SMARTAX NETWORK ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF ELECTRONIC TAX REFUND SYSTEM FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVELLERS
Etihad Airways agrees to participate in this scheme with its loyalty card. New data-card system will cut paperwork for both the traveller and retail outlet and significantly ease the purchasing process, encouraging higher spending in time for London 2012 Olympics
London, 8th December 2011
Smartax Network, a British consumer technology company, today announces an agreement with Etihad Airways, the national airline for the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to introduce an innovative data-card system through the Etihad Guest card. The card, which will produce all required information for the tax authorities, will assist travellers seeking to obtain a tax free refund from their overseas purchases through a far more user-friendly process.
Tourists in the UK seeking tax refunds currently have to complete pages of detail on their transactions and then have to go via a number of channels before eventually recouping the tax refund on the departure points throughout Europe. The Smartax Network technology removes these channels and reduces the administration work by transferring all legally required data through to a secure central data system
The new system will enable tourists to simply swipe the Etihad Guest card at point of purchase, where the data is captured. The purchaser then obtains the refund by producing the printout at the accredited customs desk on point of departure. HMRC, the UK customs and excise authority has been advised on the introduction of the Smartax Network technology.
Tourism continues to play an increasingly important role in the British economy, particularly in view of the 2012 Olympics. The timely launch of the Smartax Network – Etihad partnership will serve to induce higher spending by the overseas consumer, particularly high net worth individuals, by removing the current “hassle factor” at point of purchase and departure. Smartax Network is currently in negotiations with a number of UK-based retailers and tax refund agents to have the system in place early next year.
Martin Musker, Director at Smartax Network said:
“We are very excited to introduce an electronic tax free solution in partnership with such a preeminent airline as Etihad Airways and its 1.5 million frequent flyers. The Smartax Network technology is likely to have significant appeal to international travellers to the UK and will be welcomed by leading retailers by inducing the customer to spend more per transaction.”
“Of the 30 million tourists that visit Britain each year, more than 25% are entitled to tax refunds. The average spend per tourist transaction in the UK is £350, which under the current VAT system, would enable a tourist to recover as much as £55. In luxury stores the average spend figure is far higher, particularly in the case of Chinese, Middle Eastern and Brazilian tourists, where it can reach £650 per individual spend. Therefore, the refund factor for high net worth individuals without the irritation of time-consuming bureaucracy becomes even more compelling to the buyer and also to the retailer. Time can instead be spent advising the customer and focusing on the sale rather than on the paperwork.”
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, said:
“The Smartax card will greatly reduce the amount of paperwork needed to reclaim VAT in the UK. Essentially this introduces a one-stop shop for tax refund claims.
“We are always looking for ways to make the experience of travelling more seamless and enjoyable for members of the Etihad Guest program. This additional use of the Etihad Guest card will certainly be welcomed by anyone who has previously gone through the process of claiming back tax at the airport.”
For more information on Smartax Network and Etihad Airways, please visit their corporate websites: