UK Travellers to France: How to Claim Back VAT


Essential Reading

UK Travellers to France: How to Claim Back VAT

Brexit has changed many things about travel between France and the UK, and with the UK now out of the EU, there are far stricter rules on customs allowances and sending parcels. However, one positive side of these changes is that UK residents may be eligible to claim the VAT back on items purchased in the EU.

Who Can Claim Tax Back On Items Bought in the EU?

Anyone who is over 16 and has travelled to France for less than six months is eligible to claim a VAT refund on goods purchased during their stay in France. These VAT refunds are applicable to all residents of the UK (except for residents of Northern Ireland). However, there are some restrictions:

VAT can only be claimed back:

  • on new goods purchased for personal use and brought back to the UK yourself (you can’t bring back tax-free goods for a friend or family member)
  • if the items were purchased from a retailer that offers tax-free shopping
  • for goods totalling more than €100 including TVA (VAT) – i.e. €100.01 or more
  • if you are a permanent resident in a non-EU country (e.g. the UK)

How to Purchase VAT-Free Goods in France

Many goods qualify for VAT-free shopping in France, including clothes, jewellery, cosmetics, food and drink items, and technology, and French VAT can be up to 20% of the price you will pay on these items, so it’s well worth claiming back the tax if you can.

In order to benefit, you must provide proof that you are not resident in France (a UK passport, along with proof of address and/or a residency card). At the time of purchase, you must ask for a VAT refund form.

When shopping in France:

  • Shop only at retailers who allow tax-free shopping
  • Ask for a VAT refund form at the time of purchase – both you and the retailer will sign it
  • Keep the original tags or packaging on the clothes – VAT refunds are only possible on new items
  • Keep all sales receipts and VAT refund forms

Find out more about the process here.

To claim back the VAT:

  • You must export the goods with you to the UK within three months of purchase.
  • You must get your VAT refund forms stamped by customs before leaving France – this is typically done by customs officials at the airport, port, or train station.
  • Alternatively, validate your VAT refund forms at an electronic PABLO kiosk (available at some airports and Eurotunnel stations) by scanning the barcode.
  • Items may need to be shown to customs officials when returning to the UK, so it’s a good idea to pack them at the top of your luggage.
  • When back in the UK, send the stamped form back to the retailer. Alternatively, use an app such as ZappTax to carry out the process on your behalf.

Share to:  Facebook  Twitter   LinkedIn   Email

Previous Article Posting Items Between France and the UK: Post-Brexit Customs and Duties
Next Article Travelling by Ferry With Your Dog Between France and the UK

Related Articles

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  •  Bilgen
    2024-02-26 12:06:19
    Can i use my driving licence instead of my passport as I'm not uk citizen, but my residence is uk from 11 years


  •  Zunera
    2022-08-07 05:31:38
    Hi there, was wondering if you could help me. I have purchased a few items (r.g shoes) for personal use and was wanting to claim my tax back. The retailers had seen my passport and gave me a tax free form where all my details are written. As we were running late for our flight I was unable to go to customs desk and get the form validated. I am now back in the UK, the items purchased is within the 3 months. However, am I able to claim back tax refun when in the Uk ?


    •  John
      2024-02-12 04:02:55
      Unfortunately, it's a bit late but next time you must use the "Pablo" kiosks available in the international part of the airport. You need the "Zaptax" App on your mobile phone, scan all your receipts and get an electronic tax refund document. You will have to scan it on the "Pablo" kiosk and Zaptax will transfer your VAT refund after taking their commission.