Claiming a UK VAT refund as a non-UK businesses

July 14, 2022

Is your business based outside the UK but buying goods or services within the UK?

Well, you may be able to reclaim the VAT from any purchases or imports made between 1 July 2023 and 30 June 2024. A government scheme is in place to help you reclaim previously paid VAT. We’ve answered all of your burning questions on the latest guidance and eligibility criteria. 

How does it work?

  1. Fill in a VAT refund application form
  2. Provide a breakdown of the VAT amounts you wish to recover
  3. Attach original VAT invoices, vouchers, or receipts to support the application
  4. Affix a recently issued copy certificate of business registration
  5. If required, attach a letter of authority to your agent

Who is eligible?

Typically, you can apply for a VAT refund if your business is outside the UK. However, you also have to look at additional requirements, for example: 

• You aren’t registered, eligible, or liable for UK VAT

• You don’t have a place of business or another residence in the UK

• You don’t make any taxable supplies in the UK — the exception here are:

   — services related to the cross-border transportation of goods

   — services where VAT is payable by the person in the UK to whom the supply is made

What can you claim?

In general, you may claim VAT amounts for:

  • goods and services purchased in the UK
  • goods imported into the UK

However, you cannot claim a VAT refund for:

• Non-business supplies (though if have a purchase that’s part business and non-business, you may claim VAT for the business part of the expense)

• A supply used or to be used to make a supply in the UK;

• any supply or import of most ordinary business cars; you can only claim 50% of the VAT incurred on the hire or lease of a car for mixed business and private purposes;

• Certain second-hand goods, such as cars and antiques, for which a tax invoice is not issued;

• Business entertainment/hospitality expenses (except for VAT on

basic entertainment for overseas customers);

• Exports of goods (although these will be zero-rated provided the supplier has the necessary evidence); or

• Goods and services, such as hotel accommodation, purchased for resale and which are for the direct benefit of travelers

• A supply used or to be used to make an exempt supply outside the UK

• goods in Northern Ireland that could be claimed under the Northern Ireland protocol

For example, among the most common items claimed are accommodation, fuel, restaurants, and admissions to fairs and exhibitions. However, you must check that these aren’t excluded from the list above.

Lastly, if your country operates a similar scheme to refund sales-related taxes, then UK traders must have access to this. Otherwise, your application may be rejected.

What VAT amounts can you claim?

You have no maximum claim amount. However, the minimum you may claim is £130 in a 12 month period.   

What is the filing deadline?

If the claim period is 1 July 2023–30 June 2024, then you have until 31 December 2024 to file your application.

Any other important details?

The UK tax authority is strict when it comes to the certificate proving your business activity.

The certificate must contain:

• the name, the address, and official stamp of the authorising body

• your own name and address

•the nature of your business

• your business registration number

If this is not available, then the UK tax authority has a standard form that your local tax authority or commercial register can fill out.

It must be an original, not a photocopy. They do accept hard copies of electronic certificates However, the UK tax authority must be able to validate online that you’re in business.

The certificate must also be valid for 12 months from the date of issue.

When do you get a refund?

If your VAT refund claim is successful, the UK tax authority will pay out within 6 months upon receiving your application.

How can we help?

At gunnercooke Operating Partners, as your agent, we can help you with the entire process, including:

– Identifying invoices that may qualify

– Contacting UK businesses to refund any wrongly charged VAT

– Preparing applications for VAT refund

– Dealing with any HMRC queries relating to your applications

– Receiving the refund in our bank account

– Paying out the refund within 14 days of a successful application

Contact us to find out more about how we can help. For more information email