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Will a no deal Brexit affect duty-free?

In the event of a no deal Brexit some rules will temporarily change when you bring goods for your own use from the EU to the UK. But don't worry, you will continue to pay tax and duties where you bought them, and can bring back an unlimited amount of most goods (including alcohol and tobacco). You can still use your duty-free allowance (which means you can bring in a certain amount of goods for your own use from outside the European Union without paying duty or tax). You can also claim a refund of the VAT you paid where you bought the goods, according to the UK Government website. Please note: this does not apply to bringing goods from Ireland to Northern Ireland.

If you claim a VAT refund in another country then you'll have to pay import VAT on the goods when you arrive in the UK. You may also have to pay excise and customs duty on the full value of the goods (if they are above the excise and customs duty allowances). After Brexit has been finalised, the excise and customs duty allowances will be the same as the allowances for bringing back goods from non-EU countries, and you will be able to declare goods online.

Duty-free and buying goods from the European Union

You don't currently pay extra duty or tax on goods from the European Union. As an independent traveller, there are no limits on what you can take with you when traversing EU countries, provided the products you are taking with you are not for resale. The taxes on the products you've purchased will have been applied in the country where you brought it, and you'll not be subjected to any further payments.

As we're currently in the process of leaving the European Union, it's understandable to want to know what will happen to how products are taxed in the event of a no-deal Brexit. It's likely that you'll also want to understand how Brexit will affect UK business travellers, who will have personal expenses or just travelling costs in general.

Brexit and Duty-Free

What is duty-free?

Duty-free is a great opportunity to purchase products without the country's government duties or taxes being paid on them. Duties and taxes would usually be charged if you bought these products in a regional store outside of the airport. However, it's not just airports where you'll find duty-free products: you can buy them while in the air, cruise ships and port cities.

To benefit from duty-free you must be leaving the country and these items will be sold according to permitted customs limits. You'll also likely find a Duty-Free shop upon your return to a country.

Will there be duty-free after Brexit?

As it stands, there is no duty-free shopping on trips between the UK and EU countries and currently, the UK Government has no plans to reintroduce it after brexit. However, duty and tax are vast drivers of trade between countries, so you'll need to wait to see if we reach a formal agreement or a no-deal Brexit to find out what will happen next.

British citizens are currently able to move alcohol, oils and tobacco (among other goods) between the UK and the rest of the European Union without having to pay excise duty taxes on those goods at the UK border.

Holiday Extras Brexit Disruption Cover

We want to ensure that no matter where and when you're travelling, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, you can have enhanced protection. That's where Holiday Extras Brexit Disruption Cover comes in.

Brexit Disruption Cover is available as an add-on to your travel insurance policy. To book, simply complete your initial travel insurance booking and select Brexit Disruption Cover from the list of optional add-ons. Alternatively, if you'd prefer to speak to someone, call our Kent-based call centre on 0800 316 0104, and one of our agents can talk you through the process. For a complete rundown, visit our Brexit Disruption cover page.

All information correct as of November 2019. Sources include the UK Government website and The Eurotunnel Website.


If you found this guide on duty post-Brexit free useful, then check out a few of our other top Brexit guides for further helpful information.


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