*** UPDATE: AS OF OCTOBER 17TH THERE HAS BEEN A REVERSAL AND UNFORTUNATELY, LONDON AND THE UK WILL NOT BE RE-INSTATING THE TAX FREE SHOPPING.
Over the last few years, London has made big headlines, from the Brexit at the beginning of 2020, to the sad news of the Queen’s passing in 2022. With all these major headlines, it’s one single announcement from the New British Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng that caught my attention. And that announcement is London has plans to reintroduce the TAX Free Shopping for international traveler!! Yes, that’s correct, London Welcomes Back Tax Free Shopping for international shoppers!! Woohoo
History of the Vat Tax Refund / Tax Free Shopping in London
In Jan 2020, London broke the internet announcing they were exiting from the EU. As an avid shopper, this was devastating to me, because it meant that London lost the perk from the EU of the VAT TAX refund, which is a 12% refund off any purchase over 100 Pounds. In fact, I wrote an entire article about it, you can read here. With that being said, on Sept 25th, 2022 Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced, London is bringing Tax Free Shopping back for all international shoppers!
How does the NEW Tax Free Shopping work in London?
If you are like me, you are probably wondering, how does the New Tax Free shopping process work? Well, that’s a great question. While there are limited details available, the only thing we know for sure is that International travelers from all over the world can benefit from this NEW Tax Free Shopping in London.
As more details are released, I will continue to update this space. But as of now, I can only help but wonder, will this be the tourist boast London needs?
When will the Tax Free Shopping Start in London?
According to Forbes, No time has been set yet for when it will be re-introduced. My guess, is that the government will have to work out some of the kinks, ensures the workflow is in place, and figure out exactly how they want the Tax Free Shopping to work for travelers. While it is a big task, I believe that London will figure it out and it will be up and running in no time! Shoppers rejoice!
Why now is the best time to go shopping in London
In addition to London announcing the Tax Free Shopping is coming back for The Pound is falling, the Pound is falling! This is the first time in history, that the Pound to USD rate has been at an all time low.
- 5 Years ago, in 2018, the Pound to USD reached a high of 1.42
- (Meaning that £1 equaled $1.42 USD)
- Sept. 29th the Pound to USD is at 1.10
- (Meaning that £1 equals $1.10 USD)
- Sept. 25th it hit a low, the Pound to USD was at 1.04
With the Pound being so volatile, it’s hard to know where it will settle in the next couple of months, but now is a great time to go luxury shopping in the UK before they raise their prices to adjust for the falling Pound.
Shopping Price difference between US and London
With the pound falling at a rapid pace, let’s take a look at an example and let’s explore if it’s cheaper yet to go shopping in London, UK vs NYC, USA. Keep in mind, this example doesn’t include London’s New Tax Free Shopping since we don’t know the exact amount yet!
For this example, let’s compare a Fendi Peek-A-Boo Mini Bag Price as of Sept 2022:
As you can see from this example, the Fendi Peek-a-Boo mini is roughly $1,300 Cheaper in the UK vs the US. Once the new TAX Refund amount is announced, I will update this table
Recap on London's New Tax Free Shopping for International Shoppers
Well, this was a turn of events I didn’t see coming! In a good way, of course! In my opinion, this is a huge, huge win for London! London was one of the more expensive places to go luxury shopping, and with them reintroducing tax free shopping for international shoppers, this could really change the game. Couple the tax-free shopping with the rate the Pound is dropping, only time will tell if Luxury shopping in London will become the cheapest place to shop in the EU to pick up your favorite luxury goods. Are you just excited about the New London Tax Free Shopping as I am?!
Sincerely Petite in Paris,