Government, Retail, Technology, Travel & Hospitality

UAE pushes for digital tax refund system

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has invited retailers, outlets and shops registered for Value Added Tax (VAT) to register in the digital system of the Tax Refund Scheme for Tourists, which will come into effect as of the fourth quarter of this year.


The Authority is implementing the Scheme in cooperation with Planet, the global operator of the “Tax Free” system, and has identified 4 basic conditions for registering, namely: the retailer must be registered with the Authority for VAT and have a tax registration number (TRN); the supplier’s sales of goods must not be excluded from the refund scheme, as determined by the Authority; the retailer must submit a request to participate in the Scheme as determined by the FTA; and finally, the retailer must meet the financial credit requirements specified by the system operator and be committed to submitting Tax Returns and paying due taxes regularly.

The Federal Tax Authority cautioned that a retailer’s membership in the Tax Refund Scheme for Tourists would be revoked if they fail to meet their obligations, whether those stated in tax laws or in the contract between the system operator and the retailer.

FTA Director General Khalid Ali Al Bustani asserted that the past few days witnessed a great demand for registration in the Tax Refund Scheme for Tourists, adding that the Authority continues to organise workshops and seminars – in cooperation with Planet – to introduce retailers already registered for VAT to the simple procedures for registering in the digital system of the Refund Scheme, which is one of the most advanced of its kind in the world.

“The Federal Tax Authority is hosting an extended meeting in collaboration with the system operator on September 25, bringing together representatives of retail companies and outlets in the Emirate of Ajman in an effort to maintain direct and constant communication with businesses, and introduce them to the terms and conditions for registering in the Tax Refund Scheme for Tourists,” H.E. Al Bustani added, revealing that the FTA intends to hold similar meetings in the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

“The Authority began in the first half of September 2018 to carry out an extensive awareness campaign in cooperation with Planet, the system operator for the Tax Refund Scheme for Tourists, and Chambers of Commerce and Industry around the country,” the FTA Director General explained.

Al Bustani noted that Planet will coordinate between retailers registered in the tax system and wishing to register for the Scheme, connecting them with ports of entry and exit all around the UAE. “This, in turn, allows tourists who are eligible for a tax refund – as per the terms and conditions of the Cabinet Decision – to request a refund for taxes incurred on their purchases through a state-of-the-art digital system.”

“Planet will make agreements with retailers to equip them with the technologies needed to be part of the Scheme, which link these business to the digital systems of the Federal Tax Authority, as well as airports and land and sea ports. The Scheme creates designated places for tourists to apply for a tax refund and easily recover the eligible refundable amounts, which will be accurately calculated through the advanced digital system,” Al Bustani said.

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