With the introduction of Value Added Tax – VAT in the UAE, among all other schemes Tax Refund Scheme for Tourists has been the most awaited one. UAE has been a destination for millions of tourists especially Dubai, which is one of the Emirates of the UAE well known for its Tourist Attraction, Business Hubs, Luxury Shopping and its ultramodern architecture.
The Federal Tax Authority – FTA has declared that Tax Refund Scheme for tourists will be initiated from November 2018. In this scheme, tourists will be able to avail for the VAT refund if they shop from retailers who are registered for Tax Refund Scheme under tax refund scheme for tourists.
Retailers registered for VAT under FTA can start registering for Tax Refund Scheme for tourists from 10th September 2018. Briefing from the FTA related to the above will be held in Abu Dhabi on September 11th, 2018 and subsequently in Dubai.
The tourist can refund the tax they paid for their shopping only from the outlets and point of sales which are registered under the Tax Refund Scheme for tourists.
There will be designated places where the tourists will be able to avail their VAT refund scheme through an electronic system. A digital machine will be able to determine the taxes that are eligible for refund and then the tourists shall be paid accordingly.
Once you are finished with your shopping, a “tax-free tag” will be attached to your payment receipt. This “tax-free tag” is very important as it will help you further to avail Tourist Refund Scheme with a minimum purchase of AED 250/-. This “tax-free tag” is valid for Tourist Refund Scheme for a period of 90 days from the date of purchase. Once your “tax-free tag” is validated you will receive 85% of the VAT with less AED 4.80/- deducted for admin fee.
It is important to note that validation is mandatory in order to avail Tourist Refund Scheme. For this purpose, you will be required to provide your passport/boarding pass and additional checks will be carried out to ensure everything is carried out in the right way. The validation can be done in 3 major airports of UAE until 16th December 2018 which is Dubai International Airport, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah airport. Later, validation points for Tourist Refund Scheme will be available in 9 other locations in different emirates.
There are two types of refund in which you can avail Tourist Refund Scheme, i.e., by cash or credit. There will be assistance provided by the planet tax-free staff in order to get your refunds availed by Tourist Refund Scheme. No one apart from the owner can avail the refund.
Under VAT Form 201, Box No. 2 you can find the column provided for Refunds of the tax you have paid to the tourists under the Tax Refunds Scheme for Tourists.
This box can be used only by retailers who are refunding tax to the tourists in the UAE, under the official tourists refund scheme. The box should include the figures of all the tax refunds given to the tourists under the tax refunds for tourist refund scheme. It will be always a negative figure which means it is a refund you are making from the FTA.
As per the Article 68 Clause 2 of Executive Regulations of the Federal Decree-Law No (8) of 2017 on Value Added Tax following conditions shall apply to the Tax Refunds Scheme for Tourists:
There is a confusion in the market that the form VAT 311 available can be used for Tax Refund Scheme for Tourist, which is incorrect. If one has to refund to the tourist the tax amount they paid against their purchases, the retailer or the point of sale should be registered under the Tax Refund Scheme for tourists. Then, the amount they pay back to the tourist can be claimed back through form 201 – Box No. 2.
After submitting the form 201, if the registered person is in a net recoverable position an option will be available in the VAT Return to request a refund for the excess recoverable tax amount. If he selects “Yes” for the refund, he has to complete the VAT Refund Application Form VAT 311. This is done after submitting the VAT Return for the respective tax period. If he selects “No”, the excess recoverable tax amount will be carried forward to the subsequent Tax Periods.
This can be used to offset against tax liability or penalty arising in future or can apply for a refund later. Nowadays, there is a requirement to submit a bank account validation letter/certificate along with the form 311.
Emirates Chartered Accountants Group houses a wide range of TAX Services for all businesses in the UAE - Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, & Ras Al Khaimah. The Tax Team in Emirates Chartered Accountants Group engages professionals with relevant experience in Taxation hailing from different ends of the globe.
If you are looking for any support for VAT Refund from the FTA, our tax agent or specialised tax experts will help you claim the refund.
Mr. Pradeep Sai
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