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VAT refund in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates

Home page » Blog, news, reviews about the UAE » VAT refund in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates
Author of the article:
Anthony Bovkun
UAE Real Estate Specialist
Date:  23.02.2024
Reading time: 5 min.
Views:  287

Dubai and other emirates of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have a VAT refund system for tourists. This means that you can get a refund of some of the money spent on purchases during your stay. In this article, we will look at what VAT is, what requirements and restrictions exist for its refund, how to make purchases for a refund, what refund methods exist, how to track the refund process, and how the new VAT refund system works in Dubai.

The concept of VAT

Value added tax, or VAT, is a consumer tax that is levied on most goods and services. In the UAE, the VAT rate is 5%. This means that almost every purchase made in the country is subject to this tax. However, when exporting goods, such as purchases made by tourists, VAT can be refunded.

Important: VAT is charged at every stage of the supply chain, starting from the manufacturer and ending with the end user. Tourists shopping in the UAE are end-users and are eligible for a VAT refund.

It is worth noting that VAT RATE is a key element of the UAE's tax system, introduced in 2018 to diversify the country's revenue sources. At the same time, the rate at 5% is one of the lowest in the world. It is thanks to such a measure that the UAE maintains its appeal to tourists and shopaholics from all over the world.

It is also important to understand that VAT refund is not just an opportunity to return part of the money spent, but also a way to stimulate tourism and retail trade in the country. This is a policy that allows you to maintain interest in the UAE as a place for travel and shopping.

Restrictions and requirements for VAT refunds

In order to use the VAT refund program, you must meet a number of conditions. First, you must be a tourist and have no residency in the UAE. Second, you must be at least 18 years old. Third, the purchase amount must exceed a certain minimum, which is approximately $ 68.

Please also note that VAT refund is only possible if the goods were purchased within 90 days prior to the date of departure from the country. At the same time, the goods must be new and unused, and they must also be exported from the country within 90 days from the date of purchase.

Important: Not all products are subject to VAT refund. For example, alcoholic beverages and tobacco products are not included in the refund program. Also, goods that were used or damaged during transportation are not subject to return. In addition, items purchased in Duty Free are non-refundable.

Process of making purchases for VAT refund

When purchasing products that are subject to VAT refund, it is important to make sure that the store participates in the Tax Free program. If this is the case, you will need to ask the seller to issue a special Tax Free receipt.

  1. When purchasing a product, make sure that the store participates in the Tax Free program. Usually, information about this is posted on storefronts or at the checkout counter.
  2. Ask the seller to issue a Tax Free receipt. This is usually done at the time of payment for the purchase. The seller enters the purchase data in a special system and issues you a receipt.
  3. Save all your documents and receipts before leaving the country. You will need to present them when passing through customs control.

Important: A Tax Free receipt is your main document confirming your right to a VAT refund. VAT refund is not possible without this document. In addition to the receipt, you may also need a receipt for payment for the product.

Don't forget that not all products are subject to VAT refund. For example, alcoholic beverages and tobacco products are not included in the program. It is also important to remember that VAT refund is only possible for tourists who do not live in the UAE on a permanent basis.

VAT refund methods

VAT refunds in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates can be made in two ways: in cash or by bank transfer to an international credit card.

Return methodDescriptionLimitations
Cash refundCash refunds are made at special points at the airport.The refund amount may be limited.
Cashless refundRefunds to an international credit card are made via the Planet Payment terminal.To receive a refund via the Planet Payment terminal, you must have a Tax Free receipt and passport with you.

Important: Regardless of the refund method you choose, be sure to keep all your Tax Free receipts until the refund procedure is completed. This is your confirmation of the right to a VAT refund.

Tracking the refund process

You can use the Tax Free receipt to track the status of your refund. Each receipt contains a unique QR code that can be used to track the return status online. To do this, you will need:

  1. Go to the website of the VAT refund service.
  2. Enter the Tax Free receipt number in the appropriate field.
  3. Scan the QR code using your smartphone's camera or enter it manually.

