2.83 million apply for UAE tourist tax refunds

By Eudore R. Chand

VAT Kiosks

ABU DHABI 18 December 2019: The electronic system for the Tax Refunds for Tourists has processed 2.83 million applications since its launch in November 2018.

The average daily number of applications has doubled, going from 3,800 in the first month to 7,730 requests per day yesterday.

In a press statement issued by the Federal Tax Authority to mark the one-year anniversary of the scheme,  Khalid Ali Al Bustani, FTA Director-General noted that the UAE is among the first countries in the world to implement such a system. “The system allows for determining refundable taxes and processing them accurately; it features built-in verification procedures that ensure applicants’ eligibility for tax refunds, as per the relevant legislations.”

Al Bustani revealed that the number of retail outlets connected to the system has exceeded 12,000 stores across the UAE, while the number of self-service kiosks for refunding taxes to tourists grew by 55.2 percent from 29 in July 2019 to 45 kiosks.

Planet, the company authorised by the FTA to operate the system, is in charge of operating these kiosks, where tax refund requests undergo a fully automated process. Nevertheless, Planet employees are present around the self-service kiosks to assist tourists if necessary.

The electronic system is available at 12 ports of entry, including six airports, two maritime ports, and four land border crossings. Tourists have hailed the system’s speed, where a request for refund is processed seamlessly and in under two minutes.

Tourists can request a refund on the taxes they incurred during their stay in the UAE as they proceed to exit the country. Applicants are required to submit Tax Invoices for their purchases, which must carry the tax refund stickers issued from retail outlets that are registered in the system. They must also present their passports and credit cards.

There is no limit on the amount a tourist can recover if it is transferred to their credit card, meanwhile, applicants requesting cash refunds can receive no more than Dh7,000 per day. Refund requests can be submitted at the self-service kiosks, as well as at tax refund offices located at exit points around the country.

Dubai Gazette