END OF TAX FREE SHOPPING IN THE UK. Find out more what this means for merchants and partners.


The Global Blue FAQ section should answer most of your questions about our company & services. If you cannot find the answer here, please send us an email via the Contact us form.

Tax Free Shopping - After the 31st December 2020

The current VAT Retail Export Scheme ends on the 31 December 2020 at 11pm for all eligible customers.


Yes, providing that the customer is eligible for Tax free Shopping retailers can continue to issue forms on goods sold up to and including the 31 December 2020.


Yes, so long as the date of sale is on or before the 31 December 2020, customers still have the normal ‘month of sale, plus 3 months’ period to export their goods. A customer would have until the 31 March 2021 to export goods purchased in December 2020.


Yes, you can, but only if the goods were bought on or before the 31 December 2020 and if a dated sales receipt was issued against the goods. Tax Free forms can be issued up until the 31 March 2021 only for purchases with receipts made on or before 31 December 2020.


Yes, provided that the original Tax Free shopping form has not been refunded, a new Tax Free form can be issued for the remaining items up until the 31 March 2021 (provided the original sale was before the end of 2020).


Yes, providing that the goods have been bought before the 1 of January 2021 and that the goods are exported to outside the EU by the end of March.


EU Customs will continue to stamp UK issued forms up to the end of March 2021 providing that the goods were sold before the 1 January 2021.


Yes, customers will be able to get immediate refunds up to the end of March at Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester airports.
For all other UK departure points, customers should deposit their completed Tax Free forms into the Customs Drop-Box and await a credit card refund.


Yes, customers will be able to get refunds up to the end of March where facilities are available. For details, please ask customers to visit the applicable Tax Free agent’s website.


Tax Free shopping is expected be made available for goods purchased in the UK and sent directly to overseas addresses, including the EU. Further communication on how this will work is expected to be published by HMRC.


Tax Free Shopping

The Tax Free Form is valid for three months plus the month of purchase.

A Tax Free Form that has been validated by customs has no time limit.

Globe shoppers can receive their refunds in the way that is most convenient for them at more than 600 Refund Offices around the world, located at international airports, border crossings and in city centres.

Cash refunds are paid immediately (depending on each country’s limit).

Refunds processed at a Refund Office and paid to a credit card take five working days.                                                                                                                                                                                  For refund forms sent to Global Blue the following applies:

1. Three weeks from receipt of Tax Free Form for refunds paid to a credit card, bank account or bank cheque.

2. Ten calendar days for refunds to an Alipay account (Chinese customers only).

We would be glad to equip you with the issuing solution best adapted to your business. Please fill in the contact form and we will get back to you.

Go to the Refund Tracker on the Tools and Support page. You will need to provide the identity of the Tax Free Form (DOC ID), which can be found under the barcode on the form, and the country of purchase. For this reason, we recommend that you keep a photocopy of the Tax Free Form, or a note of its ID. Once you enter this information, the Refund Tracker will give you updated information about the transaction’s payment status. The Refund Tracker does not cover refunds paid in cash.

Go to the Documents Archive page in the Tools and Support section and follow the instructions. You will get access to details of all tax free transactions connected to a specific invoice.

The easiest way to introduce new members of your team to Global Blue services is the Global Blue Online Academy, our e-learning tool. Get in touch with us if you don’t already have an access code, and we will provide you with access to this online learning platform, which is available 24 hours a day. At the end of each tutorial section, your new team members will be certified, for their own benefit and so you can monitor their understanding of the services and how to offer them.

This is very simple; go to the Tools and Support section and click on Invoice Copy Request. We will ask you to identify yourself, and we will then send the invoice.

You can use our webshop, where you can order the material you need for free. Click Order Material in the Tools and Support section.

Globe shoppers can get their refund before leaving the country in our downtown (city centre) Refund Offices. They will get their money back before having their Tax Free Form stamped by customs. This allows them to spend more during their holidays. However, they still need to get the Tax Free Form stamped by customs on their departure and send it back to us. Otherwise we will take back the refund amount from their credit card, plus a fee.

First of all, make sure that the Global Blue Tax Free Shopping service is clearly signed in your shop windows and in your store, as tax free savings can incentivise spending.

Secondly, ensure your staff use tax free saving in their sales conversations with customers. The saving for the globe shopper comes free of charge for you.

And thirdly, there are a number of marketing opportunities that Global Blue can offer, to help you develop your business with globe shoppers. Get in touch and our account managers will be able to discuss this in more detail.


A number of countries offer VAT/GST refunds to international visitors (globe shoppers) who purchase goods during their stay and then export these goods in their personal baggage.


A tax free shopping service such as that offered by Global Blue helps globe shoppers, merchants and local governments with the administrative process of issuing and claiming VAT/GST refunds.

