Why duty-free shops always ask for your boarding pass
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Anyone who's ever bought anything at the duty-free shop knows the drill: Always keep your boarding pass ready at checkout. None of us really second guess this procedure, as it almost feels like a legal obligation or just another security procedure. Have you ever wondered why duty-free shops always ask to see your boarding pass? Here's why:
It's all about saving on taxes. Purchased items that are transported outside of the European Union are exempted from VAT. Retailers can avoid these taxes if they are able to prove, that the item purchased in fact left the EU. They do so by scanning your boarding pass to determine whether or not you are travelling within Europe. With this simple method shops can save up to 20% VAT per transaction.
Travellers are furious to have discovered this and are now increasingly refusing to show their boarding passes at checkouts. Treasury Minister David Gauke has condemned this procedure stating that: "The VAT relief at airports is intended to reduce prices for travellers, not as a windfall gain for shops".
So next time you're at the airport, its good to know that you are not obliged to show your boarding pass. This will save you the hassle of rummaging in your bag while in line.