VAT Question


I am currently serving in Afghanistan and understand that items can be bought from the UK either exempt from VAT or with VAT recoverable (which I use fairly often).

One question I do have is regarding paying for a holiday (I'm planning on escaping after I have complete my tour). I understand that VAT is paid on holidays; if I pay for the holiday whilst I am out here, am I eligible to reclaim VAT? (I'm thinking not, but it's worth asking the question).

Many thanks,



  • Holidays are a strange one, because you're actually buying a service and not really a product. It's hard to explain, but a flight, transfers etc are a service and you can't claim the vat back on these. I'm really struggling of a way to explain it better, but I hope this helps.

    Hope you have a good tour and safe trip home.
    Starting again and working towards our new df life!
    A very proud forces wife
  • dzug1dzug1 Forumite
    13.5K Posts
    10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    VAT isn't actually charged on overseas holidays from the UK - not on the accommodation/travel anyway. So there's nothing to reclaim

    Well not quite true - VAT is charged on the travel agent's margin (ie what he charges for doing the bookings for you and/or his markup on what he pays his suppliers) - which will be a trivial amount in the context of the total price. And not reclaimable anyway as it's a service and not physical goods
  • Thanks to both of you - had a feeling there would be the technicality of service v product.

    dzug1: Interesting to note that VAT is only on the mark-up; learn something new every day.
  • I agree with the product explaination and the VAT on Travel agents margins. I know loads of people like myself that took full advantage of the 20% VAT relief, while in the sandy hellhole but on products only
This discussion has been closed.