Global Blue offers VAT/GST refunds in 39 countries including Argentina, Austria, the Bahamas, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece,  Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Morocco, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Northern Ireland and Uruguay.

Global Blue Tax Free Shopping applies to goods that are bought at affiliated stores and exported in the globe shopper’s luggage. Such goods include fashion and clothing, watches and jewellery, leather goods and accessories, and personal electronics. Bills for services such as hotel stays, restaurants and car hire are not eligible for tax refunds, in accordance with tax legislation. To know more about the goods eligible for tax refunds, please visit our page: Helping Your Traveller - Refund Rules.

Globe shoppers need to look for the Global Blue Tax Free logo in the shop window, or ask staff in the store for information. Globe shoppers can also use the store locator on the Global Blue website. They can also download the Global Blue app to find out which stores offer Global Blue’s tax free services with just a few clicks.

Yes, there is a minimum spend. The minimum value in the UK is £30.This is subject to national rules and the amounts differ between countries and even between stores. To get more details, visit the following two pages on our website: Helping Your Traveller - Refund Rules and Tax Refund Process.

Duty-free or tax free offers in airports and in-flight are not normally part of our service, although, due to differences in local legislation, in certain airports our services are provided (for example, Geneva). These shops display our Global Blue Tax Free logo.

Yes, it is obligatory to obtain export validation. To obtain a refund on purchased goods, globe shoppers have to prove exportation with a customs stamp on their Tax Free Form. Globe shoppers need to show their passport, purchases, receipts and Tax Free Form(s) to customs officials before leaving the country, and have their Tax Free Form(s) stamped.  There are also some Europe-specific rules. When travelling within the EU, globe shoppers need to show their purchases and documents to customs officials in the last EU country they visit before leaving Europe. When leaving by train, road or sea, globe shoppers need to show their purchases and documents to customs officials at the border or when boarding their exit transport.

Global Blue takes care of the entire process, so there is no need for the globe shopper to commit any time resources. We take care of the paperwork, the authority regulations and the payment.

Refunds can be paid at any time from any of Global Blue’s 600 Refund Offices around the world. All the globe shopper needs to do at the airport is to get an export validation from a customs official when they leave the country or the European Union. Globe shoppers can then mail the Tax Free Form back to Global Blue and receive the refund on their credit card or through a bank cheque.

Global Blue offers a wide range of refund options:

 1. Refund in cash or to a credit card at one of the Refund Offices located at major airports, or by sending the completed Tax Free Form to Global Blue

 2. Refund to credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Amex, Diners Club, JCB and UnionPay)

 3. Refund to a bank account:

  - To a euro bank account held in the eurozone for Tax Free Forms issued in the eurozone

  - To a bank account held in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland or the UK (please note that the country of purchase and the country where the bank account is held must match)

 4. Refund to Alipay – ZhiFuBao (available for Chinese customers)

 5. Refund by bank cheque sent to the globe shopper’s home address

Global Blue cannot refund to debit cards.

Global Blue can make a direct bank transfer to bank accounts in the following countries: Denmark, the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, France, Norway (information necessary: account number, bank code and name of the account holder).

Global Blue can issue bank cheques in the following currencies: Canadian dollar, Swiss franc, euro, pound sterling, Hong Kong dollar, yen, US dollar.

Yes. The individual would need to complete all the tax-refund paperwork themselves and liaise with the authorities in order to obtain the tax refund.

Currently tax free shopping only applies to goods that are bought at an affiliated retailer and exported in personal luggage.

A  cash refund will be paid in the currency of the country where the Refund Office is located. Alternatively, other currencies can be requested, and the current ‘we buy’ rate of a bureau de change at the same location will be applied for the currency conversion.

The amount is calculated based on the amount spent, the country VAT rate and the service fee applied by Global Blue for the purchase.

You can calculate the tax refund yourself using Global Blue’s online express tax refund calculator, which is located on the Tools and Support home page.

Global Blue takes data security very seriously. We have a dedicated security organisation and an ongoing programme to ensure that customer information is protected. We routinely monitor our network defences and limit system access to a strict minimum of Global Blue employees. We only collect and store personal data in accordance with the terms and conditions outlined on our Tax Free Forms and customer registration pages.

No, this is a free service for merchants. Global Blue takes a commission from the VAT refunded to the globe shopper.


The Global Blue Academy trains merchants on how best to engage with and sell to globe shoppers. Our courses cover everything from cultural understanding and insights into when and where different nationalities shop to practical information on how to sell profit-generating products such as Tax Free Shopping and Currency Choice. We provide both face-to-face and online training.

