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Since Britain left the EU, British tourists are now eligible to claim back the VAT on items as they are non-EU citizens. However, many Britons are unaware of the new perk which could save them a lot of money.
In August 2021, 715,000 British tourists visited Spain for a holiday, making up one of every seven international tourists in the country.
While this is lower than the 2.1 million Britons who visited Spain in August 2019, Spanish tourism experts are confident the number will continue to rise.
British tourists now have more reason than ever to visit Spain, as they can reap shopping rewards from claiming back VAT.
Up to 21 percent of VAT can be claimed back from purchasing goods which can include fashion clothing and jewellery.
VAT can also be claimed back on makeup and cosmetics, technology products and some food and drink items.
Non EU citizens can’t claim back VAT on services. This includes restaurant bills, car rental, show or theatre tickets, flights or public transport.
Shopping is an important activity of many Britons’ holidays, with six out of 10 UK tourists saying they would spend up to 50 percent of their holiday budget on shopping.
However, a lot of British tourists are missing out on the VAT perk according to tourism shopping tax refund company, Global Blue.
Luis Llorca, Global Blue’s General Director in Spain, told El País: “According to the retail stores in Spain, only 10 percent of British tourists who have bought in Spain have taken advantage of the VAT refund.
“It’s a very low percentage, since for the rest of non-EU nationalities the rate of awareness is always above 50 percent.”
This summer the Spanish department store, El Corte Inglés, partnered with the Spanish airline Iberia to raise awareness of the post-Brexit perk.
But Llorca believes many British tourists remain unaware of the shopping benefit they are missing out on.
He said: “Spanish authorities have not yet made the necessary effort to publicise this possibility of return on purchases.”
British holidaymakers can also access the VAT perk in other EU countries, such as France and Germany.
However, it is thought that Spain would be the top shopping choice for British holidaymakers as it is already their top holiday destination.
According to Global Blue, Britons can access the perk by shopping in retail stores that offer tax refunds.
At the counter, British tourists should show their passport in store and ask for tax free.
They will then need to validate their Tax Free Form with the validation kiosks at departures or Customs.
British tourists can then use the Global Blue app to claim their refund or visit a refund office.
Spain has no minimum spend for tax free shopping but Britons will need to have their passport with them while shopping and validate their Tax Free forms at the airport to qualify for the refunds.
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