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Airside customs inspection [VAT Refund Desk] - terminal 5

Airside customs inspection [VAT Refund Desk] - terminal 5

Old Aug 20, 19, 12:16 am
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Airside customs inspection [VAT Refund Desk] - terminal 5

Terminal 5 experts - I need your assistance. I purchased something that qualified for VAT refund in Bologna. The Customs office in BLQ opens after flight boards. Is there a customs inspection of goods office airside at terminal 5 or am I out of luck? I probably have enough time to exit and return if absolutely necessary (ca. 4 hours), but prefer to not do that.

And based on the length of line Iíve seen in the past (airside), Iím not sure Iím up for the wait.

Many thanks,

lala
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Old Aug 20, 19, 12:19 am
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If you want Italian vat refunded and are leaving the EU from Italy (I donít believe transits count) I may be wrong but believe you need this done in italy.

Last edited by orbitmic; Aug 20, 19 at 1:08 am
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Old Aug 20, 19, 12:50 am
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Originally Posted by lalala View Post
Terminal 5 experts - I need your assistance. I purchased something that qualified for VAT refund in Bologna. The Customs office in BLQ opens after flight boards. Is there a customs inspection of goods office airside at terminal 5 or am I out of luck? I probably have enough time to exit and return if absolutely necessary (ca. 4 hours), but prefer to not do that.
You are required to claim VAT at the point of exiting the EU as items must be taken outside of the EU rather than a member country, so doing it at LHR is your only option anyway, There used to be a customs office at LHR T5 next to South Security (opposite the Plane Food restaurant), but I am not sure if it's there (I think there must be an airside one anyway even if at a different location). I am not sure you'll be able to collect cash at LHR (so, I'd opt to receive the refund to a credit card and mail in the forms).

Last edited by Andriyko; Aug 20, 19 at 1:59 am Reason: Spelling
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Old Aug 20, 19, 1:02 am
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The airside Vat refund office at T5 used to be between South security and boots on the mezzanine level. Now, IIRC, it's in a corridor behind the duty free alcohol on the lower level.

And, if you can, then take the refund as a credit to a credit or debit card, otherwise Travelex will take a further cut from your refund as an administration charge for giving you cash.
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Old Aug 20, 19, 1:20 am
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Thanks. I found an older thread that confirmed the existence of the office. I will be requesting my refund back to my card as well. I never understood the need for immediate Cashback if they take a further cut. Hoping the lounge has some cello tape as the the envelope looks like the dog chewed it.

I do wonder how this will be handled post-brexit.
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Old Aug 20, 19, 1:27 am
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Originally Posted by lalala View Post
I do wonder how this will be handled post-brexit.
Very simple (in this case) - you would have to claim in Italy as the UK would no longer participate in the scheme.
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Old Aug 20, 19, 2:18 am
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Originally Posted by Andriyko View Post
You are required to claim VAT at the point of exiting the EU as items must be taken outside of the EU rather than a member country, so doing it at LHR is your only option anyway, There used to be a customs office at LHR T5 next to South Security (opposite the Plane Food restaurant), but I am not sure if it's there (I think there must be an airside one anyway even if at a different location). I am not sure you'll be able to collect cash at LHR (so, I'd opt to receive the refund to a credit card and mail in the forms).
Can you reclaim Italian VAT in the UK? (I didn't know you could)
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Old Aug 20, 19, 2:19 am
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Cool

Originally Posted by Swanhunter View Post


Very simple (in this case) - you would have to claim in Italy as the UK would no longer participate in the scheme.
The scheme of the European Union?
In case of Brexit you would exit the EU in Bologna.
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Old Aug 20, 19, 2:20 am
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The Customs office in BLQ opens after flight boards
Why do you think this is? Italy is not keen pay back VAT, hence, it is making it very difficult to claim back the VAT.
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Old Aug 20, 19, 2:29 am
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There are several VAT Refund Desks at BLQ. The airside Travelex Desk at BLQ opens at 05:30. It is located next to gate 15. Is this a viable option?
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Old Aug 20, 19, 2:30 am
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Originally Posted by BAAZ View Post
Can you reclaim Italian VAT in the UK? (I didn't know you could)
It is not really 'reclaiming Italian VAT in the UK,' though. The VAT form that you are given at an Italian store needs to be stamped by the customs when exiting the EU. If you happen to exit the EU from the UK then your form will be stamped by the UK customs to confirm that you are taking the goods outside of the EU. You then mail the form back to the address indicated and they will process the refund. I believe the refund is ultimately issued by the country where it was incurred (the administrating company claims it back), but the goods must be taken outside of the EU and it does not matter where it happens.
There are some global companies that process VAT and you may very well be able to receive a cash refund at LHR, but often these are local companies, and while the customs will stamp the form to confirm that you're leaving the EU it will not be possible to receive cash on the spot. I once claimed UK VAT, had the form stamped at TXL as that was last point in the EU, however, none of the VAT refund points at TXL worked with that UK company so I had to wait until I was back in the UK to receive cash.
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Old Aug 20, 19, 3:00 am
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Originally Posted by Prospero View Post
There are several VAT Refund Desks at BLQ. The airside Travelex Desk at BLQ opens at 05:30. It is located next to gate 15. Is this a viable option?
Those desks are for passengers who already had their VAT forms stamped by the customs and who want to receive cash. The OP's issue is that the customs office opens after their flight boards; but since they're not leaving the EU from BLQ it is not really a concern.
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Old Aug 20, 19, 5:00 am
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As the OP, let me give you an update -

There is indeed a HMS Customs office airside in Terminal 5. It is between Tiffany and Hermes, not marked. You may or may not need to visit -

If you have exceeded 20,000 GBP in purchases, then you need to go to the HMS Customs office and show your goods and get your forms stamped. I found this out after standing behind a family getting easily 30,000 GBP of goods inspected prior to submitting for tax refund.

If you have only have not exceeded 20,000 GBP in purchases or 250 Euros, proceed to the travelex office located between the LV and the Chanel (near the elevators that take you to the B and C gates), make sure all your forms are filled in correctly prior to entering the line, summon all your patience because the person in front of you will have 15 receipts and none have been filled out nor can they find all their merchandise. Much like HMS customs, they will request to see the goods, your receipt, your credit card (if you wish to have it credited to your card) and your passport and boarding card.

She took my form and told me that I would see a refund in 5 days. The amount of money due to me is the same as what the store told me I was to get back, so they didn't take any more money out for processing fees.

If you have a ton of stuff to claim, do this immediately after clearing security after transferring flights. My sense is that it becomes more of a cluster as the day progresses.

Thanks again for all your help.

lala
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Old Aug 20, 19, 5:58 am
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Originally Posted by lalala View Post
The amount of money due to me is the same as what the store told me I was to get back, so they didn't take any more money out for processing fees.
I know this is a little bit OT here but the amount of the refund already takes into account the processing fee (which is quite large). The additional fee for receiving the refund in cash is nominal (a few Euros of GBP).
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Old Aug 20, 19, 6:40 am
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Originally Posted by Andriyko View Post
I know this is a little bit OT here but the amount of the refund already takes into account the processing fee (which is quite large). The additional fee for receiving the refund in cash is nominal (a few Euros of GBP).
Very true, but happy no more was taken out.
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