I'm thinking about visiting the UK and I'm wondering which things are affected by the VAT and which are not. Also as a non-UK resident is there a way to get a rebate/reimbursement on this tax?
I'm thinking about visiting the UK and I'm wondering which things are affected by the VAT and which are not.
Most consumer goods are subject to VAT at the standard rate.
Most food sold in shops is zero-rated, with the exception of a handful of luxury foods. Food in cafes/restaurants and some takeaway food is subject to VAT at the standard rate.
Most paper books are zero rated (IIRC books that come with CDs are an exception).
Some services are exempt, insurance is a notable one, so are some transactions with charities.
Some small buisnesses and sole traders may not be VAT registered in which case there is no VAT for you to pay (but they can't reclaim VAT on the goods and services they buy).
(there is a distinction between zero-rated and exempt but it's not relavent to you as a customer).
Some goods have special rules, notably second hand goods.
Prices are normally given inclusive of VAT. The exception to this is suppliers who mostly deal in business to business transactions.
Also as a non-UK resident is there a way to get a rebate/reimbursement on this tax?
There is something called the "retail export scheme" which can get you a refund but there are a number of catches.
- The item must be exported intact. If it's a consumable item and you consume it in whole or part while within the EU then you can't get a refund.
- There is extra paperwork for the seller.
- There is no requirement for sellers to participate in the scheme. Retailers of high-value goods likely to be purchased by tourists (cameras, laptops etc) likely will other retailers are much less likely to.
- You get the refund from the seller or their agent, the government does not give direct refunds. The seller may or may not charge a fee for handling this.
- You need to get a customs stamp on exit confirming that you are exporting the goods outside the EU. Customs may want to inspect the goods.