VAT in UAE: Now get refunds at shopping malls, hotels
Kiosks allow tourists to process their requests to recover VAT.
The Value Added Tax (VAT) Recovery Self-Service Kiosks for Tourists scheme has been expanded to be available at major shopping malls and hotels, in addition to the existing ones at air, land and maritime entry and exit ports across the UAE, announced the Federal Tax Authority (FTA).
The expansion aims to provide additional services to tourists, enhancing the UAE’s status as a leading destination on the international tourism map. Planet – the company authorised by the FTA to operate the electronic system for the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme – debuted nine self-service kiosks in stage one of implementing the plan, setting them up at multiple shopping malls and hotels. The kiosks are equipped with state-of-the-art technology allowing them to fully process VAT refund requests for tourists.
In a statement issued on Monday, the authority explained that the kiosks allow tourists to process their requests to recover VAT from the convenience of their hotel or at major malls in a matter of minutes.
Applicants can scan their boarding pass to prove they will be leaving the UAE in the next 24 hours, as well as their original passport (or identity card for GCC nationals), and then follow the simple instructions displayed at the self-service kiosks. The FTA revealed that up to 55 new self-service kiosks will be deployed by the end of 2020 – 25 of which would be stationed in malls and 30 in hotels.
Khalid Ali Al Bustani, director-general of the FTA, said: “Our objective from expanding the self-service kiosk is to provide further facilities and additional options for tourists looking to recover taxes. Eligible tourists who meet the necessary criteria for reclaiming the VAT they incurred on their purchases in the UAE can process the refund applications from the convenience of their own hotels or from a list of major shopping malls around the country.”
The number of digital transactions under the Tourists Refunds Scheme grew to 3.2 million in the period between its launch in November 2018 and the end of 2019.
Tourists can submit their requests to recover the taxes they incurred on purchases in the UAE when they are about to depart from the country. Applicants must submit the tax invoices on their purchases, marked with ‘Tax-Free’ stickers issued by retail outlets registered in the system, along with their passport and credit card. No limit is placed on the maximum amount that can be recovered if said amount is transferred to the tourist’s credit card, however, in the event that the applicant requests a cash refund, then the maximum amount is set at Dh7,000 per day. This process can be carried out at self-service kiosks, as well as at tax refund offices located at ports of exit across the UAE.
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