Practical advice and useful addresses


95 How can I claim back VAT?
96 Where can I find out about the BBC World Service?
97 What are the regulations for repatriating deceased people to Britain?
98 Where can I find out about postage rates?
99 Where can I find out about philatelic clubs and obtain British stamps?
100 Where can I find the address of...?

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:
The Southbank VAT Centre, HM Customs and Excise
Dorset House, Stamford Street, London SE1 9PY
Tel +44 (0) 171 202 4087

96 Where can I find out about the BBC World Service?

To find out the frequencies for the BBC World Service write to:
BBC World Service
PO Box 76, Bush House, Strand, London WC2B 4PH
Tel +44 (0) 171 240 3456 Fax +44 (0) 171 379 6841
In addition, the BBC Worldwide Magazine, available by subscription (contact address above), publishes a complete listing and regular updates of frequencies.

97 What are the regulations for repatriating deceased people to Britain?

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.
British Consuls can also provide a list of local funeral directors and advise on the transport of the deceased back to Britain.


98 Where can I find out about postage rates?

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 working days.
For further information or details of charges call the Post Office Counters Services Helpline on 0345 22 33 44 (calls within Britain only)


99 Where can I find out about philatelic clubs and obtain British stamps?

The British Philatelic Bureau can supply a wide range of British postage stamps and other philatelic items by mail order. The Bureau’s monthly Philatelic Bulletin gives details of all new stamp issues, First Day Cover services, postmarks and other information about postage stamps and philately. For a free information pack contact:
The British Philatelic Bureau
20 Brandon Street, Edinburgh, EH3 5TT
Tel +44 (0) 131 550 8989

100 Where can I find the address of...?

The British Council
The British Council has offices throughout Japan. Click here for details.

The British Tourist Authority
The BTA has an offices in Tokyo. Click here for details.

Buckingham Palace

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:
Waterlow Information Services Limited
Paulton House, 8 Shepherdess Walk, London N1 7LB
Tel +44 (0) 171 490 0049 Fax +44 (0) 171 253 1308
The Charity Commissioners
St Alban’s House, 57-60 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4QX
Tel +44 (0) 171 210 4477 Fax +44 (0) 171 210 4559
maintain a central register of charities.
For details of voluntary organisations consult
The Voluntary Agencies Directory, published by:
National Council for Voluntary Organisations
Regent’s Wharf, 8 All Saints Street, London N1 9RL
Tel +44 (0) 171 713 6161 Fax +44 (0) 171 713 6300
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.
Government departments
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:
The Public Information Office
House of Commons Library, 1 Derby Gate, London SW1A 2DG
Tel +44 (0) 171 219 4272
National newspapers
National newspapers are listed in the Willings Press Guide published by:
Reed Information Services
Windsor Court, East Grinstead House, East Grinstead, West Sussex RH19 1XA Tel +44 (0) 342 326972
Political parties
These are listed in parliamentary guides, or contact head offices. Conservative and Unionist Party:
Tel +44 (0) 171 222 9000 Fax +44 (0) 171 222 1135
Labour Party: Tel +44 (0) 171 701 1234 Fax +44 (0) 171 234 3300
Liberal Democrats: Tel +44 (0) 171 222 7999 Fax +44 (0) 171 799 2170
Popular museums are listed in Museums and Galleries in Great Britain and Ireland, published by:
Reed Information Services Tel +44 (0) 342 326972
or contact the British Tourist Authority Telephone Information Line on
Tel +44 (0) 181 846 9000
Television companies
TV companies are listed in the Blue Book of British Broadcasting, published by:
Tellex Monitors Ltd, Communications House, 210 Old Street, London EC1V 9UN
Tel +44 (0) 171 490 1447 Fax +44 (0) 171 490 8595
This guide gives exhaustive details of all television and radio companies in Britain.
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.
UCAS Handbook, Universities and Colleges Admissions Service,
Fulton House, Jessop Avenue, Cheltenham, Gloucs GL50 3SH
Tel +44 (0) 1242 222 444 Fax +44 (0) 1242 221622
Alternatively, your nearest British Council Office should be able to provide details of British universities and their addresses.