain time limit, perhaps 6 months? And I think they have to be in original packaging/condition, to show that you didn't use them at home. You can't get a tax refund on used goods. I always leave the tags on clothing, etc.
    But the key thing is getting the paperwork when you buy something. Nothing can be done if you forget, though I have known stores both chain and boutique, who were willing to fill in the paperwork when I returned sheepishly days later, receipts in hand.
    And think carefully when you pack your suitcases. They can and will often ask to see the goods. Pack them in an easily accessible spot, and remember where that is. Having a separate suitcase for these goods can be a good option. (Am I giving myself away? Perhaps building a reputation as a bit of a shopper?)
     
  4. Right, so I guess my plan of buying a laptop, filling it with all my stuff and software I want to take with me, then claiming back VAT as I swan out of the country isn't going to fly, so to speak. Especially considering that the country I am going to will charge tax on any new items imported. Oh well, thanks for the info.
     
  5. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    No, but if you're buying a new wardrobe for the new position, as so many of us have done before, you can claim back on all those clothes if you just resist wearing them until after you fly.
    Or all those odds and ends that you need for your apartment that you can't get as easily or as cheaply in the target country.
    There's money to be saved.
     
  6. mrswallow

    mrswallow New commenter

    Can you, or could you, claim VAT exemption if the lap top is for work purposes? Or would this be even more paperwork? I only ask as an old associate of mine claimed the VAT back on a canoe once as he 'needed' it for work.
     
  7. happygreenfrog

    happygreenfrog Occasional commenter

    I tried exactly what the OP suggested last summer. Having been working out the country for 7 years, it suddenly clicked that here was an opportunity as a non-tax UK payer. I bought a laptop last summer and did all the research rior to the purchase, which suggested i'd be able to fill in some forms at Customs and start the reclaiming procedure. Lo and behold a catch, explained to me by a customs official - you cannot return to the UK within the year. I was departing for the new school year at the end of July and would return to the UK mid June. Fail.
    It appears in hindsight a rather strange rule; not a tax year but a year, and why be bound by this rule which i guess must be to do with your tax status. I don't pay UK tax so one would think i could offset this small tax charge against something or other, since every UK worker has a lower earnings limit on which they don't pay tax, or in other words only those with income over a certain threshold begin to pay tax. Different types of tax of course but still.
    In general I tend to find myself rather unclear, and yes I've been to the tax offices, as to what my general status in the UK is. I own property and am here from bewteen 6 weeks to 3 months (depeding on contracts) each year. I consider myself resident.
     

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