High street retailers face backlash at airport shops after revelations that they pocket VAT discounts for passengers from outside EU

'Shame on you Dixons, Boots & WH Smith. No money purchases from me or my company'

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The Independent Online

High street retailers were facing a backlash at their airport shops over the weekend, following revelations in the Independent that they were pocketing the VAT discounts for passengers for outside the EU.

It was revealed that passengers are not told that when they are asked to show their boarding card, this is not a legal requirement, but merely allows retailers to know which passengers don’t have to pay VAT, so they can keep the 20 per cent savings. 

One passenger, Stephen Bray, a managing director, tweeted: “Shame on you Dixons, Boots & WH Smith. No money purchases from me or my company.” Another, writer Sheenagh Pugh, said: When an airport Boots ask you to find your boarding pass, remember you don’t have to.”

A Boots spokesman said: “We are claiming back VAT on a proportion of purchases made by customers flying to non-EU destinations in accordance with current VAT rules set by the HMRC. However, showing a boarding card is not compulsory.”

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