Practical advice and useful addresses
95 How can I claim back
95 How can I claim back VAT?Tourists who purchase goods at shops participating in the Retail Export Scheme may apply for a refund if they intend to leave Britain for a final destination outside the European Union within three months of the date of purchase. Visitors should ascertain before making their purchase whether or not a refund will be available.
• At the time of the purchase the retailer will ask to see a passport to establish the customer’s eligibility for the refund scheme.
• Both parties should then complete the refund document provided by the retailer (form VAT 407 or a refund company voucher).
• The VAT form or refund voucher must be presented with the goods for certification by HM Customs and Excise when the customer departs from the European Union. Forms cannot be certified after departure from the EU.
• The certified form should then be sent to the retailer or funding company, and the claim will be processed and a refund cheque (in sterling) sent to the purchaser. Alternatively, the form may be handed in at the refunding company office at the airport for an immediate refund, if applicable.
• Any correspondence about non-receipt of funds should be sent
to the retailer or refunding company, not HM Customs and Excise or British Government Offices.
An information leaflet about claiming back VAT for overseas visitors may be obtained from:
To find out the frequencies for the BBC World Service write to:
All deaths must be registered in the country where death occurs. The
local police or the British Consul can give advice on how to do this. The
death may also be registered at the British Consulate, and by doing so a
British death certificate may be obtained. In certain countries British
Consulates cannot issue death certificates. These are Australia, Canada,
New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Any Post Office in Britain can advise on postage rates within Britain
or overseas. There are two postage rates in Britain - first class and
second class. First class postage should be used for letters requiring
delivery on the next working day. Second class should be used for items
that are not urgent - most second class letters are delivered within three
The British Council
The BTA has an offices in Tokyo. Click here for details.
The address is:
Buckingham Palace, London SW1A 1AA
Charities and voluntary organisations
Charities and voluntary organisations are listed in the Charities Digest, published annually by:
For details of voluntary organisations consult
The Voluntary Agencies Directory, published by:
Embassies and High Commissions
Embassies in London are listed in the Central London area
telephone directory, also in parliamentary guides such as the
PMS Parliamentary Companion.
These are listed in the telephone directory (Central London area) and in parliamentary guides such as the PMS Parliamentary Companion, or access all Government departments on the Government’s website:
Members of Parliament
MPs can be contacted by post at:
House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
Full details of MPs and their constituencies can be obtained from:
National newspapers are listed in the Willings Press Guide published by:
These are listed in parliamentary guides, or contact head offices. Conservative and Unionist Party:
Popular museums are listed in Museums and Galleries in Great Britain and Ireland, published by:
TV companies are listed in the Blue Book of British Broadcasting, published by:
The British Film Institute Film and TV Handbook, published by BFI, 21 Stephen Street, London W1P 2LN also lists television companies.
UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, is the central agency which acts on behalf of all British universities and most colleges of higher education. The UCAS Handbook lists the names and addresses of all British universities, together with details of their degree courses.