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Published:April 12, 2021

Reclaiming VAT from the UK

What you need to know to secure a refund

Reclaiming VAT from the UK

Brexit directly affects the procedure for German firms claiming back VAT from the UK. Now that the UK has left the EU, German companies that ship goods to the UK will need to follow new procedures to secure a VAT refund. As the UK is no longer an EU-member state, the EU Refund mechanism does not apply.

UK companies that import into the EU must apply for a VAT refund via the 13th Directive procedure. The process for EU companies reclaiming VAT from the UK is similar: companies based in the EU that import goods into the UK will have to apply for a refund for the UK’s 13th Directive equivalent process. 


What’s required to file a VAT refund claim

In order to apply for a VAT refund via the UK’s 13th Directive equivalent, you need to ensure all your paperwork is in order. 

Non-UK registered businesses must make an application directly to HMRC using the appropriate form. You will also be required to provide supporting documentation, according to HMRC’s specifications. 

You will be required to declare that the imported goods were used for the business activities specified and confirm the amount you are claiming. 


Supporting documentation

In addition, you will need to provide HMRC with an original certificate demonstrating your business activity. The certificate will include your business address and registration number, among other details.

You will also need to provide proof that you have paid VAT. If the value of supply exceeds £250, proof of payment must include an identifying number from suppliers, as well as their addresses and VAT registration numbers. You can prepare or file the claim directly or authorise an agent to do so on your behalf.


The administrative burden of Brexit

It’s often said that Brexit has created a mountain of red tape. But what does that mean in practice? As we can see in this specific example, the procedure for applying a VAT refund as a non-UK registered business involves careful record-keeping and exhaustive filing requirements, 

Prior to Brexit, many companies that traded between the UK and EU had no need for such processes 

Following Brexit, optimising trade depends on a complete and accurate accounting of goods, an understanding of all required filing and support documentation and attention to filing correctly and on time. 

Any omission or inaccuracy could see the claim rejected. At the same time, neglecting to claim your refund on time could see you lose your VAT reclaim opportunity completely. 


Never miss a VAT reclaim opportunity

VAT IT are European VAT specialists with deep experience managing firms’ VAT operations in Europe and the UK. We carefully assess our clients’ VAT obligations and operations, and ensure they are always fully compliant. We are focused on ensuring you never miss an opportunity to reclaim VAT and optimise cash flow.

Get in touch for a specialist assessment of your VAT obligations and opportunities. We’ll cut through the red tape and get your goods to market as quickly, efficiently and cost-affordably as possible.  


How to claim back your VAT from the UK

Download this comprehensive checklist to give your business the best shot at claiming VAT on T&E, A/P and Import costs successfully from the United Kingdom. 

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