Guide for Submitting evidence

There has been no official call for evidence on the impact of the ending of tax-free shopping and so the Treasury has not provides any guidelines for submissions. 

We have therefore produced this guide and checked it with Treasury officials before issuing it.

 1.  What is the objective?

  • To show the Government the impact of its decision to end tax-free shopping for non-EU visitors to the UK on British businesses.

 2.  Who should response?

  • Retailers affected by the removal of tax-free shopping
  • Other businesses affected by the ending of tax-free shopping – e.g. airports, hotels, restaurants, leisure and  cultural institutions.
  • Trade associations, business organisations, and BIDs

 3.  What evidence is the Government Looking for?

  • The Government is seeking evidence on two broad issues - 
    • the impact of ending tax-free shopping on your business – how the behaviour of international visitors has changed, both in terms of visitor numbers and spending levels
    • That this change is due to the ending of tax-free shopping.

 4.  How should you draft your submission?

  • Keep your response to around one or two pages. You can add detailed data as appendices if you wish. 
  • Give a short overview of your business and why tax-free shopping is important to it. 
  • Outline your experience of the impact of the ending of tax-free shopping on the behaviour of non-EU international visitors since travel resumed after COVID-19. This could be direct impact retailing to shops --- e.g. visitor numbers and levels of retail sales --- or indirect impact, such as spending and length of stay in hotels or spending in restaurants.
  • Information regarding visitors from the USA and GCC states is particularly helpful. Reports of Chinese visitor behaviour are also important, although they are only just starting to travel again.
  • Use relevant data to support your claim. You do not necessarily need to provide actual sales data.  You could report on the level of sales to non-EU international visitors compared with 2019, or with your expectations.
  • If possible, make a comparison between your UK performance and that of similar businesses in France, Spain and Italy. It is important to show how Britain is performing, with no tax-free shopping, compared with our European competitors.
  • You can also provide anecdotal evidence of specific incidences to illustrate behaviour change as well as anything else you think demonstrates change in the behaviour of non-EU international visitors.
  • You need to explain why you believe that any changes you have reported are a result of ending tax-free shopping rather than any other factor.
  • Add a contact name and details at the end of your evidence.

 5.  How can you keep your information confidential?

  • The Government is used to receiving information that is commercially confidential.  If you wish your evidence to be confidential please make this clear at the start of the evidence

 6.  How should you submit 

 7.  What is the deadline for submissions?

  • There is no formal deadline for submissions.  
  • To support the Common debate, please try to make the submission by the end of August, which would leave one week for putting together information and analysis.

 8.  Who else I should tell?

  • The Association of International Retail (AIR) is coordinating the evidence response.  Please send a copy of your evidence to Paul Barnes,
    • AIR will not use or share your evidence without your permission.
    • If you do not wish to share your evidence, please just let AIR know that you have made a submission.
  • You can also send a copy of your evidence to your local MP, to raise awareness and increase pressure on the Government to reinstate tax-free shopping.  You can use your postcode to find your MP’s email address here.

 9.  How do I find out more?

  • If you have any questions contact