Can You Buy Tax-Free Goods From John Lewis?

If you are wondering whether or not you can buy tax-free goods from John Lewis stores, you will find the answer to your question in the following blog post, In addition to this, you will also find detailed guidance on the eligibility criteria for claiming tax-free purchases in the UK.

Can You Buy Tax-Free Goods From John Lewis?

Yes, you can buy tax-free or VAT-free goods from John Lewis only if you meet the following conditions:

  • you are working for the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office 
  • you are a resident of the Channel Islands and entitled to a VAT refund
  • you qualify for a medical VAT refund

If you meet these qualifying criteria, you will be able to buy tax-free goods from any of the John Lewis stores in the UK as well as their website.

Goods that be purchased tax-free from John Lewis stores by qualifying customers include the following:

  • Clothing
  • Electronics
  • Homewares
  • Furniture
  • Toys
  • Books
  • Food and drink

Purchase of tax-free goods by claiming a VAT refund was very common across John Lewis stores (as well as a host of other retailers) for tourists until the UK Government made certain legislative changes in 2021. This brought an end to tax-free shopping for tourists in the UK.

Does John Lewis Plan To Offer Tax-Free Goods In The Future?

Whether or not John Lewis is able to or plans to offer tax-free goods in the future, depends on the UK Government’s legislation. According to the mini-budget announced in 2022, the UK Government aims to bring back tax-free shopping by allowing a 20% VAT refund to tourists. 

When this legislation comes into place, John Lewis (among other retailers) will be able to offer tax-free shopping to non-UK resident customers who can then save money on the VAT (value-added tax) that is normally added to the sales price of goods; as long as they meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • not be a non-UK resident
  • plan to leave the UK within 3 months of buying the goods
  • should be purchasing goods for personal use, not for commercial reasons

Can You Buy Tax-Free Goods From Other Retailers?

Yes, you may be able to buy tax-free goods (or claim a VAT refund on your purchase) from other retailers in the UK. However, there are certain conditions to be met, such as:

  • if you are making a purchase in England, Wales or Scotland, the goods must be delivered to an address outside the UK
  • if you are in Northern Ireland the goods must be delivered to an address outside the UK and the EU

How Much Can You Save on Tax-Free Goods?

How much you save on tax-free goods depends on the value of the goods you buy. The standard rate of VAT in the UK is 20%; which is included in the selling price of goods. Therefore, you can save 20% on the price of goods if you are eligible for making tax-free purchases.

Disabled individuals who need to purchase goods designed to meet their disability needs can claim a VAT exemption and get a 20% reduction on the price of goods they buy.

Similarly, if you are installing energy-saving products in your home, you may be able to get a discount on the usual VAT charges of 20% and be required to pay only 5% or sometimes 0% VAT in such cases.


According to a recent article, the UK expects a tourist market of nearly 440 million and aims to serve them and support their retailers by reintroducing the 20% VAT refund and making purchases by tourists tax-free. Until this legislation is completely in effect, John Lewis will not be able to offer tax-free goods on their own.


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