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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 February 2019

FNC: VAT ‘tricks’ continue to short-change the UAE consumer

Some 3,670 VAT offences were recorded last year

Shops continue to “play tricks” on customers with fraudulent VAT charges being placed on products. Silvia Razgova / The National
Shops continue to “play tricks” on customers with fraudulent VAT charges being placed on products. Silvia Razgova / The National

More than a year since 5 per cent VAT was introduced across the UAE, shops continue to “play tricks” on customers.

On Tuesday, the Federal National Council asked Sultan Al Mansouri, the Minister of Economy, what was being done to stop illegal charges being placed on products.

“I have been hearing the same complaints over and over; I have memorised them,” said Naama Al Sharhan, a member representing Ras Al Khaimah.

She told Mr Al Mansouri that “tricks” range from not returning small change to adding 5 per cent every time a product moves from one distributor to another.

“Also, if I buy coffee worth Dh6, the VAT will be 36 fils. Of course I wouldn’t have 36 fils so I would pay 50 Fils, but nobody will return the remaining 20 fils.”

She said she saw a customer being told to return to a shop in two hours to receive the correct change of Dh2.50.

Last year, the FNC raised the issue of shops not returning the correct change, saying there was a shortage of 10, 5 and 1 fil coins in circulation.

Salem Al Shamsi, an Ajman member, said shops were rounding up change, forcing customer to lose out.

Yesterday, Ms Al Sharhan said she heard that some shops were dropping the tax so they can benefit. “At a gold shop, the salesman said ‘I could sell you the necklace for this price excluding VAT but I will not give you a receipt’.”

Mr Al Mansouri said he was aware of such offences. He said there were 3,670 VAT offences last year.

“Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that offenders will not be dealt with and inspected and fined.”

Updated: January 30, 2019 11:15 AM

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