Refunds for non-EU businesses visiting the UK

Did you know that if you travelled in the UK for business purposes, you are entitled to receive back up to 20% of your expenses? You can see bellow some information on what you need to have in mind when you decide to apply.


VAT is payable on most goods and services you buy in the UK. The VAT refund scheme can be used to reclaim VAT if you are registered as a business in a non-EU country and bought the goods or services to use in your business.


You can use the scheme if all of the following apply:

  • you’re registered as a business in a non-EU country
  • you’re not VAT-registered in the UK and you don’t have to be, or can’t be, VAT-registered here
  • you don’t have a place of business or other residence in the UK
  • you don’t make any supplies in the UK, apart from:
    • transport services related to the international carriage of goods
    • goods and services where the person you’re supplying pays VAT on them

What can be reclaimed

You can reclaim VAT for most goods and services bought in the UK for your business including:

  • accommodation and meals
  • trade fairs
  • travel costs
  • 50% of the VAT charged for hiring or leasing a car
  • other goods and services you buy and use in the UK

What can’t be reclaimed

VAT can’t be reclaimed on the cost of buying a car, or for goods and services:

  • bought for resale
  • used for business entertainment
  • used for non-business activities

Time limits

You must claim your refund no later than 6 months after the end of the ‘prescribed year’ when you were charged the VAT. The prescribed year runs from 1 July to 30 June, so you must make a claim by 31 December. If you miss the deadline, you won’t be able to make a claim for that year.

Your claim can’t be for a period of:

  • more than the prescribed year
  • less than 3 months – unless that’s all that’s left of the prescribed year

Claim limits

There is no maximum limit.

The minimum limits for UK claims are:

  • £130 for claims for period between 3 and 12 calendar months
  • £16 for claims for a whole calendar year, or the remainder of a calendar year if this is less than 3 months

You can include items missed on earlier claims but they must relate to VAT charged in the calendar year of the claim.


HMRC normally pay any refund due within 6 months of receiving your claim, unless more information is needed. Your original invoices will be returned to you when your claim has been approved.

The deadline (December 31, 2016) is fast approaching and you should get in touch with a member of Level’s VAT team to receive assistance with your UK VAT refund.

Level contact 


Direct: +971 2 671 0033