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VAT Refund on Expenses Incurred in The EXPO 2020

Mechanism of the refund

Official Expo 2020 participants will be charged VAT on goods and services related to Expo 2020, as per UAE VAT regulations.

Official Participants’ Offices may be able to recover VAT on certain imported or acquired goods and services in certain circumstances. One of the following techniques can be used to file a claim for VAT reimbursement:

  • Where the Official Participant is not registered for UAE VAT, the refund applications can be made through the Bureau by submitting a special refund application to the Bureau. 
  • Where the Official Participant is registered for VAT, it may reclaim VAT via its UAE VAT return.

It should be noted that if the value of their taxable supply or imports (for commercial or non-official purposes) in the UAE reaches, or is expected to surpass, the necessary registration level of AED 375,000, the Official Participant must register for VAT. Please see the VAT User Guide (Registration, Amendments, De-registration) for more information on how to register for VAT.

Certificate of Entitlement

Before attempting to reclaim VAT on goods and services, and Official Participant (whether its Office is registered for VAT or not) must apply for a Certificate of Entitlement on:

1. VAT incurred by the Official Participant on Goods and Services in direct connection with the construction, installation, alteration, decoration, and dismantlement of their exhibition space.

2. VAT incurred by the Official Participant on Goods and Services in direct connection with the works and activities of organizing and operating the Official Participant’s exhibition space and any presentations and events within the Expo 2020 site.

The Official Participant will be given a certificate reference number, which must be used in any special reimbursement claims for Goods and Services that fall within the categories listed above.

In order to be eligible to apply for the Certificate:  

  • The applicant must be an Official Participant of the Expo 2020 in Dubai, holding a valid Expo 2020 license number. 
  • Not more than 20% of the exhibition space or presentation is, has been, or is intended to be used for non-official or commercial purposes. 

Refund application

Official VAT-registered participants can claim their VAT refunds by filling out a VAT return. Official Participants who are not VAT registered will be able to obtain a refund using a specific refund application.

Offices of the Official Participants registered for VAT can claim a refund on their regular VAT return. Offices of the Official Participants not registered for VAT may apply as follows: 

  • Within 15 days of the end of the calendar month in which the total VAT value to be claimed is AED 10,000 or more. 
  • Within 15 days of the end of the calendar quarter where the total VAT value to be claimed is less than AED 10,000. 

Depending on the overall amount of VAT to be claimed, the frequency of refund applications may differ.

If any qualifying expenses were excluded from a refund application by an Office of the Official Participant, these expenses may be included in a subsequent application.

Payment of the Tax upon sale of imported goods

The Goods cannot be sold for Consideration or transferred free of charge without the prior authorization of the Bureau and without payment of the Tax if the Office of the Official Participant has been awarded a refund in respect of any import of Goods.

The following steps must be undertaken in order to gain approval:

1. Submit Consent of Sale Request Form

2. Payment of VAT 

Following the completion of the payment, the Office of the Official Participant shall provide a copy of the sales invoices to the Bureau.

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