Briefing: changes to duty free shopping in January 2021


  • The government announced in September 2020 that from January 2021, duty free purchases will be extended to British passengers travelling to EU countries.

  • However, tax-free sales in airports of some goods – such as electronics and clothing – will end for passengers travelling to non-EU countries. Such a change could mean that the UK is the only country in Europe not offering tax-free shopping.[1]

  • If this change is implemented at the end of the transition period, this could cost UK residents who fly to non-EU countries an extra £12.1 million in tax each year.

  • The impact of the change could also lower UK GDP by over £2 billion and lead to 19,400 job losses.[2]


Click here to read the briefing in full.



[1] Shepard, R., Analysis: What could the end of duty-free mean for retail?, Retail Week, 12 October 2020,, (accessed 14 October 2020). 

[2] Pentol, A., Ending tax free sales to ‘cost UK economy £2.1bn in GDP’, says report, TRBusiness, 28 September 2020,, (accessed 14 October 2020).

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