Tourist Refund Scheme Phase 2 Rollout From Dec 16

According to an announcement by the Federal Tax Authority (FTA), all preparations for the launch of the 2nd phase of the VAT refund scheme for Tourists have been completed and the scheme will of officially launched on Sunday, December 16. Starting from this date, tourists in the UAE would be able to claim a refund of the VAT paid by them on the purchases made from 12 air, land and sea ports covered under the scheme.

The first phase of Tourist VAT refund scheme was introduced on November 18, 2018, under which purchases made at the Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah airports were covered.

The following ports will be covered under Phase 2:

3 Airports – Al Ain International Airport, Al Maktoum International Airport and Ras Al Khaimah International Airport
2 sea ports – Zayed Port in Abu Dhabi and Port Rashid in Dubai
4 land ports: Al Ghuwaifat Border Post in Abu Dhabi, Hili Border Port and Al Madheef Border Crossing in Al Ain, and Dubai’s Hatta Border Exit

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The refund scheme for tourists visiting the country is already in effect, with over 3,800 daily refund requests being processed as of now. Al Bustani, director-general of FTA, indicated that he aims to grow daily VAT refunds more in the coming period. “The FTA coordinated with the system operator Planet, running all necessary experiments to ensure the scheme is implemented smoothly and accurately,” he said.

The FTA said that retail stores that are registered in the system under the refund scheme must provide tax invoices for such eligible transactions. These stores can be distinguished by placing ‘tax-free’ sign on their outlets to let the customers know that they are registered for the scheme.

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Earlier, at the time of the launch of the VAT refund scheme for tourists, the FTA had also released a list of conditions for tourists to be eligible to apply for VAT refunds. A buyer must be 18 years or above, a foreigner and must have purchased the said goods on UAE soil and paid VAT on the same with the intention to take the goods outside of the country within 90 days from the purchase date.