After completing these steps, you will be able to see the current status of your refund, as well as the expected date and method of receiving money.

Important: Please note that the refund process may take some time. Don't worry if the status of your refund is not updated immediately after sending the request.

If you have any problems or questions related to tracking the refund status, you can always contact the support service of the VAT refund service. They will help you understand the current situation and speed up the refund process.

New VAT refund system in Dubai

Dubai has introduced a new "paperless" VAT refund system. This means that information about your purchases is automatically transmitted to the tax service. You no longer need to fill out and store paper receipts. Instead, all VAT refund operations can be performed online using your bank card.

Important: To use the "paperless" system, you will need a bank card registered in the VAT refund system.

The "paperless" VAT refund system is a breakthrough in the field of taxation, which greatly simplifies the process of tax refund for tourists. Now you don't have to spend time filling out paper forms and waiting in queues. All you need to do is make a purchase at a Tax Free store and save your purchase information. The system will automatically calculate the refund amount and transfer it to your bank card.

Important: In addition to a bank card, to use the "paperless" system, you will need a mobile application that allows you to scan QR codes on receipts and automatically transmit information about purchases to the tax service.

A "paperless" VAT refund system means convenience, speed and simplicity. Take advantage of new technologies to maximize your shopping experience in Dubai!

VAT refund is a great opportunity for tourists to save money on purchases in Dubai and other emirates of the United Arab Emirates. However, to take advantage of this opportunity, you need to know and follow certain rules and requirements. We hope that our article will help you with this. Remember that a properly executed purchase and a saved Tax Free receipt are your key to VAT refund. Use all available tools to get an effective tax refund and enjoy your shopping experience!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • VAT refund is available for non-UAE resident tourists over the age of 18.

  • The minimum purchase amount subject to VAT refund is approximately $ 68.

  • Alcoholic beverages, tobacco products and goods purchased in Duty Free are not subject to VAT refund.

  • When making a purchase, make sure that the store participates in the Tax Free program and get a Tax Free receipt from the seller.

 

  • VAT refunds can be made in cash at special points at the airport or by bank transfer to an international credit card.

  • You can track the status of the refund by using a unique QR code on the Tax Free receipt via the dedicated website of the VAT refund service.

  • The new "paperless" system allows you to automatically transfer information about purchases to the tax service, simplifying the process of VAT refund.

  • VAT refund requires a Tax Free receipt, passport and, in case of non-cash refund, an international credit card.

  • No, only new and unused items exported from the country within 90 days of purchase are subject to VAT refund.

  • The VAT refund process may take some time. The terms may vary depending on the selected refund method and the current workload of the VAT refund system.

Who can get a VAT refund in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates?

  • VAT refund is available for non-UAE resident tourists over the age of 18.

What is the minimum purchase amount for a VAT refund?

  • The minimum purchase amount subject to VAT refund is approximately $ 68.

Which products are not subject to VAT refund?

  • Alcoholic beverages, tobacco products and goods purchased in Duty Free are not subject to VAT refund.

How do I make a purchase to get a VAT refund?

  • When making a purchase, make sure that the store participates in the Tax Free program and get a Tax Free receipt from the seller.

 

What VAT refund methods are available?

  • VAT refunds can be made in cash at special points at the airport or by bank transfer to an international credit card.

How do I track the VAT refund process?

  • You can track the status of the refund by using a unique QR code on the Tax Free receipt via the dedicated website of the VAT refund service.

What is the new VAT refund system in Dubai?

  • The new "paperless" system allows you to automatically transfer information about purchases to the tax service, simplifying the process of VAT refund.

What documents are required for VAT refund?

  • VAT refund requires a Tax Free receipt, passport and, in case of non-cash refund, an international credit card.

Can I get a VAT refund for items used during my stay in the UAE?

  • No, only new and unused items exported from the country within 90 days of purchase are subject to VAT refund.

How long does the VAT refund process take?

  • The VAT refund process may take some time. The terms may vary depending on the selected refund method and the current workload of the VAT refund system.

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