HMRC recently published an update on its project to digitise the VAT Retail Export Scheme (RES), which is intended to improve efficiency for both retailers and travellers, and also help reduce fraud.

Subject to certain conditions, the RES allows travellers who are not established in the EU to receive a refund of VAT paid on goods exported to destinations outside the EU and retailers to zero-rate goods sold to entitled customers when they have the necessary evidence of export and have refunded the VAT to the customer (details are set out in VAT Notice 704).

The update sets out the actions HMRC have taken to date and proposed changes to the process. HMRC is now seeking suggestions from businesses that operate the RES as to how procedures can be improved to best fit with digitisation. Suggestions should be sent to resconsultation.idt@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.

A copy of the update note is available to view here.