herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Boarding passes not required for non-duty free sales

One in five passengers passing through Dublin airport go to non-EU destinations, but the Vat savings are only directly passed on in duty-free areas.
One in five passengers passing through Dublin airport go to non-EU destinations, but the Vat savings are only directly passed on in duty-free areas.

Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) has said boarding passes are scanned by its airport shops to check whether a passenger is travelling to a duty-free destination – and also to understand spending patterns.

The statement comes as a row rumbles on in the UK over airport shops not passing on some cases of Vat savings when customers show their boarding passes.

European Union (EU) laws state that shops can claim back Vat on sales to passengers who are leaving the EU, and staff must ask them for their boarding cards to claim the refund.

One in five passengers passing through Dublin airport go to non-EU destinations, but the Vat savings are only directly passed on in duty-free areas.

A DAA spokesman said that last year 81pc of passengers using Dublin Airport travelled to “duty-paid” destinations.

“Duty-free shopping within the European Union ended in 1999, and within shops operated by DAA’s ARI subsidiary we offer a single price to all customers across many product categories, whether they are travelling to a duty-paid or to a duty-free destination.

“In this way, we pass on Vat savings for duty-free passengers to all of our customers,” the spokesman said.

“Boarding cards are scanned by ARI for a number of reasons. These include checking whether a passenger is travelling to a duty-free or duty-paid destination and for understanding passengers’ spending patterns.”

Research

“In order for a passenger to buy duty-free alcohol or tobacco, it is a requirement that the passenger in question can prove that they are travelling to a duty-free destination.

“We use this spending pattern information in conjunction with other market research to improve the retail offer in our stores, and to help plan staffing levels,” he said.

“It is policy in our stores to ask that passengers present their boarding card when making a purchase, however if any passenger buying a non duty-free product does not wish to provide this information, we will still make the sale,” the spokesman added.

The Revenue Commissioners told the Herald that certain retail outlets operating at Irish airports may apply the zero rate of Vat to retail sales of goods to passengers travelling to destinations outside the EU.

“All goods supplied to other travellers are liable to Irish Vat at the appropriate rates,” the spokeswoman said.

“The pricing structure in any business is a commercial decision for the business and Revenue cannot comment on the commercial pricing policies of individual retailers,” the spokeswoman said.

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