Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 16 September 2019

Tourists visiting UAE can reclaim VAT on their shopping from November

By mid-December, the refund will be extended from the three main international airports to all airports, land and sea ports

Tourists will be able to reclaim the VAT they paid on goods at airports. EPA
Tourists will be able to reclaim the VAT they paid on goods at airports. EPA

Tourists leaving international airports can begin claiming VAT refunds on purchases made in the UAE from November 18, the Federal Tax Authority announced on Monday.

The system is being introduced in international airports in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

By mid-December, the system will be fully operational and extend to all airports, land and sea ports in the country, the authority said.

The refund is applicable to invoices issued by retail outlets registered for the tax refund scheme and connected to the federal digital system.

More than 4,000 retail outlets will be connected to the system and can be easily identified with posters displayed in the store, said FTA director general Khalid Ali Al Bustani.

Tourists will receive their refunds through a special device at the departure port when they submit tax invoices for their purchases from registered outlets, along with copies of their passport and credit card.

Once the information is submitted, they will be able to recover the VAT in cash in UAE dirhams or can have it transferred to their credit card.

“There has been a significant increase in the number of agreements signed with retailers to register in the digital system of the Tax Refund for Tourists Scheme," said Mr Al Bustani. "This will equip them with advanced technologies which are connected with airports and land and sea ports.”

He said there was extensive consultation with retail companies, outlets and shops in all seven emirates to familiarise them with the conditions and steps of registration.

The UAE Cabinet earlier this year outlined procedures to refund VAT to UAE visitors who are not residents in the country.

The basic conditions for a tax refund are:

- that the purchases must be subject to the Tax Refund for Tourists Scheme

- the supplies are bought in the UAE by a tourist from abroad

- the tourist intends to leave the country within 90 days of making the purchase

- and that they take the purchases with them within three months of purchase


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Updated: October 22, 2018 03:27 PM