Printing Solutions

1. All refund calculations and traveller details can be filled in automatically.

2. Quickly and correctly printed Tax Free Forms.

3. Secure administration of your tax free sales.

4. Better, faster and more efficient service to your globe shoppers.

5. Enhanced service can provide increased sales.

6. Transaction reports available.

We always consider the best issuing solution for your business. Please get in touch with us via the contact form in the Tools and Support section and we will respond ASAP for an assessment.

About Global Blue

Global Blue is headquartered in Eysins, close to Geneva, in Switzerland.

We operate in 51 countries across the globe.

There are more than 300,000 Global-Blue affiliated merchants.

Global Blue employs over 1,800 people on five continents.

Every year more than 30 million Tax Free Forms are refunded (April 2015 to March 2016 data).

Global Blue works with over 20 different banks and financial institutions.

A globe shopper is someone who regards shopping as a fundamental part of their travel experience.

Currency Choice

Currency Choice is Global Blue’s dynamic currency conversion service, offered at the point of sale, ATMs and online. It allows globe shoppers to pay in their home currency, instead of the local currency, at the point of sale (POS). With Currency Choice, globe shoppers get to see the price of their purchases in their own currency. Our service for merchants works in both physical POS and online e-Commerce environments. It also works on ATM channels for acquirers.

Encourage your staff to ask every eligible customer: ‘Would you like to pay in euros, dollars … ?’

Make sure you display the Best Rate card in a prominent place close to the till or reception counter. The Best Rate Guarantee ensures that your customer will always get the best rate; they will be reimbursed the difference if they get a better rate from their own bank.

Terms and conditions apply.

No, globe shoppers always have a choice. They see the price in both the local and their home currency. To use their own currency, they simply accept to be debited in their own currency and sign the credit card slip.  If they don’t accept the converted amount in their home currency, they proceed with letting their bank do the conversion and pay in the local currency. The effective exchange rate is then applied by the card issuer and the converted amount will appear on the card statement.

Currency Choice offers globe shoppers total peace of mind and the comfort of staying in control of their budget in a currency they know and understand, with a best rate guaranteed. Retail and hotel frontline staff can ensure customers feel comfortable and safe with their spending at all times. Furthermore, the service grants you, the merchant, a commission on each transaction. We also offer training to ensure all sales staff know how to process Currency Choice transactions correctly and we supply merchants with a range of point of sale collateral to help them feel confident about offering the service to every eligible globe shopper. Currency Choice is partnered with the strongest banks across 14 different countries and is trusted by nearly 70,000 merchants worldwide, providing another tool to attract globe shoppers.

Globe shoppers who pay for goods or services using Visa or MasterCard. Our service is compliant with Visa and MasterCard credit card schemes, allowing merchants to offer the clarity and control of DCC to millions of globe shoppers.

The Currency Choice Best Rate Guarantee enables the globe shopper to receive the best available exchange rate at the time of purchase. They are offered a refund of the difference if they would have received a better exchange rate from their bank when paying for goods or services in the same country, on the same day, with the same card. To find out more about Currency Choice Best Rate Guarantee, travellers can contact our customer service team for the terms and conditions as well as a claim form.

At present Currency Choice is available in  Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, China, Cook Islands. Czech Republic, Fiji,  France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Papua N. Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan (China), Thailand, the UAE, the UK and the Western Samoa.

Globe shoppers need to look for our Global Blue Currency Choice sign in the shop window or at the front desk, or ask the staff in the store or at the hotel for help and information.

Global Blue Card

The SHOP TAX FREE card allows globe shoppers to claim their tax savings without having to fill in Tax Free Forms. With a swipe of the card, all the globe shopper’s details are automatically filled in on the Tax Free Form.

The SHOP TAX FREE card makes the issuing of a Tax Free Form a lot quicker and easier as the globe shopper’s personal details are automatically filled in for them. It also reduces the risk of Tax Free Forms being completed incorrectly, meaning your globe shopper is more likely to receive their refund.

If you are not sure whether your Global Blue solution accepts SHOP TAX FREE cards, complete the form and we will contact you.

If you are still filling out paper Tax Free Forms by hand, then it is time to upgrade to an automated printing solution. In many cases, this can be done free of charge, or at minimal cost. Find out more.

It can be as easy as getting your own user name and password for a web application. The only other prerequisites are a permanent internet connection and an A4 printer. Complete the form and one of our representatives will be in touch.

If you already have a PC with an internet connection and an A4 printer there are no additional costs. Terminals may incur a fee from your telecom or internet provider. Global Blue will supply you with the software for free; all point-of-sale promotional signage is included.

You can enrol for your own SHOP TAX FREE card in the Traveller section of the website.

It’s free to enrol and will save you time and money when you shop abroad, as well as helping you to understand your customers’ Tax Free Shopping experience.

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