Heathrow eyes quick cash back for re­funds on value added tax

Fo­cus on Gulf trav­ellers with pre­mium ser­vice

The National - News - Business - - Front Page - Lucy Barnard lbarnard@thena­tional.ae

As thou­sands of trav­ellers from the Ara­bian Gulf pre­pare to head to Europe for the sum­mer, Heathrow Air­port has teamed up with the money ex­change com­pany Trav­elex to launch a new pre­mium “VAT re­fund by ap­point­ment” ser­vice for cus­tomers re­claim­ing the tax when leav­ing the United King­dom.

Gulf cus­tomers fed up of wait­ing in long queues at Heathrow to claim a re­fund of 20 per cent on goods pur­chased in the UK will be able make use of the air­port’s new ap­point­ment ser­vice where pas­sen­gers can book pri­vate re­fund ap­point­ments.

At a cost of £120 (Dh571), Trav­elex says cus­tomers can book a per­sonal one-to-one ap­point­ment with an Ara­bic speak­ing host at a screened desk where the com­pany prom­ises there will be no wait­ing time.

Lo­cated at Heathrow’s Ter­mi­nal 5 from where the UK flag carrier Bri­tish Air­ways (BA) flies, the move could also en­cour­age the sort of high-pay­ing Gulf pas­sen­gers likely to use the VAT ser­vice to fly with BA rather than with their Gulf com­peti­tors.

“Tax-free shop­ping is one of the great ben­e­fits of com­ing to the UK. But we recog­nise that our cus­tomer’s time is precious,” said John Ray­ment, Trav­elex UK’s com­mer­cial di­rec­tor.

“This new, exclusive ex­pe­ri­ence will en­sure cus­tomers can com­plete their VAT re­fund in a re­laxed en­vi­ron­ment, safe in the knowl­edge that their re­fund will be com­pleted in a timely fash­ion.” Chris An­netts, Heathrow’s re­tail and ser­vice propo­si­tion di­rec­tor said: “This pri­vate ser­vice will provide our cus­tomers with greater choice and per­son­alised sup­port with their VAT re­turns, giv­ing them more time to en­joy their jour­ney.” Un­der the UK law, cus­tomers who live out­side the Euro­pean Union but who are vis­it­ing the UK are eli­gi­ble to claim a re­fund on VAT paid for goods and ser­vices at the point at which they leave the EU.

To re­ceive a re­fund, cus­tomers are re­quired to provide: the tax-free goods they pur­chased; orig­i­nal store re­ceipts; VAT re­fund forms; and their pass­port and board­ing pass as proof that they are tak­ing the goods out of the EU. Re­funds by ap­point­ment can be booked on­line in ad­vance at www.trav­elex.co.uk/vat-re­fund-by-ap­point­ment.

Getty Images

Ter­mi­nal 5 at Heathrow Air­port, where the ser­vice will be.

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