Save money and doing business abroad, be it travelling, importing or exporting, you will run into a variety of different taxes, but also many opportunities to save money. Unfortunately, these opportunities are rarely laid out clearly and, as a result, too few business owners take advantage of them. But there’s no need ever for you to fall into that trap…

  1. Keep your invoices and receipts
  2. Look for shops that are part of a VAT reclaim scheme (there is usually a sign in the window or by the cash register) the VAT can be claimed at the port of exit (air, sea terminal).  This also relates to personal items.
  3. Use your negotiating skills, some countries like a good haggle over the price
  4. VAT on true business expenses can be claimed from the tax authority of the host country after returning to the UK.
  5. If you are UK VAT registered and visit a country in the EU, your purchase of goods will be free of VAT if shipped by the seller. You will have to account for VAT in the UK under the normal VAT rules for cross border transactions.
  6. The same applies to most services unless relating to land, accommodation or meals.
  7. Is the purchase price really a bargain, if personal items then VAT and possibly duty is payable on entry into the UK (subject to the duty free allowance)
  8. If you have purchased stock abroad VAT then very likely duty is payable on entry into the UK but if purchased from Asia, India, China etc there may also be anti dumping duty all levied on top of the cost of the goods and shipping costs.
  9. Do some research of the products that you wish to purchase.  Look at the list of countries that the UK have trade agreements with. It may be cheaper to buy from another country than the one you propose to visit because duty levied on import may be less or nil.
  10. Do not try to smuggle goods into the UK, the court fees and embarrassment when getting court is not worth it.  I know…….. I inadvertently brought it two pouches of tobacco instead of one (deal at airport). I was carrying a large saucepan that I had brought abroad and was asked to open the box in case I had more contraband stashed inside.  It was full of chocolate. I was reminded of the limits for tobacco but let off as I had no other purchased goods and the chocolate was below the personal goods limit.

Click this link to Direct Gov website will advise you about current limits

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