Brits can buy duty-free alcohol and tobacco products in ports, airports and international train stations, and also on ships, planes and trains, as the UK approach to the EU falls in line with the rest of the world. Ministers said the move follows a consultation with industry on the Government’s approach to taxing goods carried across borders for personal use as the end of the Brexit transition period brings with it powers to set its own rules.
The amount passengers can bring back with them from non-EU countries will also be significantly increased, and extended to EU countries, providing one of the most generous allowances anywhere in the world.
It means passengers coming to Britain can bring back three crates of beer, two cases of wine and one case of sparkling wine without paying UK duties.
UK excise duty will no longer be due on alcohol and tobacco bought when leaving the country so British travellers could save up to £2.23 on a bottle of wine, £2.86 on a bottle of Champagne or Prosecco, £2.28 on a six-pack of beer and £11.50 on a bottle of spirits.
The new rules also bring an end to VAT refunds for overseas visitors in British shops.
Foreign visitors will still be able to buy items VAT-free in-store and have them sent direct to their overseas addresses but the costly system of claiming VAT refunds on items they take home in their luggage will be ended.
François Bourienne, Chairman of the UK Travel Retail Forum said: “The UKTRF welcomes the conclusion of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the UK and the EU.
“The full effects and consequences of the deal will not be understood for some time yet but the text now offers travel retailers a degree of certainty regarding movement of goods and passengers for 2021.”
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The return of duty free shopping between the UK and EU has been welcomed by the travel retail industry as it looks to recover from the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on international air travel.
Mr Bourienne said: “A full duty and VAT free system would be not only a tremendous support to all airports and ports looking to recover from the worst of 2020 but is also a Brexit-generated opportunity that the UK can seize immediately.”
Now the UK has left the EU the rules on personal allowances have changed to comply with the Brexit trade deal.
He continued: “You will also be able to bring in four litres of spirits or nine litres of sparkling wine which basically means a case of champagne.
“You will then be able to bring in two cases, so that is 24 bottles or 18 litres, of still wine which will be handy for people who like to stock up in France before they come back.
“And you are also allowed to bring in 42 litres of beer which is surprising but there we are.
“They are called some of the most generous limits in the world.”