VAT and GST payable on UK shopping over £390 from 1 January

ISLANDERS will pay a double whammy of both VAT and GST from the start of next year on any shopping they bring back from the UK worth more than £390 – unless they post it back.

Woman with shopping bags (29249503)
Woman with shopping bags (29249503)

Jersey residents will also no longer be able to buy VAT-free goods, such as clothes and electronics, when leaving UK airports or harbours, with a new regime introduced by the UK Treasury due to come into force on 1 January.

Previously, Islanders have been able to claim VAT refunds in UK stores by showing their passport and filling in a form, while in the ports presentation of a boarding pass would secure a discount from the tax on items. But the new rules mean that Jersey residents will not be able to claim back the sales tax, unless they arrange for the goods purchased to be delivered directly home.

And those who bring back shopping worth more than £390 through the Island’s ports will be charged the equivalent of GST, which is currently a 5% charge.

Duty-free shopping on alcohol and cigarettes will remain in place for Jersey passengers returning through UK ports.

A Government of Jersey spokesperson said: ‘The VAT Retail Export Scheme has historically allowed people from Jersey to purchase goods in-store in the UK, and reclaim the VAT on the purchase by presenting their passport and completing a form.

‘From January 2021, people from Jersey will no longer be able to do this. They will still be able to claim VAT refunds on items they buy in shops in the UK, but only when those items are sent directly to their address in Jersey.’

She added: ‘Where goods are sent through the post, the £135 GST de minimis allowance will apply from 1 October 2020.

‘Where goods are still imported in accompanied personal baggage, passengers will need to make arrangements to pay GST in Jersey where the total value of new goods, including VAT, exceeds £390.’

A spokeswoman for HMRC confirmed that the sale of VAT-free goods to Jersey passengers will also cease in the UK’s ports.

‘Goods like clothes and electronics are sold VAT-free in ports to overseas passengers and that will be ending. Jersey passengers are classed as overseas,’ she said.

She added, however, that the duty-free allowance for passengers travelling from Jersey to Britain would increase, meaning Islanders would be able to take more discounted alcohol and cigarettes with them to the UK.

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