You DO have to show your boarding passes at Duty Free

This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's blog. Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.




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  • bzdbzd Forumite
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    There's public outrage and promises of government crackdowns on multinational companies that ship their profits out to the least taxing country to avoid paying tax in Britain (okay, so it's a different tax). This is just another form of tax avoidance by companies that should know better.
  • DewpointDewpoint Forumite
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    So, you show your boarding pass and get a discount from the retailer after buying say, a camera at Gatwick because they can claim back the VAT on the camera. You are travelling to outside the EU and coming back in a few weeks - do you then have to pay back the VAT/discount on your return?
    The answer is probably not. So the Treasury then ends up losing the VAT on the goods completely, and the consumer/retailer has gained as a result.
    Is that true?
  • Mids_CostcutterMids_Costcutter Forumite
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    I can't remember the last time I bought anything at a duty-free shop, so why is it necessary to show your boarding pass when travelling within the EU? The retailer can't claim back the VAT so there should be no need, should there?
  • lisyloolisyloo Forumite
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    It's explained in the article. Have you read it?
  • zerogzerog Forumite
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    Martin is being disingenous here. There are no duty-free shops in UK airports.

    There is a chain shop called WorldDutyFree, but it has the same practices as all AIRSIDE airport shops, which is to pay VAT on purchases by pax departing to the EU, and to pay VAT on purchases who refuse to show their boarding pass.

    Landside shops charge VAT regardless.
  • *~Zephyr~**~Zephyr~* Forumite
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    I flew out of Birmingham Airport a few weeks ago and they insisted on seeing my boarding pass before letting me buy. I had £400 worth of stuff in my basket (no booze or fags, just fragrance and a shedload of Dior makeup :o) and the girl on the Dior counter was quite adamant that she couldn't sell it to me without seeing my pass. She didn't know why when I asked her though. I understand the position with HMRC, but if WorldDutyFree educated their staff on the subject, perhaps there would be less wrongfully indignant customers at the tills.

    Boots were also still asking for the pass when I bought water in there. There was much rolling of eyes and gnashing of teeth by the staff member when I said I'd left it with my Dad on the other side of the airport lounge. But when I cheerfully suggested that I'd go and buy water in WHSmiths instead, she decided she could serve me after all.
  • edited 10 October 2015 at 12:53PM
    agarnettagarnett
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    edited 10 October 2015 at 12:53PM
    *~Zephyr~* wrote: »
    ... the girl on the Dior counter was quite adamant that she couldn't sell it to me without seeing my pass. She didn't know why when I asked her though. I understand the position with HMRC, but if WorldDutyFree educated their staff on the subject, perhaps there would be less wrongfully indignant customers at the tills.
    I agree - At Stansted WDF the other day I was looking at Chanel and the assistant "helpfully" told me that I was saving the VAT of course by buying from them versus the high street.

    Then after buying some Paco Rabanne on promotion, I caught them overcharging at the till cf. the shelf-label - they were most indignant after they checked but merely asked a supervisor to authorise the difference, when I told them that actually they were breaking the law. I asked the supervisor why the shelf label had not been immediately removed. I had to call for a manager to get it removed. To complete my point I asked the manager to use a £5 discount coupon on my £60 purchase as an acknowledgement. Those coupons are usually available for a minimum of £70 or £75 worth of purchases but she said she had no authority to allow it, nor did she even suggest I spend a little more to make it easier. She carried a face like a busted proverbial.

    I use the airport a lot, and whilst many can be friendly and helpful enough, I find them completely sour-faced and unrepentent on matters like this where they have to handle non-routine criticisms to be honest. I think many and their employer deserve the sour-faced MSE'ers they encounter everyday.

    These corporates collect far too much personal data on the excuse that the government needs it. They should not be permitted to scan the boarding pass, merely look at it at best. Goodness knows what other hidden information they pull from the scan. The barcode or QR codes obviously include links to passport data as well as flight data.
  • Mids_CostcutterMids_Costcutter Forumite
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    lisyloo wrote: »
    It's explained in the article. Have you read it?

    Read again and yes I see that it's a HMRC requirement for all goods sold.

    Following Zerog's post though, I wonder how you know when you're visiting a duty-free shop?
  • agarnettagarnett
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    I must just add my latest observation from another UK airport (I'd better not say which because someone might go on a witch hunt!).

    I bought some goods and offered my boarding pass for scanning and was told oh don't worry about that, we just choose any one from the departure board and manually input it :rotfl:
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