Brits fail to recover their share of 23 billion euros of reclaimable VAT with 75% unaware of new Brexit legislation

Wevat tax-free shopping app

Poll found that 67% had never claimed back the VAT on purchases made during trips abroad

Tax-free shopping can be complicated. It’s not uncommon to have to manually fill in more than ten forms and spend at least two hours queuing at the airport to get refund forms stamped.”

— Raphael Chow, CEO and founder of tax reclaim app Wevat.

LONDON, UK, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, November 2, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — An independent survey commissioned by tax-refund app Wevat found that 67% of the 2,000 UK adults surveyed by OnePoll had never claimed back the VAT (value added tax) on purchases made during a trip abroad. While three quarters of those surveyed (75%) said they were unaware they could claim back the tax on purchases made during European trips as a result of the UK leaving the EU. As the UK is no longer part of the EU, British residents can reclaim the tax on certain purchases made in Europe

According to travel publication Skift, an estimated 23 billion euros in value-added tax (VAT) is eligible to be reclaimed every year in refunds, but with 75% of Brits unaware of this new tax perk – many are leaving money on the table.

“The findings are hardly surprising to us, especially as the tax-free shopping process can be complicated. It’s not uncommon to have to manually fill in more than ten forms and spend at least two hours queuing at the airport to get refund forms stamped. Receipts can also be lost, and the hassle factor of claiming puts many tourists off – even though they could be saving hundreds of pounds.” Commented Raphael Chow, CEO and founder of tax reclaim app Wevat.

“In fact, it’s why we launched Wevat; to digitise the process and make tax-free shopping simpler. Through our app, we’ve helped reclaim more than €18 million for our customers to date. Consumers can download our app; upload their invoices and we’ll take care of the paperwork. We can also save customers up to 23% more on their refund by cutting out the middlemen and because there are no hidden or foreign exchange fees. These savings will come in handy for UK shoppers wanting their Christmas spending budget to go further.” Chow added.

Tax-free shopping allows international shoppers to claim a refund prior to departure on a variety of goods. These include fashion, cosmetics, jewellery, as well as technology, which is why it’s easy to see how savings on luxury designer goods or high-ticket electronics can help consumers bag a bargain. Using the Wevat app, customers are supported with obtaining suitable invoices from their purchases that can then be uploaded into the app. At the end of their trip the app will calculate the refund based on the total cost of their purchases with the customer just needing to get their claim validated at the airport or train station. Currently, users departing from Gare du Nord Eurostar station, Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, and Paris Orly airport can use Wevat to claim VAT back on purchases made in France. Further departure points in Nice and Calais are expected to be in place by the end of 2021.

Although awareness of tourist tax refunds and tax-free shopping is low, it’s higher amongst the younger generation. Of those surveyed, 44% of 18 to 24 year olds were aware that they could reclaim the tax when shopping in Europe compared with only 15% of 45 to 54 year olds. Males are also more likely to have claimed back the tax on purchases with 24% saying they had claimed back, compared to 13% of females. When it came to awareness of UK citizens being able to claim back the tax on purchases in Europe, 81% of females did not know compared to 69% of males who did not know.

Interestingly, regional awareness is highest in Northern Ireland with 50% saying they were aware they could claim back the tax in Europe – although it’s worth noting that British nationals currently residing in an EU country are not eligible. Awareness of the ability to claim back is next highest in London with 46% followed by 29% in Scotland, 27% in East Anglia, Yorkshire and the Humber, 22% in the West Midlands, 20% in the North East, 19% in the South East, 18% in the North West, 14% in the East Midlands, 13% in the South West and finally only 11% of people in Wales being aware.

Wevat has already helped travellers from 88 countries claim a tax refund on more than €18 million of shopping. In December 2021, it will launch a new service enabling UK tourists to reclaim the tax on purchases made while shopping in France – the second most popular tourist destination for Brits according to ONS statistics.

Notes to Editors:
Survey conducted by OnePoll of 2,000 UK nationally representative adults in October 2021. The breakdown of the survey results is available upon request.

About Wevat:
Wevat was founded in London in 2016 as the first digital B2C VAT refund provider for international travellers. To date it has helped travellers from 88 countries get a tax refund on more than €18 million of shopping. By cutting out the middleman and digitising the process, customers can save up to 23% more on their tax refund. In Dec 2021, it expanded its services to offer tax refunds to UK tourists shopping in France.

Wevat aims to make the tax-free shopping experience convenient, efficient and reliable for travellers with its revolutionary digital solution and customer-focused service.

Wevat is backed by experienced investors including Entrée Capital, firstminute Capital, Sweet Capital, and Andy Phillips, former CEO of Priceline (part of Booking Holdings Inc.). They also have strong partnerships and seamless integrations with innovative payment providers such as Alipay and WeChat Pay.

Karolina Throssell
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