Originally Posted by J.P. Myhre
Do you really have to pay local british VAT within the union? According to my knowledge export is export and the goods are sold without VAT.
Within the European Union, VAT is always included in the retail price charged to the end-consumer (but usually not in the wholesale trade-price). Rates do vary from country to country (Germany: 16%; UK: 17.5%; Sweden: 25%). VAT paid in one country is regarded as being paid in every other county of the Union. If you buy in Sweden you pay the Swedish rate, even when you take the article back to Germany, you cannot get the Swedish tax back; hoping to save by paying the German rate. Equally it works the other way round; if you buy in a low VAT country you save money to take it back to your high tax country.
Only residents from outside the European Union can claim the tax back. For goods bought in a shop and taken by the buyer, they have to demonstrate through a customs-stamped form, that the goods have left the EU. If the goods are to be sent by the retailer to an address outside the EU, the dealer can take the VAT off. But again, only to addresses outside of the EU. The buyer has to pay the necessary customs charges in his home country (or if he takes the goods in the hand luggage, he might conveniently "˜forget' about it.)