VAT Refund Procedure For Tourists Visiting UAE

VAT Refund Procedure For Tourists Visiting UAE


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UAE’s Federal Tax Authority (FTA) is taking steps to allow tourists visiting UAE to claim a refund of 5% Value Added Tax (VAT) they pay whilst visiting the country. The authority’s decision to implement a system that returns VAT to tourists will upgrade UAE’s status as a premier global tourist destination. The system is set to go live in the fourth quarter of 2018. It will apply on all the purchases made by tourists at “participating retailers”.

While departing from UAE, a tourist can claim all the taxes that they have paid on their purchases in the country. The process is simple, accurate, quick and moreover fully automated with no human involvement.

VAT Refund Scheme for UAE

To make it easy for tourists to claim VAT refunds before exiting the country, FTA is installing self-service kiosks in major shopping malls, hotels, and all UAE entry and exit points.

The VAT refund scheme in the UAE enables eligible tourists to receive a portion of the VAT as a refund for products purchased at registered stores. The VAT amount can be claimed through an electronic system at designated spaces without human interaction. Once you submit the required documents, the digital system determines whether the taxes are eligible for a refund. If yes, the tourist is reimbursed via cash or credit card.

Only retailers registered in the “Tax Refund for Tourists Scheme” and connected to the system can offer refunds to eligible tourists. Are you wondering how to claim a VAT refund in the UAE as a tourist? Let’s find out how travelers can get back the VAT charged on their purchases.

Requirements to claim VAT refund for Tourists

  • Sales receipt has a tax refund tag attached to the back
  • Purchased goods (Please visit the validation desks before checking in your luggage and present your goods to validation staff.)
  • Passport
  • Boarding pass
This process can be completed either at self-service kiosks or tax refund offices at exit ports all over the UAE. Upon completion, you will receive 85% of the tax amount paid, and the deduction of AED 4.80 will be made per validated tax-free tag.

Who is eligible for VAT refunds for tourists?

To be eligible for a VAT refund scheme in the UAE, travelling tourists must belong to the following categories. Not all tourists can reclaim VAT on their purchases:

  • GCC nationals
  • Travelers aged 18+ who are not UAE residents
  • Individuals not part of the flight crew for departures from the UAE.
FAQ’s on VAT Refund in the UAE :

1. How can tourist track their VAT refund in the UAE?

Tourists can track their VAT refund status through the Planet Shopper Portal. Once a purchase is made, a link will be sent through SMS. The link provides access to all app features.

2. What is tax-free shopping?

Tax-free shopping in the UAE allows individuals to purchase certain taxable items that will be exported, subject to specific terms and conditions. When shoppers validate their purchases at the point of exit, they can receive a refund of the VAT charged on those goods.

3. When is it possible to request a refund for the tags that have already been validated for export?

According to FTA, refunds for tags validated for export can be claimed within one year of validation.

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