FTA warning over scam messages about VAT

By Eudore R. Chand

ABU DHABI 25 December 2019: The Federal Tax Authority has warned people against responding to e-mails or text messages that request personal financial or banking information and which claim that VAT will be refunded to those who reply.

The authority stressed that these are fraudulent messages and that it never asks people to disclose their personal data via e-mail, text, or over the phone.

The FTA clarified that tax refund operations for legally eligible categories are conducted directly between the authority and the taxpayer, with the authority contacting registrants directly without using any third party mediators. It stressed that it does not authorize any banking, financial or accounting entities to acquire data or collect taxes on its behalf.

The authority also assured that refunds are carried out utilising the latest secure electronic systems available through the authority’s website and that these systems meet the strict safety standards relating to financial transactions. It noted that tax refunds can only be made by using the registrant’s bank’s IBAN number through its systems, which are electronically linked to the central bank.

The authority’s note of warning came in a press statement it issued today following information that some bank customers had received emails from unknown entities impersonating banks or other institutions and requesting personal financial information, such as bank account and credit card details, claiming that this data will be used to provide them with a VAT refund.

The authority affirmed that the IBAN bank number of each registrant through which the tax is refunded to eligible categories is already included in the authority’s electronic systems, meaning that it would not be requested from people by e-mail, or via text messages, or by any other means.

The Federal Tax Authority clarified that the official systems which it employs to refund tax to those who are eligible are electronically linked between the Federal Tax Authority and the registrant. The systems are accessed using the registrant’s unique tax registration number (TRN), with its accurate procedures maintaining the confidentiality of data and safeguarding it from unauthorised access and cyber hacking.

The authority also assured that all registration services, submission of tax refunds, refunds of tax to those legally eligible, and other services or instructions for registrants and taxable persons are carried out in simple steps in a few minutes through the online services portal, which is available around the clock through the authority’s official website: www.tax.gov.ae. The authority stressed that the website has been designed in accordance with best international practices aimed at facilitating all processes associated with taxable persons’ liabilities with the easiest and fastest technical means.

Dubai Gazette